Couscous Salad with Chicken, Feta and Tomatoes

It's the first day of fall, and I can definitely tell. It's rainy and cold, cozy inside but nasty outside. Watching summer slip away always makes me sad. Fall is beautiful, but it also means that summer is over, and a long, cold winter is coming soon. I'm not quite done with summer yet so last week I threw together a simple couscous salad with fresh vegetables and herbs, topped it with grilled chicken, delicious. The inspiration for this salad comes from my cousin Kelly, who made a similar salad for dinner one night out on Lake Michigan. I fell in love with this dish full of my favorite things.  A bowl of garlicky couscous is the perfect place to throw some pungent red onion, salty feta and sweet grape tomatoes. Top it with some slightly charred chicken breast and you have a meal. The flavors complement each other perfectly, and the colors and textures dance before your eyes. It was the perfect dish to make while trying to hold on to the last few days of summer.

Beautiful and delicious, the perfect combination
 Getting everything ready to go

 I marinated some chicken for a few hours to 
infuse it with flavor and juiciness

 Grab a bowl of beautiful grape tomatoes

 And don't skimp on the fresh basil 

 My favorite part!

 Gotta have some garlic

 The couscous, ready to go

 Perfectly grilled chicken

 Slice it up

 Combine everything in a big bowl

And serve topped with the chicken

I didn't really follow a recipe for this meal. I just sautéed up some garlic and threw it in with the couscous  and water. When that was done I added tomatoes, basil, feta and onion to taste. Top it with chicken marinated  in some Greek marinade, sprinkle with a little lemon juice and you're set. If desired, you can add a nice, light vinaigrette on top. Then enjoy!

An Italian Feast

Before I started school a few weeks ago, my grandma asked if my sister and I would like to come over and cook an Italian dinner. She had picked up a magazine from Costco called Ultimate Italian, a Better Homes and Garden magazine, and thought that we could have some fun with it; she was right! I had never had the chance to cook with my grandma before, but I know she is an excellent cook with tons of experience from her days of dinner parties and other gatherings, so I was really excited to have this chance.

After paging through the magazine (multiple times) we finally decided on a menu:

Polenta with Marinated Mozzarella Topping
Gnocchi with Mozzarella, Broccolini, and Warm Anchovy Sauce
Penne with Piedmont Sauce

Of course the day included a fun shopping trip where we went to Russo's, a fun international grocery store, to find most of the ingredients to make our meal a success. We bought cheese, salami, espresso, pasta, sausage, polenta (some day I'll make it myself, but not this day!), and of course the wine. We stopped at Meijer to pick up a few items of produce and then it was back home; let the fun begin! Check out the pictures below to see how the evening went. I recommend all three dishes. They were all so flavorful and complex in flavor. I don't think I could pick a favorite. Just make them all!

I just know that this is going to become one of my best kitchen memories. I had so much fun, the food was delicious, and everyone enjoyed the whole experience. It really doesn't get better that this. Food, family, and a ton of fun. I definitely hope we can do it again soon!
No one wanted to have a caffeine buzz all night, 
so we had espresso first, before the meal, not
traditional, but who cares. 

A toast to start off the evening right. 

Starting the sauce, 
browning the sausage

Chopping the onions, 
happens at almost every meal

Salami, so good!

 Me cooking = very happy

 Probably my favorite thing, the
antipasti platter
(just give me cheese and I'm happy)

 The whole appetizer
(really a meal in itself) good

 Grandma checking out what is going on
(I think she approves)

Getting the gnocchi ready

The penne, ready to go

and the gnocchi

and of course, the polenta

We're ready to eat!

One more look

Ready to enjoy, we probably had enough food
 for 10 more people, but who cares

My delectable looking plate

Potato dumplings, swimming in flavorful sauce

Stuffed and happy.
We ended the evening with some gelato
and a couple episodes of MASH!

