Blueberry Almond Cream Scones

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Scones and biscuits are seriously one of my weaknesses. Fresh from the oven, I find them to be crazy-irresistable. I know that a biscuit is somehow not the same thing as a scone (if you have an explanation, I’d love to know!), and vice versa, but they must be cousins or something because either one hits the carb-spot every time.

These particular scones don’t contain any egg in the dough, but they do contain a good dose of cream along with a bit of butter. The cream makes for an ultra-tender, dream of a scone.  I’ve added a bit of almond extract to the dough, as well as a sprinkling of almonds across the tops for some texture and crunch. The blueberries are there because I like almond and berries together and, because I cannot get enough berries these days. Each bite of these dreamy beauties contains the scent of sweet almond, a little nutty crunch, and a burst of juicy berries. These scones are pretty amazing on their own though, a smear of butter and blueberry jam doesn’t hurt a thing.

[recipe]

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Blueberry Almond Cream Scones

Adapted from this recipe.

Makes 12 scones.

I baked these in muffin cups, scooping the batter instead of patting it into a round and cutting out. I saw scones done this way on Donna Hay and I thought they were pretty dang cute. Frozen blueberries hold up better when mixing this dough, but if you don’t mind some blueberry streaks, go ahead and use fresh.

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes and chilled

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

3/4 cup frozen blueberries

for the tops:

1 egg

1 tablespoon cream

sliced almonds and sugar

Preheat the oven to 425˚F and place paper cupcake liners in 12-cup muffin tin.

In a mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Using your fingers or a pastry blender, pinch in the butter until there are bits of butter throughout and the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Toss in the blueberries and coat with the dry mixture. Pour in the cream and almond extract and gently fold to create a dough–the dough will be a bit wet, but not as wet as a muffin batter. Don’t over mix, it’s better to err on the side of under mixed with some dry bits throughout. Divide the dough between the 12 muffins cups using a levered scoop, about 2 scoops per cup

Whisk the egg with the 1 tablespoon of cream. Brush the tops of the scones with the egg-cream mixture, sprinkle with almonds and sugar. Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 13-15 minutes or until the tops of the scones are just golden. Remove from the oven and (try to) cool at least 10 minutes before serving. [/recipe]

Spicy Pecan Banana Bread

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Yesterday, I shared some sriracha-maple pecans on my Instagram feed. The pecans are coated in a mixture of maple syrup and sriracha, making for a sweet-savory combination that is seriously addictive.

Seriously. I cannot stop eating them.

The pecans are delicious enough on their own, as a snack, but I had to put ‘em in some banana bread. This spicy situation began this weekend when we went to Salt & Straw for a waffle cone with Sean’s brother and girlfriend, who are visiting this week. This month at Salt and Straw they have a spicy banana walnut ice cream…gah! it’s so good! It’s so good that Sean and I both got a scoop. Which is major since we almost never order the same things–so we can share, obvs. As we were enjoying our treats, I immediately told Sean I wanted to make a bread version using pecans.  Thus, this banana bread.

Plenty of chopped pecans get folded into the banana batter–that also contains a bit of sriracha for a little background hint of savory-spice. The sriracha isn’t super pronounced here, it just brings a bit of salty-heat that plays so nicely with the sweetness of the bananas in the bread and the maple syrup on the pecans. Then, more of those spiced pecans stud the top of the bread so you get a bit of sweet-crunchy-spice in every bite.

[recipe]

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Spicy Pecan Banana Bread

Adapted from this recipe.

For the pecans:

2 cups whole, raw pecans

1 tablespoon sriracha

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

For the bread:

4 very ripe bananas

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon sriracha

1/4 cup milk

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and spray a 9×5 inch loaf pan with coconut oil spray or other cooking spray. Line the sprayed loaf pan with parchment, leaving an overhang on two sides, secure the overhang with binder clips. Set both pans aside.

In a bowl toss the pecans with the sriracha, maple, and cinnamon until evenly coated. Spread onto the prepared baking sheet and bake in the oven for 13-15 minutes. Remove the pecans from the oven and toss with the 2 teaspoons of sugar to coat, cool slighty. Chop 1 cup of the pecans coarsely and set aside while you make the batter.

In a bowl mash the bananas well and mix with the cooled butter, sugar, beaten egg, vanilla, sriracha, and milk until well combined. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. Fold in the chopped pecans. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and arrange as many whole pecans (from the remaining 1 cup of pecans) on top of the batter as you’d like. Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean. If the pecans begin to get too dark part of the way through, tent the bread with foil and continue to bake until done. Cool on a rack before slicing and serving. [/recipe]

Nutty Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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OMG, guys…it’s totally almost Christmas and I am SO NOT READY for it this year. Let’s just blame it on the upcoming move…m’kay? Usually, by now, I’ve baked and confected up a storm. My tree and house have been trimmed with glittery everything and I’ve buried myself in a mountain of wrapping paper & ribbon. This year, not so much. There’s no tree, not a single wrapped gift, or even a sprinkling of glitter. There aren’t even that many treats! But, there are some, like this twist on the classic chocolate chip cookie…so I haven’t completely dropped the ball. Oh, and I have watched Love, Actually no less than 4 times. A girl’s gotta keep some traditions alive.

Luckily we are leaving today to visit our families out in Nevada for the next week and we’ve been assured that Christmas cheer is in full effect…so, we won’t be missing out one bit! Plus, these cookies…duh. I always love a chocolate chip cookie and I am a super-fan of a good-ol CCC with some nutty bits strewn throughout. These cookies take it to the next level of nutty goodness with lots of browned butter and not just my standard favorite, walnuts, but also my other favorites: hazelnuts and pecans (I know…I use favorite far too liberally, but I just love ‘em all!). I would even dare to say that these would be a great treat to leave out for everyone’s favorite, jolly, bearded fellow in the cookie-form with lots of butter, sugar, chocolate, and nuts for extra protein…you know, Santa Fuel.

Anyway, whatever you do or celebrate this holiday season, I hope you and yours have a joyous and cheerful time! Toast some drinks, hug your favorites, revel in the happiness of the season…and eat some cookies!

[recipe]

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Nutty Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from THIS recipe.

2 sticks (8oz) unsalted butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups chocolate chips

1 1/2 cups mixed nuts (any you like!)

sea salt for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350˚F and line baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats.

Begin by browning the butter in a skillet until the solids become a deep, golden, caramel color and the butter smells nutty like toffee. Pour the butter into a dish and set aside to cool a bit while you gather your ingredients.

In a mixing bowl or stand mixer combine the sugars together with the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the browned butter to the mixing bowl and mix to combine. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing the first in well before adding the second, scraping the bowl after each addition. Add in the vanilla and mix to combine. Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts to combine. Using a levered cookie scoop, or two tablespoons, scoop cookies onto the prepared sheets, spacing a few inches apart to allow for spreading. Bake the cookies in the center of the oven, one sheet at a time, for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are golden. Remove from the oven and cool about 5 minutes before transferring the cookies to a cooling rack with a spatula. Repeat with the remaining dough. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for several days. [/recipe]