Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I'm Dreaming Of A White Chocolate Blueberry Scone

...just like the ones I used to know.

Remember last Fall when I had dreams of pumpkin that resulted in the fabulous Pumpkin Spice Cake with Honey Frosting? Well I did it again. Only this time I dreamt of white chocolate chip blueberry scones. Oh, yes I did.

And I'm not even sure why. I just woke up and said "I want white chocolate chip blueberry scones" and my husband turned over and looked at me like I was nuts. I've never been a scone eater because the ones I have had were dry or rock hard or just plain flavorless and bland. So when I started craving these I knew I had to find THE perfect recipe. I couldn't screw it up.

I googled my interest and all the recipes that came up were for the same recipe from Cook's Illustrated. And every one of the sites claimed that these were "the best" scones ever- a recipe that would not disappoint. And they didn't. My addition of the white chocolate chips (why not?) only made them better. They were light and fluffy and moist. The white chocolate added a bit of sweetness but it was subtle. The lemon zest resulted in a nice perfumey-ness and added a complex note to these scones. Not one flavor stood out over the other, the flavors meld together in perfect harmony. I'm posting this recipe now so you'll be prepared this weekend to make them. They're that awesome. This raspberry version looks great too!

White Chocolate Blueberry Scones from Cook's Illustrated

Just a note before you start: It is important to work the dough as little as possible—work quickly and knead and fold the dough only the number of times called for. The butter should be frozen solid before grating. In hot or humid environments, chill the flour mixture and work bowls before use. While the recipe calls for 2 whole sticks of butter, only 10 tablespoons are actually used (see step 1). If fresh berries are unavailable, an equal amount of frozen berries (do not defrost) can be substituted. An equal amount of raspberries, blackberries, or strawberries can be used in place of the blueberries. Cut larger berries into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces before incorporating.

  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, frozen whole (see note above)
  • 1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) fresh blueberries (see note above)
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus additional for work surface
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1. Adjust an oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Score and remove half of the wrapper from each stick of frozen butter. Grate the unwrapped ends on large holes of box grater (you should grate total of 8 tablespoons). Place grated butter in freezer until needed. Melt 2 tablespoons of remaining ungrated butter and set aside. Save remaining 6 tablespoons butter for another use. Place blueberries and white chocolate chips in freezer until needed.Whisk together milk and sour cream in medium bowl; refrigerate until needed.

3. Whisk the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest in medium bowl. Add frozen grated butter to flour mixture and toss with fingers until thoroughly coated. Fold in the chilled milk mixture with a spatula until just combined (do not overmix).

4. Turn the dough and any floury bits onto a well floured work surface. Lightly flour your hands and the dough and knead the dough gently 6-8 times until it just holds together in a ragged ball, adding additional flour as needed to prevent sticking.

5. Roll dough into approximate 12-inch square. Then fold dough into thirds like a business letter, using bench scraper or metal spatula to release dough if it sticks to counter top. Lift short ends of dough and fold into thirds again to form approximate 4-inch square. Transfer dough to plate lightly dusted with flour and chill in freezer 5 minutes.

6. Transfer dough to floured work surface and roll again into a 12-inch square. Sprinkle blueberries and white chocolate chips evenly over surface of dough, then press down so they are slightly embedded in dough. Using bench scraper or thin metal spatula, loosen dough from work surface. Roll up dough, pressing to form tight log, and pinch the seam closed. Lay seam-side down and press log into 12 by 4-inch rectangle. Using sharp, floured knife, cut rectangle crosswise into 4 equal rectangles. Cut each rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles.

7. Transfer the scones to parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake until tops and bottoms are golden brown, 18 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Transfer to wire rack and let cool 10 minutes before serving.

*Refrigerate or freeze leftover scones, wrapped in foil, in an airtight container. To serve, remove foil and place scones on a baking sheet in a 375-degree oven. Heat until warmed through and recrisped, 8 to 10 minutes if refrigerated, 16 to 20 minutes if frozen.

To Make Ahead: After placing the scones on the baking sheet, either refrigerate them overnight or freeze. When ready to bake, for refrigerated scones, heat oven to 425 degrees and follow directions in step 7. For frozen scones, heat oven to 375 degrees, follow directions in step 7, and extend cooking time to 25 to 30 minutes.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Family of Eyes

Several months ago on my other (private)blog, I posted pictures of my eye(s). I also took a picture of my husband's, my dog's and my rabbit's eyes. This time I have retaken mine and also included my sister's at the request of Niobe. Enjoy!