Polenta with Marinated Mozzarella Topping
From: Ultimate Italian, a Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publication
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 6 ounces chopped fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1 ounce chopped prosciutto
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped arugula
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil
In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, lemon peel, pepper and garlic. Stir in mozzarella and prosciutto. Cover and chill for up to 4 hours. Before serving, stir in arugula and basil. Spoon topping over polenta rounds.

Gnocchi with Mozzarella, Broccolini and Warm Anchovy Sauce
From: Ultimate Italian, a Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Pubication
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots (2 small)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 canned anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry, and finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper 
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons snipped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1-pound package shelf-stable potato gnocchi 
  • 8 ounces broccolini or broccoli, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 pound perlini, perle, or other fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley
For anchovy sauce, in a small saucepan, heat oil, shallots and butter over medium-low heat until butter melts. Stir in anchovies and crushed red pepper. Cook and stir until heated through, using the spoon to mash anchovies as you stir. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice, garlic, thyme, and salt. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. 

Meanwhile, cook gnocchi according to package directions, adding the broccolini to water during the last 3 minutes of cooking; drain. Return gnocchi mixture to hot pan; cover to keep warm. 

Warm the anchovy sauce over medium heat for 1 minute. Add anchovy sauce to gnocchi mixture along with mozzarella; toss to coat. 

To serve, transfer gnocchi mixture to a large serving dish. Top with pine nuts and parsley. Serve immediately. 

Penne with Piedmont Sauce
From: Ultimate Italian, a Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Pubication
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 8 ounces Italian sausage links, casings removed
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 6 large cloves garlic, thickly sliced
  • 4 ounces salami, chopped
  • 2 ounces prosciutto, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock or broth
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups dried penne pasta
In a large skillet or saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add sausage; cook and stir for 5 to 6 minutes or until browned, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Drain fat from the sausage, reserving 2 to 3 tablespoons fat. Remove the sausage from the pan and set aside. Return fat to pan. 

In the same pan, cook the onion and garlic for 2 to 3 minutes or until the garlic starts to brown and the onion becomes translucent. Add the salami, prosciutto, and cooked sausage. Pour in the red wine, stirring to scrape up the flavorful browned bits that may stick to the bottom of the pan. Simmer about 2 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Add the stock, cream and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes or until the mixture reaches sauce consistency. 

Meanwhile, in a large pot, cook pasta in lightly salted water accordion got package directions, except undercook by 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and return pasta to pot. Stir in simmered sauce mixture. Return to a simmer. Cook and stir for 3 to 5 minutes or until sauce is absorbed slightly and pasta is al dente. 

Whimsical Sugar Cookies

A few weeks ago my church hosted its annual Vacation Bible School. While I didn't get as involved this year as I have in years past, both Lara and I signed up to bring cookies one night for the kiddos attending. Any excuse to bake something fun and different without having to eat the whole batch is great! We came up with the idea to make decorated sugar cookies. I always want to make them throughout the year but I only ever end up making them at Christmas. This was the perfect reason to make them in the summer.

We used the cookie and frosting recipe that we used last Christmas and I really loved. We were going for a cookie similar to what you get in a cookie bouquet and these fit the bill. The key is to roll the dough quite thick. That way you don't get a thin, crunchy cookie, but a cookie with some substance to it which I prefer. This past Christmas was the first time I used royal icing and I had a lot of fun with it. I want to do more in the future because you can do some really fun things with it. The flowers on these cookies were pretty simple but I still think they turned out rather cute!

Unfortunately, the day we were supposed to bring these cookies to church we got a phone call telling us that they had enough cookies left over from the first two days of VBS, and that we didn't have to bring any in :( So that means these cookies went straight into the freezer where they still sit. I have to figure out what to do with them before they get too old. Any ideas?

