Bakery-Style Scones

We go through a lot of half-and-half at home between my sister and I. We each have a minimum of a morning cup of coffee every day during the week, and very often more whenever we can make it work, each with a little dollop of half-and-half because that’s the only way to drink it in my opinion. There are no boundaries on the weekend. In other words, we also go through a lot of coffee too.

Recently, when I walked to the neighborhood grocery store to pick up a pint of half-and-half they were out of my brand, at least in the pint size. But they did have the quart, so why not? Well, we did a good job working our way through that container, but as 3 weeks were quickly approaching I decided something had to be done to use up what was left. After thinking for a bit, I decided on scones because, well, scones. :) If you’re in the same predicament as I was, give this recipe a try, they’re delish!

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I made this recipe twice. The first time I made a 1.5x batch to get a really nice sized scone. They turned out beautifully, but unfortunately they were too salty. Since they just have a little sugar in them, as scones should, the salt was overpowering. Still completely edible with a nice spoonful of homemade jam, but certainly not top notch. I made them again with half the salt and a smidge more sugar and enjoyed them much more. The original recipe also calls for 2 tablespoons of milk and 4 tablespoons of cream. I just replaced all of the liquid with the half-and-half and it worked great. Perfect way to use up that last little bit of the carton!

 
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Bakery-Style Scones
Adapted from Serious Eats
Ingredients

  • 9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 cups, spooned; 255g), plus more for dusting

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2 ounces cold unsalted butter (4 tablespoons; 55g), cut into 1/2-inch cubes

  • 6 ounces roughly chopped milk chocolate (1 cup; 170g)

  • 6-8 ounces half-and-half (or a mix of milk [2 ounces] and heavy cream [4 ounces])

  • ~1 cup mixed nuts and dried fruit (I used almonds, pecans, cranberries and cherries)

Directions
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 400°F (204°C). Sift flour into a medium bowl, then whisk in baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add butter and use a pastry blender, or two forks, to work the butter into the flour until it resembles a coarse meal. Add nuts and dried fruit and toss to combine, then stir in the 1/2 and 1/2 to form a soft (but not wet) dough.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7-inch round. Cut into 6 or 8 wedges with a chef’s knife or a bench scraper. Sprinkle generously with coarse sugar, and arrange on a parchment-lined half sheet pan. Bake until puffed and golden, 25-30 minutes. Serve warm with clotted cream, jam, or a spoonful of whipped cream.

Scones are best eaten the day they are made. They do freeze well however if you have leftovers. When ready to eat, thaw to room temperatures. Reheat in a preheated 425 degree oven for 4-6 minutes until heated through and crisp, but before they start to bake through again and dry out.

Coffee Break

A few weeks ago I took a week staycation. It was lovely to have time off to do nothing. To refresh and recharge, and overall relax for more than a day at a time. I was hoping that by April I might have at least one or two decent days to do some stuff outside. Unfortunately, to say that the weather did not cooperate would be the understatement of the year. The entire week was so cold, and rained or snowed most days. At the end of the week we had a sleet/hail/snow storm with tons of school, church and work activities were cancelled. I was quite disappointed with the whole weather situation. But that's April in Michigan for you. You never know what you're going to get. 

Due to the nasty weather, I was able to enjoy a few extra coffee shops as there was not a whole lot else I wanted to do! It was the perfect weather for that at least. Lara and I also took a morning for a special afternoon tea at one of our favorite spots, the cutest little macaroon shop just down the street called Le bon Macaron. If you are ever in Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor or in East Lansing where their other shops are located, I highly recommend a stop for some of the best macaroons you'll ever had. They are fantastic. And the whole shop is styled in the cutest French inspired way. A pleasant way to spend a morning or afternoon. Our "tea" consisted of scones, crackers, cheese, tea, and macaroons. So good, and so fun! Overall, I tried to make the best of the less than ideal week! Good coffee certainly helps!

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Finally got over to the West side of Grand Rapids to check out a new coffee shop called Corridor Coffee. It's a very cute little place with a lot of charm. The actual coffee is not the best I've had, but I'd go back for the atmosphere for sure. And they sell some delicious local baked goods, some that are allergy friendly if that's important to you. 

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Tea Time at Le bon Macaron! Such fun, and delicious! Really the best macarons I've had. They know what they're doing, and the shop is the most adorable place you could imagine. 