My eye with mascara in natural light. Can you see the reflection of my lashes on my eyeball? Cool, huh?

In natural evening light with a reflection bouncing off my eye, without eye makeup.

Autumn's eye and lashes.

My bunny rabbit, August's, eye. His long lashes look like old man eyebrows...ha!

My honey's brown eye.

My sister's grayish brown eye.

What color are your eyes? Better yet, take a picture of them and send me the link!

Friday, February 20, 2009

For My Momma

I made this cake for my mom for Valentine's Day. She is a huge orange and chocolate fan. Borderline obsessive, if you ask me. I took Ina's recipe for Lemon Yogurt Cake and substituted navel oranges and tangerines for the lemons. You can also use her recipe for Orange Pound Cake, but I wanted to use yogurt, so I chose to adapt her oh, so famous version.

Rather than topping this yogurt cake with a typical white sugar glaze, I chose to top it with a semi-sweet chocolate glaze. I adapted Martha's white chocolate glaze for this. It tasted just like one of these. The flavors meld together over time and taste best the next day and the day after that, if there's any left.

Orange & Tangerine Yogurt Cake adapted from Ina Garten
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange and tangerine zest (1 orange and 1 tangerine)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange tangerine juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, orange and tangerine zest, and vanilla.

Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup orange and tangerine juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the orange-tangerine sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool completely then top with glaze (recipe below).

NOTE: DON'T be tempted to skip the parchment paper step. I know you think you can grease and flour the pan really well and it'll come out, right? WRONG! Since you don't allow the cake to cool completely before turning it out, you NEED the parchment paper lining. It helps the cake release from the hot pan without breaking. I've skipped this step before and paid for it with a broken cake :-(

Semi-Sweet Chocolate Glaze adapted from from Martha Stewart

  • 3/4 cup confectioners sugar, sifted plus more if needed
  • 2 tbsp milk, plus more if needed
  • 2-1/2 ounces best-quality semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled

In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners' sugar and milk. The mixture should have the consistency of thin sour cream. Add the melted chocolate and whisk until glaze is smooth. If it is too thin, add more sugar, 1 tbsp at a time; if too thick, add more milk, 1 tsp at a time. Use immediately.

NOTE: Makes enough glaze to cover a 9x5x3-inch loaf. White or milk chocolate can be substituted. Start with a minimum amount of milk. I added too much and had to add more sugar, so it wasn't as chocolaty as I had intended. Though it was still good. This would be awesome on homemade doughnuts!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Chocolate Dunked

I made Guitard semi-sweet chocolate jumbo strawberries with stems for Valentine's Day. They were so yummy and only cost me $10 for 16 strawberries as opposed to the $38 box we got last year.

I had a little chocolate left over so I made these little yummy things.

S'more Sticks
  • Graham crackers broken into quarters
  • Chocolate chips, melted
  • Mini Marshmallows

Dip half the graham cracker in melted chocolate. Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Top with marshmallows while chocolate is still warm. Refrigerate for a crunchy snack, or store them in an airtight container. These won't last long!

Monday, February 16, 2009

New Stuff And A Sale!

Just wanted you to know about a few kitchen gadgets out in the market right now.

First up is the new Self Scraping BeaterBlade Attachment for your stand mixer. How cool is that? It has flexible silicone scrapers on the beater so you don't have to stop midway between mixing up a batch of gooey batter and scrape down the sides. Genius!

According to the Sur La Table website the BeaterBlade fits a KitchenAid, Cuisinart or a Viking stand mixer in 5, 6 and 7 quart sizes. Again, genius!

Prices start at $24.95 and they can also be found on

Also this weekend when I was at Barnes and Noble with a friend having coffee, I saw that they had Mario Batali kitchen stuff at 50% off!!! They had wooden spoons, silicone basting brushes, a salt cellar, kitchen towels, stove top espresso makers, sets of espresso cups, insulated lunch bags and a few other things at half off the original price. I got a nice wooden spoon for only $3.56 including tax when it was originally $7.

If you have a B&N near you with a cafe it's worth checking out even if all you get is a latte! Here's is a printable coupon for an extra 10% off :-) And, yes they work. I use them all the time.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Love Affair With M&M's

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Great Bribe

Mr. H and I have struggled with infertility for the last 2 and a half years. We've had two stillbirths (Sam- August 06 and Jack- February 07) and have been waiting til the time was right to try again. It's been a very long journey, but we've made the decision to try to conceive again. We're hoping this time we come home with a live baby.