Bright pink flowers are fun and festive for summer

Just bake some sugar cookie rounds

Pipe the center in the middle
and let it dry overnight

Then pipe on the rest of the flower
and you have a cute, summery frosted sugar cookie
I think they turned out quite well, they remind 
me of Dr. Seuss

Vanilla-Almond Sugar Cookies
from bakeat350
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 2 sticks butter, cold 
  • 1 egg 
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract 
Combine the flour and baking powder, set aside. Cream the sugar and butter. Add the egg and extracts and mix. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined, scraping down the bowl, especially the bottom.

The dough will be crumbly, so knead it together with your hands as you scoop it out of the bowl for rolling

Roll onto a floured surface and cut into shapes. Place on parchment lined baking sheets and freeze for 5 minutes. Bake chilled cookies for 10-12 minutes at 350. Let sit a few minutes on the sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Royal Icing
from sweetopia
  • 6 oz (3/4 cup) warm water 
  • 5 tablespoons meringue powder 
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar 
  • 1 kilogram (2.25 pounds) powdered sugar 
*** Note: if your meringue powder has no vanilla flavor in it, you may add a teaspoon of clear vanilla to this recipe

Pour the warm water and meringue powder into the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix it with a whisk by hand until it is frothy and thickened, about 30 seconds.

Add the cream of tartar and mix for 30 seconds more.

Pour in all of the powdered sugar at once. Using the paddle attachment, mix slowly, on the LOWEST speed, for a full 10 minutes. Icing will get thick and creamy.

Cover the bowl with a dampened towel to prevent crusting and drying.

Tint with food colorings and thin the icing with small amounts of warm water to reach the desired consistency.


***Note: For tips on using royal icing and ideas for decorating, visit This site has lots of tips and tricks for decorating cookies along with other fun things. It really helped me out the first time I used royal icing.

Triple Citrus Bars

My mom had to make a dessert for a potluck cookout earlier this month and she chose to make these bars. I helped out a little and took some pictures to document the process. In the past several years, whenever I'm around I am usually the one to make the dessert or the salad or whatever else is needed, so it was nice to see my mom back in the kitchen making her own dessert (although, it makes me want to jump right in and make my own too!). It was fun to double team these yummy bars, sharing the excitement of preparing a beautiful dish.

If you are looking for a light, fresh and citrusy dessert this summer, this is the bar for you. It was the perfect choice for an outdoor party by the pool. They weren't too difficult to make and they are a nice twist on the traditional lemon or lime bars. I enjoyed the three kinds of fruits and the beautiful flavors and color they added to the bars. The buttery, sandy crust is a nice contrast to the smooth and tart citrus filling. And the best part, they can be made the night before and chilled in the fridge overnight. It doesn't get much better than that! Overall, a fresh and satisfying dessert for a hot summer night.

Fresh and tart, a refreshing dessert

All the fruit, ready and waiting

Graham crackers for the crust

Crush them up and add some butter

All mixed and ready for the pan

The prepared pans, we made a double batch

Pour the crumbs into the pan

Press and bake!

Get the filling ready, start with the cream cheese and zest

Then the juice

Ready to go

Grab an egg yolk

Once it's all together, pour into the pans,
it's as easy as that!

Cut and ready to eat


Triple Citrus Bars
from The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook
  • 5 ounces animal crackers (I didn't have any so I used graham crackers and they turned out just fine) 
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar 
  • Pinch of table salt 
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted and slightly cooled 
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime zest 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest 
  • Pinch of table salt 
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk 
  • 1 large egg yolk 
  • 6 tablespoons lime juice 
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice 
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice 
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8-inch square pan with foil and spray with vegetable oil spray.

For the crust: pulse crackers in food processor until fine (about 10 seconds), you should have about 1 1/4 cups of crumbs. Add the brown sugar and salt, process to combine. Drizzle butter over the crumbs and pulse until crumbs are evenly moistened with butter. Press the buttered crumbs firmly and evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until deep golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

For the filling: In a medium bowl, stir together cream cheese, zest and salt with a spatula until softened, creamy and thoroughly combined. Add sweetened condensed milk and whisk until smooth and completely incorporated. Whisk in the egg yolk. Add the lime, lemon and orange juice and whisk gently to incorporate (the mixture should thickened slightly).