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Did just a little bit of work as well while on vacation. Not ideal, but at least I found a cozy place with delicious coffee to make it more palatable. Lightfast Coffee is another great place in Grand Rapids. If you look beyond the coffee in this picture you can see the lovely weather I was up against this week... ick. 

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Finally a sunny day! It was cold, but beautiful! Went out for breakfast with my mom to Nonna's Pantry in Ada for some delicious baked goods. All house made and delicious. The coffee was nothing special, but altogether a lovely morning. 

Happy 30th Birthday

A few weeks back, Lara and I celebrated a milestone birthday, we turned 30. That still sounds a little strange, but I'm getting used to it. The whole weekend I kept thinking about the moving 13 Going on 30, and reminding myself - 30, flirty and thriving! :) 

To celebrate, we both took a few days off work and headed up north to have a little fun! We stayed at the cutest little Airbnb in downtown Traverse City that was just steps away from the main drag downtown, and walking distance to the beach. It was absolutely perfect. The weather was unbelievable and contributed to our short but wonderful celebratory vacation. 

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The cheese cellar at Leelanau Cheese

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Beautiful drive up to Black Star Farms

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Taste Taste Taste

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Stopped for a fantastic MadCap latte at Blue Bottle Coffee Co

The setting was perfection! And the food spot on!

 

Fish Town! The smoked trout was killer!

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Our perfect Airbnb. Our host even left us a birthday bottle of wine!

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Dinner was one of the best pizzas I've had. The setting didn't hurt either. Pleasanton Bakery had just a few options for pizzas. About 3 or 4 topping options, and only one size - 18 inches! We went with the Margherita and it was perfect.
Dinner by the bay, watching the sunset over the trees. 

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Morning coffee on our little porch after a morning run. Then it was off to Sleeping Bear Dunes for a fabulous hike!

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The highlight of the trip was probably lunch at 9 Bean Rows in Suttons Bay. It was abdolutely amazing. Got the soup special which was wild mushroom with sweet corn. On the side was a half sandwich for each of us - housemade pastrami with housemade sourkraut on housemade bread. Wow. I would drive the 2.5 hours simply to eat this again. One thing's for sure - I'll be back!

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Zucchini Cookies

Two zucchini cookies in a row?? Why not! This round I decided on the chocolate peanut butter combo, and then amped up the chocolate making a double chocolate peanut butter cookie - with zucchini! Trust me, all the zucchini does is add little green flecks to the cookies, and keeps them nice and moist, no zucchini flavor at all! These cookies are dense and hearty and scrumptious! Perfect with my afternoon cup of coffee. Try it with yours!

 
 

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Zucchini Cookies
Adapted from How Sweet Eats
Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups (150 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup (25 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons (40 grams) butter
  • 3 tablespoons 45 grams) peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup (75 grams) brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly grated zucchini (anywhere from 125-150 grams seems to work)
  • Chocolate chips or chunks

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.

In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the butter and peanut butter and place in the microwave at 20-30 second intervals until completely melted, whisking as needed to completely combined. Add the brown sugar and vanilla and whisk to combine. Stir in the grated zucchini. Stir in the dry ingredients until everything is combined and you have a dark chocolate dough (the dough will be very thick, and you might initially think that there is too much flour, but don't worry, it will come together). Fold in the chocolate chips.

Use a 1/2 to 1-inch scoop and scoop the dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet, about 2 inches apart from each other. Press down lightly to flatten. The cookies will not spread very much during baking. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until the cookies are just set. Let them cool for 10 minutes before removing them from the baking sheet. 

Pistachio and Lavender Olive Oil Biscotti

Coffee time and biscotti is one of my favorite combinations. I'm a huge biscotti fan as you could maybe tell if you've looked around this blog at all. These crunchy little sweet treats are perfect for dipping into a hot cup of coffee. It had been a while since I'd made biscotti, so last week I decided it was past time. I have a favorite biscotti recipe that I've made several times in the past, but I decided to try something different. While most biscotti are made with butter, this time I wanted to experiment with an olive oil biscotti instead. I did a little Googling and found a recipe that looked promising and went for it. The verdict - delicious! This recipe delivered a tender and crisp cookie, light and airy , not hard and crunchy at all. They almost had the lightness that fried food often has, which makes sense as they are full of olive oil!

I always like to put some add-ins in my biscotti. Since I've been on a lavender kick lately I decided to throw in a little lavender, fitting for the spring season, and also some yummy pistachios. I would have like more pistachios, but had to work with what I had. It was a delicious combination and made a delicious cookie! The flavor of the olive oil definitely comes through which I really enjoyed. If you're not sure how you will like this I'd recommend starting with a lighter, fruitier olive oil.