What does this have to do with gelatine hearts? Well, Mr. H's grandmother used to make him Knox Blox when he was a little boy. He hasn't had them since then and his grandmother has since passed away. When my grandmother had breast cancer and was in the hospital last February, I found a pristine 1974 issue of Ladies Home Journal. It was so surreal to glance through and I almost stole it from the waiting room, but I thought it needed to be shared with others. But while flipping through the pages, I came across an ad for Knox Gelatine and a recipe for those famous blox.

Mr. H asked me to make these for him and I refused. I made a deal with him 1 year ago that he would get his Knox Blox when he got me pregnant (you see for a long time I wanted to try again and he didn't). I am not pregnant, but since we're one step closer to getting there I figured I'd finally make his gelatine. The only stipulation was that they had to be hearts.

Fruit Juice Knox Blox
  • 4 envelopes Knox Unflavored Gelatine
  • 1 cup cold fruit juice
  • 3 cups fruit juice, heated to boiling
  • Few drops food coloring (optional, see note)

In a bowl, sprinkle gelatine over cold juice; let stand 1 minute. Add hot juice and stir until gelatine is completely dissolved.

Pour into a 13x9-inch pan, chill until firm. Cut into 1-inch squares or cut into shapes using cookie cutters.

NOTE: Make sure you use clear juice. You can use orange juice or other nectars, but you won't get that shiny translucent effect that the clear juice gives. Also, make sure the juice is the color you want. Hold the jug up to the light in the supermarket to see the true color of the juice. I used cherry juice and it was a little pink so I added a few drops of red food coloring to make them more vibrant.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wordless Wednesday - Jelly Belly

Juicy Pear, Chocolate Pudding, Buttered Popcorn, Toasted Marshmallow, Caramel Apple, Creamsicle, Fresh Peach...I could go on and on.

What is your favorite Jelly Belly flavor?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Brownie Points

I have a confession to make.

My favorites brownies are from a red box. There I said it. Don't judge me.

I prefer to make all my goodies from scratch, not because I think I'm better than Ms. Crocker but because I care about the quality and freshness of ingredients. And there's just something about a homemade product that screams "I love you and I think you're special!" to the person you baked it for. Know what I mean?

BUT, I love Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge brownies and I make no apologies for it. I've made homemade brownies before and they're just not that good. The first ones I made were from an old trusty cookbook and the top crust was so thick and hard and the brownies dry. Others have either been too dense and fudgey, to where you can only eat one and you're done. Some have been too cakey and crumbly. And, to show just how picky I am, I don't like nuts, chocolate chips, cream cheese swirls, peanut butter or caramel in my brownies. And I sure as heck do not like them frosted. I like them plain.

I like them to be chewy, but not too rich and fudgey. I like the top crust to be delicate, crumbly and paper thin. And the edges, have to be crisp, crunchy and chewy. I have seen some really good looking brownies like mascarpone brownies, Ina's outrageous brownies, nutty caramel brownies, peanut butter brownies, cream cheese brownies etc. and have always been tempted, but they're not what I crave.

So while searching for a good brownie recipe (after days of craving chewy wonderful chocolatey brownies...PMSing much?) I found a bunch of people saying good things about their stand-by recipe. Their no-fail, always good, crave satisfying, one-bowl wonder--Baker's One Bowl Brownies. And I'll tell you what they're good. I made a full batch, half with pecans for my hubby and half plain for me. Next time, I might use a better, darker, richer chocolate instead of the Baker's chocolate squares, but it's a good start. I hope you like them too.

One Bowl Brownies from Baker's
  • 4 squares BAKER'S Unsweetened Chocolate
  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13x9-inch baking pan with foil or parchment paper, with ends extending over sides of pan. Grease foil or paper.

Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour and pecans; mix well. Spread into prepared pan.

Bake 30 to 35 min. or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgey crumbs. (Do not overbake.) Cool in pan on wire rack. Remove brownies from pan, using foil handles. Cut into squares. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature.

NOTE: My husband wanted pecans in his brownies, so I layered half the batter in the pan, then sprinkled 1/2 c. nuts on half the batter. Then I carefully ladled the rest of the batter over the nuts and smoothed it out with the back of a spatula, then sprinkled with a few more nuts.

What are your favorite brownies?

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