Pour the filling into the cooled crust and spread to corners, smoothing the surface with a rubber spatula. Bake until the filling is set and the edges begin to pull away slightly from the sides, 15-20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, 1-1 1/2 hours. Cover with foil and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least two hours.

Lift the bars from the pan using the foil and cut into 16 squares. May be sprinkled with toasted coconut if desired.

Soft Garlic Knots

So, I love bread and I love garlic so when these cute little rolls started showing up all over the internet, I knew I would have to try them very soon. Soft, fluffy bread covered in butter, garlic and cheese, it doesn't get much better than this. There are quite a few versions of this recipe floating around, I picked this one because it came from the King Arthur Flour website, a source that I have come to trust.

These rolls did turn out soft and buttery, a perfect pairing for a plate of pasta, or a couple of slices of pizza (see the last photo!). However, I would have liked a bit more garlic flavor, I found it to be quite mild. I did use roasted garlic and not raw, perhaps roasting the garlic mellowed the flavor out too much. I guess I will just have to make these rolls again soon and compare; it's a tough job but somebody has to do it!

Cheesy, garlicky goodness

Dividing the dough into 16 pieces

Roll them out, nice and skinny

 So much potential...

 turned into a lovely knot

Let rise on baking sheet until nice and puffy

 Cover with garlic butter and cheese when 
done baking


Serve alongside something equally 
as healthy, you mind as well go all the way!

Soft Garlic Knots
from King Arthur Flour

  • 3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) All-Purpose Flour 
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) Baker's Special Dry Milk 
  • 1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes 
  • 1 tablespoon sugar 
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast 
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt 
  • 2 tablespoons (7/8 ounce) olive oil 
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) lukewarm water* 
*Add an additional 2 tablespoons water in the winter, or if you live in a very dry climate.

Garlic Butter
  • 2 to 6 cloves peeled, crushed garlic
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pizza Seasoning or Italian seasoning, optional
Whisk together flour, dry milk, potato flakes, sugar, salt and yeast. Stir in the olive oil and water and knead until a soft, smooth, elastic dough forms. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it and allow it to rise at room temperature until doubled, about 1 hour.

Divide the dough into 16 pieces and roll each piece into a 11 inch rope. Tie each rope into a knot, tucking the loose ends into the center of each knot. Place the knots on a parchment covered baking sheet, cover and let rise for 45 minutes to an hour until very puffy looking.

Meanwhile, mix together melted butter and garlic, set aside.

Bake the knots for 15 to 18 minutes at 350 degrees. They should be set but only slightly browned. Brush each knot with the garlic butter and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning if desired. Knots taste best when eaten warm (of course!).

Mint Juleps for the Kentucky Derby

I love horses, always have, always will. So for me, the first Saturday in May is always exciting. I've been watching the Kentucky Derby every year for almost as long as I can remember and amazingly I can't remember ever missing one, at least not recently. I was even able to visit Churchill Downs when I was in middle school, it was great, even my dad liked it and he doesn't care about horses at all. I'm holding out hope for a Triple Crown winner someday, hopefully sooner rather than later.

Usually it's just Lara and I in front of the TV for a few hours to watch the 2 minute race, but this year I was feeling a little more festive. I decided that I needed to try making mint juleps, the drink of the Kentucky Derby. Since I know nothing about bourbon other than I don't like it, I invited my grandparents over for pizza and derby watching, and also asked if they'd bring the bourbon since they have a little more knowledge of the stuff. It turned out to be a very fun afternoon, a nice way to relax after spreading wood chips all morning. My grandma even showed up with a festive hat, very in the spirit of things, I loved it!