I will definitely be making these again. I'm even interested in maybe trying this recipe out as a savory biscotti, something that might be good for a cheese board, or charcuterie board. A twist on the typical cracker/bread/crostini. Definitely a fun future project!

 
 

Pistachio and Lavender Olive Oil Biscotti
Adapted from Ciao Chow Linda
Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups (150 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pistachios
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried lavender

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking power and salt. Set aside. 

In another mixing bowl, place the egg, sugar, olive oil, and lavender, and mix for one minute until well blended. Add the flour mixture and pistachios and mix until all the ingredients are well blended.

Shape the dough into a long rectangle on a parchment-lined baking sheet. The dough may be a little wet but do your best shape it into a smooth log. Place in the oven and bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool for a few minutes, and slice into individual biscotti. Raise the oven temperature to 375 degrees and place the biscotti back on the parchment-lined baking sheet for another 15 minutes, until crisp and dry all the way through. Keep a close eye on them the last five minutes to make sure they don't burn. 
 

Lavender Orange Scones

This past week I was feeling the itch to bake something special, but wasn't sure what that should be. I took stock of what I had in the fridge and pantry and found a lonely little orange as well as some dried lavender from last spring. With a quick recipe search I found a recipe for chocolate orange scones. Perfect. At first I was going to go with the classic chocolate orange combination, but then decided that since it's spring and I have some beautiful dried lavender that I would try that combination instead. I figured that the sweet and tart orange would pair well with the floral lavender and I was right. These two flavors compliment each other perfectly and make for a light and fragrant scone, perfect for a leiesurely spring breakfast. 

I've used citrus zest and juice in baked goods plenty of times in the past, but I've never put the actual flesh into a muffin or scone or cake so I wasn't quite sure how it would turn out. I should not have worried, these scones baked up perfectly with little pockets of sweetness due to the orange segments mixed throughout. If you have it, I think some chopped white chocolate would also be a wonderful addition to these lovely spring scones. 

 
 

Lavender Orange Scones
Adapted from Vanilla and Bean
Ingredients

  • 1/2 stick (2 ounces) cold butter
  • 1 Orange
  • 2-3 tablespoons whole milk, half and half, or heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (70 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup (30 grams) oat flour
  • 1 tablespoon (8 grams) cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons (25 grams) brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon dried lavender
  • Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling, optional

Directions
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Cut the cold butter into 1/4 inch cubes and place in the refrigerator while prepping the other ingredients.

Zest the orange, peel and chop the flesh into small pieces, taking care to reserve the juices. Place the flesh into a small bowl and add about 1 Tbs of all purpose flour. Stir to coat. Set aside. In a measuring cup mix the orange juice and zest, milk, honey, and vanilla extract. Set aside. 

Add the flours, corn starch, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lavender into a large mixing bowl. Add the cold butter to the sifted ingredients and use a pastry cutter (or two forks) to cut in the butter into the pastry. The butter should be about pea size, evenly coated, and distributed in the flour.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Gently stir the mixture until the flour is just moistened. The dough will be shaggy and seem dry but avoid the temptation to add additional liquid. Add the chopped orange pieces. Fold in to incorporate, eventually using your hands to press and fold the dough together, just a few times. Squeeze a portion of the dough in your fist. It should loosely hold together. 

Dump the contents out of the bowl onto a flour dusted work surface and press the dough together forming a circle. You may need to work it a little bit with your hands to bring it all together. Work gently, but quickly to keep the dough as cold as possible. Use a bench scraper, or a knife, to cut the circle into 4 to 6 triangles. Transfer the cut scone to the prepared baking sheet. 

Place scones on the parchment lined sheet pan and rest in the fridge or freezer for 20 minutes, while the oven is preheating to 425F. 

Before baking, moisten the top of the scones with a little milk and sprinkle the raw sugar evenly over the top of each scone. Bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees, then turn the oven down to 375 degrees, rotate the baking sheet, and bake for an additional 15 minutes until the scones are golden brown and cooked through. Remove from oven and carefully transfer scones to a cooling rack. 

Yields: 4-6 scones

Mocha Zucchini Muffins

First things first, Happy Easter!

Christ the Lord is risen today.
All creation join to say. 
Raise you joys and triumphs high.
Sing ye heaven and earth reply. 

Love's redeeming work is done.
Fought the fight, the battle won.
Death in vain forbids him rise.
Christ has opened paradise.