To make the mint juleps, I went out and bought a spearmint plant and whipped up a batch of simple syrup. I took a few leaves of mint in each glass, crushed them a little with a spoon, and then covered them with a ton of crushed ice. I then poured one ounce of bourbon over the ice followed by one ounce of simple syrup. Stir it up a little and serve. I was surprised because I really enjoyed the drink. Pouring sugar water over whiskey makes it quite drinkable!

The key players; mint and bourbon
(my grandpa says this is good bourbon, I liked it, but what do I know)

My spearmint plant

Crushing the mint leaves

Ready to drink, traditionally this is served in a sterling silver cup, 
seeing as I'm a grad student, a glass will have to do

Enjoying our drinks, love the hat Grammy!

Note: I don't know how authentic this recipe is, but it's what I did. My inspiration was a segment I saw on the Today show. I liked it. 

  • 1 c water
  • 1 c sugar
  • mint
  • bourbon
  • crushed ice (lots!)

To make simple syrup, put water and sugar in a small saucepan and heat, simmering until all the sugar dissolves (about 5 minutes). Cool the syrup in the fridge until cold. 

Place mint leaves in glass, crush a few times with a spoon. Cover the mint with lots of crushed ice. Add one ounce each of bourbon and simple syrup. Give it a stir. Garnish with a mint sprig. Drink and enjoy.

Lighter Chicken Parmesan

My mom would make her version of Chicken Parmesan occasionally when I was growing up. Although I've always liked the idea of this dish, I never cared for how she prepared it. My dad however loves it so it makes an appearance once in a while. I've always wanted to make a different version of the dish, and this recipe sounded promising, so I made it for my dad, Lara and myself last Sunday.

While this is not a traditional Chicken Parmesan, I thought it turned out quite tasty, and would definitely make it again. This recipe was not difficult to prepare, but it did take some time, which is fine with me. There are quite a few steps. I think it would be a good recipe to make for a larger group since it made quite a bit, and it would also be easy to double.

The breaded chicken alone turned out delicious, I plan on making it into baked chicken fingers soon. It was crunchy and flavorful, not soggy and bland like other baked chicken fingers recipes. A little ketchup on the side for dipping is all it would need.

A delicious, festive Italian dish; red white and green!

Full of crunch and topped with cheese

Don't worry, the recipe makes plenty more than this

Note: This is supposed to be a healthy recipe, and it is, but the three ounces of cheese called for in the recipe is just not enough in my opinion. I about doubled that amount, and more wouldn't be a bad thing. I would say, just eye ball the cheese, put on as much as you want. I also didn't have any fresh basil (very sad, I can't wait until summer, when my garden will be bursting with basil!) so I used Italian parsley instead, just as pretty but not quite as tasty. So if you don't have the basil, don't sweat it.

Lighter Chicken Parmesan
from The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook
**If you are tight on time, you can substitute 2 cups of your favorite plain tomato sauce for the Simple Tomato Sauce. To make slicing the chicken easier, freeze it for 15 minutes.

  • 1 1/2 c panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs) 
  • 1 Tbs olive oil 
  • 1 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/2 a cup), plus extra for serving 
  • 1/2 c flour 
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder 
  • Table salt 
  • Ground black pepper 
  • 3 egg whites 
  • 1 Tbs water 
  • 3 (7 to 8 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
  • 1 recipe simple tomato sauce (recipe follows) 
  • 3 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded 
  • 1 Tbs minced fresh basil leaves 

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 475 degrees. Combine the bread crumbs and oil in a 12-inch skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring often, until golden, about 10 minutes. Spread the bread crumbs in a shallow dish and cool slightly; when cool, stir in the Parmesan.

In a second shallow dish, combine the flour, garlic powder, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together. In a third shallow dish, whisk the egg whites and water together.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, place a wire rack on top, and spray the rack with vegetable oil spray. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge the cutlets in the flour, shaking off the excess, then dip into the egg whites, and finally coat with the bread crumbs, Press on the bread crumbs to make sure they adhere. Lay the chicken on the wire rack.