What a glorious day! When I think about all I have in Christ I am continually blown away by what I have been given, not because of anything I have done, I can take credit in no way for my salvation, I believe because God first chose me. How humbling is this truth. 

I this beautiful day, full of celebration and new birth I was inspired to create something new and delicious out of something old. I've had a bag of shredded zucchini floating around in my freezer since last summer. I keep meaning to do something with it, but I always say "next time". Well, not this time! I found a new zucchini muffin recipe, adjusted it for what I wanted, and finished off last years produce, finally! This was the perfect way to do it too. A light and healthy whole grain muffin, lightly sweetened and filled with one of my favorite treats; chocolate covered espresso beans!!

When I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it. I didn't have a go-to zucchini muffin but this one looked promising, and I was right. It's just rich enough to make it special, but not too rich to make it feel overly indulgent. The original recipe calls for a streusel on top which would be marvelous, but I skipped it this time out of laziness, but did chop up a handful of dark chocolate espresso beans for pizzaz. And chocolate. Come on. 

The final product came out as beautiful as I had hoped. Flecked with green from the zucchini, and chocolate from the espresso beans. I added some espresso powder for a little extra mocha flavor, and probably could have added more (I think I'll try 1/2 teaspoon next time!). They turned out light and satisfying. A perfect zucchini muffin. 

 
 


Mocha Zucchini Muffins
Adapted from The Almond Eater
Ingredients

  • 1 cup (120 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 1-2 tablespoons (12-25 grams) brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) milk
  • 2 tablespoons (37 grams) maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup grated zucchini
  • 1/4 cup chocolate covered espresso beans, roughly chopped

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a muffin tin with muffin liners, set aside

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and espresso powder in a bowl and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and then add olive oil, milk, syrup and vanilla. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients. Add the zucchini, and stir until combined. 

Transfer the batter to the prepared muffin tin. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven, wait a few minutes for the muffins to cool before removing them from the tin.

Yields: 6 muffins

Cherry Walnut Pumpkin Scones

This past week I took my first vacation days of residency. It has been absolutely wonderful. 5 days off (plus both weekends - bonus!) to do absolutely nothing. I really had nothing planned (other than a dentist appointment, woohoo) which is really how I like my days off to be, relaxing and uneventful. It's been kind of a gloomy week. Rainy and cold for several days, not a lot of sun. Early in the week I decided that I needed to had something fun to enjoy for breakfast while on vacation. Since it's October I really didn't have any other choice than to make something pumpkin-y! Something seasonal to leisurely enjoy with my morning cup of coffee. After much deliberation I settle on scones. 

Scones are one of my favorites! I made some delicious pumpkin scone with cranberries and pecans last year, but I had a couple other recipes pinned so I figured I'd try a new one! This recipe is from Joy the Baker, one of my favorite bloggers, and probably the blog I've been following the longest of any food blog. I trust her recipes so I knew this would be a winning recipe. They were the perfect treat for my chilly fall morning breakfasts!

Scones are not difficult. These are pretty basic as scones go, similar to the ones I made last year. These did spread a little while baking, but not too much. They are moist and hearty. Pumpkin scones never have that crispy airiness that traditional scones have, but that's to be expected due to the moist and dense pumpkin. Add a little drizzle of glaze for looks and extra sweetness and then dig in. Don't forget the coffee! 

(Sorry about the dark, not so wonderful pictures of these scones. The batteries in my camera died and I haven't been able to go buy some new batteries yet!)

 
 

Cherry Walnut Pumpkin Scones
Adapted from Joy the Baker
Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (180 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons, 3 ounces) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup (110 grams) buttermilk, cold
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup a mix of coarsely chopped walnuts and dried cherries

Directions
Place rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and all of the spices.  Add the cold butter to the dry ingredients and toss to coat.  Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, break the butter down into the dry ingredients.  Work quickly so that the butter remains cold.  Some of the butter will be the size of oat flakes, others will be the size of small peas.

In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract.

Add the wet ingredients, all at once to the dry ingredients.  Stir together until almost thoroughly combined.  Add walnuts and cherries and stir until no dry flour bits remain.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Shape into a small circle, approximately 1 1/2 inches tall. Use a bench scraper or a sharp knife to cut the circle into 6 or 8 wedges. Transfer scones to prepared baking sheet.  Leave about 2-inches of space between each scone.

Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until browned slightly with dry tops.  You can insert a toothpick into the center of a scone to test for doneness.