Spray the tops of the chicken with vegetable oil spray. Bake until the meat is no longer pink in the center and feels firm when pressed with a finger, about 15 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the oven. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the sauce onto the center of each cutlet and top the sauce with 2 tablespoons of the mozzarella. Return the chicken to the oven and continue to bake until the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the basil and serve, passing the remaining sauce and Parmesan separately.

Simple Tomato Sauce
from The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook

  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes 
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 4 tsp) 
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste 
  • 1 tsp olive oil 
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes 
  • 1 Tbs minced fresh basil leaves 
  • Table salt 
  • Ground black pepper 

Pulse the tomatoes in a food processor until mostly smooth, about ten 1-second pulses; set aside. Cook the garlic, tomato paste, oil, and pepper flakes in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the tomato paste begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in the pureed tomatoes and cook until the sauce is thickened and measures 2 cups, about 20 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside until needed.

Chocolate Chip Scones

Breakfast is probably my favorite meal of the day. First of all because I am a morning person and like waking up to have a delicious breakfast. Secondly, because I love the fact that it's perfectly acceptable to eat dessert for breakfast. I'll admit that I do this more often than I probably should. Cinnamon Rolls, muffins, coffee cake, pancakes, waffles, you get the picture. There are days I eat a hearty, savory breakfast of eggs and toast or something similar, but given a choice, I'll pick the sweet every time.

Scones are one of these sweets that I absolutely love. They are quick and easy to make (no yeast here) and there are endless flavor possibilities. Of course, savory scones are possible, but I've never made these, mine always seem to come out filled with chocolate! I would someday like to try a cheese and onion scone, or one with bacon or sausage, but not today is not that day.

This scone recipe came from King Arthur Flour's website. It's just a basic scone recipe that you can customize how you see fit. They turned out perfectly with a good balance of slightly crispy crust and a chewy interior, while the chocolate chips added that kick of sweetness that I love. All you need to add is a glass of ice cold milk and you have a pretty perfect breakfast.

Golden deliciousness, studded with bittersweet chocolate

Throw all of the dry ingredients together, 
(make sure that butter's cold) 
Add the chocolate chips

Wet ingredients in a separate bowl


Mix into deliciousness

Shape into two cute rounds

Cut each round into six nice triangles



Note: I added a teaspoon or two of espresso powder, a delicious combination with the chocolate chips. It gives a slight mocha flavor to the scones, very tasty!

Chocolate Chip Scones
from King Arthur Flour

  • 2 3/4 cups All-Purpose Flour 
  • 1/3 cup sugar 
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder 
  • 1/2 cup cold butter 
  • 1 cup to 2 cups chopped dried fruit, chocolate or other flavored chips, nuts, or a combination, optional 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or the flavoring of your choice 
  • 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup half and half or milk 
  • 2 teaspoons milk 
  • 2 tablespoons sparkling white sugar or cinnamon sugar, optional 
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Work in the butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly; it's OK for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated. Stir in the fruit, chips and/or nuts, if you're using them.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla or other flavor, and half and half or milk.

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together.

Line a baking sheet with parchment; if you don't have parchment, just use it without greasing it. Sprinkle a bit of flour atop the parchment or pan.

Scrape the dough onto the floured parchment or pan, and divide it in half. Round each half into a 5" circle (if you haven't incorporated any add-ins); or a 6" circle (if you've added fruit, nuts, etc.). The circles should be about 3/4" thick.

Brush each circle with milk, and sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar or cinnamon sugar, if desired. Using a knife or bench knife that you've run under cold water, slice each circle into 6 wedges. Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them just a bit; there should be about 1/2" space between them, at their outer edges.

For best texture and highest rise, place the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered. While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425°F.

Bake the scones for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they're golden brown. When you pull one away from the others, it should look baked all the say through; the edge shouldn't look wet or unbaked.

Remove the scones from the oven, and cool briefly on the pan. Serve warm. When they're completely cool, wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to several days.