Lemon Blueberry Scones

Lemon Blueberry Scones

Although I can eat a scone anytime of the year now that temperatures are dropping and there is actually a few flakes of snow on the hood of my car, they seem to be calling my name on a more frequent basis.

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Lemon Blueberry Scones

If you are still purchasing your scones at the local shop stop immediately and give these Lemon Blueberry Scones a try.  One bowl baking at it’s best and no ‘knead’ to be intimidated.  Worried you’ll eat the whole batch yourself?  Which is a definite possiblilty as a warm from the oven scone is swoon worthy.  Pack your cooled scones into a ziplock bag (or maybe 2 for extra protection), freeze and thaw as desired.  Once thawed, a few seconds in the microwave to warm slightly will give you the ‘hug’ you need to start your day, or finish your day, or brighten your afternoon.  Heck, heat up 2 and share with someone!

If your new to baking remember for scones you need COLD butter and when zesting make sure to only use the outer peel not the white part underneath the skin of the lemon.  The pith is the bitter white just under the thicker skin so go lightly!  Don’t worry if you have a little more or less of the zest, whatever you have will work fine.

 

lemonblue3
Lemon Blueberry Scones

Most important, make sure your baking powder is fresh, fresh, fresh.  If it has been open and sitting in your cupboard for over 6 months toss and purchase the smallest container you can.  Baking soda and powder lose their magic powers so don’t buy the giant Costco container if you will not be using it up in several months!!

Fresh or frozen blueberries work in this recipe and I recommend using the small wild blueberries for the best taste.  If using frozen berries you may need to bake a minute or two longer but remember to check half way through the baking time to see how quickly they are baking.

For an extra touch you can mix a little lemon juice with some icing sugar and lightly drizzle your cooled scones!

Lemon Blueberry Scones

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Makes approx. 8

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1/2 cup cold butter

1 egg

1/4 cup whipping cream or 18% cream

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Method:

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and zest.

Using a grater (I use a box grater and the larger holes) grate the cold butter on top of the flour mixture.  With your hands lightly toss the flour over the butter until lightly coated.

Stir in the egg and cream and then the blueberries (mixture may look messy) until you have everything combined.

Onto a lightly floured surface turn out dough.  At this this point you might have to gather some bits together so don’t panic.  Either pat out or roll out your dough into a large circle about 1 1/2 inches thick.  Place on prepared baking sheet.

(I find when using the frozen berries my mixture is easier to pat out but with fresh berries easier to lightly roll out.)

Using a pastry cutter or knife cut dough into 8 pieces and separate slightly.

Brush with a little cream and sprinkle with some granulated or coarse sugar.

Bake 15 minutes until golden and just firm to the touch.  Remove from oven and cool slighly before eating.

 

 

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

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Banana Bread – sweetenufblog.ca

 

 

Banana Bread, such a simple and easy recipe, with variations abounding.

Sarah Kieffer’s recipes never disappoint and her Banana Bread recipe is no exception.  The light texture, not to sweet flavour, dark flecks of ripe banana and the moistness of this bread are sure to make it’s way into your heart and belly.  It is now my ‘Go To’ recipe and after you give it a whirl I bet it will be your ‘Go To’ as well.

Sarah’s recipe calls for 1/2 cup of toasted and chopped pecan halves but I subbed in 1/2 cup butterscotch chips plus 1/2 cup of walnuts.  If you prefer chocolate chips go ahead and add them in or leave out any additions.  Make sure your bananas are nice and ripe and have your butter and eggs at room temperature for best results.

This delicious recipe is from Sarah’s The Vanilla Bean Baking Book.

Banana Bread

Grease an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan and line with overhanging parchment paper for easy removal.  Preheat oven to 350F.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup pecans, chopped and toasted

1 cup ripe bananas, mashed (approximately 3)

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

Method:

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and pecans.

In a medium bowl combine bananas, sour cream and vanilla.

In a mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium until creamy.  Add the sugars and beat on medium until light and fluffy.  Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl.  Add the eggs and mix on medium until combined.  Add the flour mixture and mix on low until almost incorporated.  Add the banana mixture and mix on low until combined.

Scrape down sides of bowl and finish mixing with spatula until completely combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 45 to 55 minutes until the top is dark brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool 20 minutes and remove from pan to cool completely.

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Banana Bread – sweetenufblog.ca

 

 

 

Can’t Get No Satisfaction?! Try These -Black Cocoa Brownies

Can’t Get No Satisfaction?! Try These -Black Cocoa Brownies

Recreating The Bake Feed Brownies
Black Cocoa Brownies

 

The Rolling Stones sing about it, companies make billions of dollars off it, and advertisers convince us daily of it.  What is it?  Satisfaction!

Without even realizing it we are constantly being brainwashed to be dissatisfied with ourselves.  Business is booming because we are convinced we cannot possibly reach our potential without more stuff.

The newest running shoe will make us jump higher and despite the fact we have no athletic ability we can become a super star.  The big brush mascara will make our eyes so incredible we will mesmerize everyone we meet and be hired for some incredible job somewhere.  Don’t have the latest colour palate on your walls, in your shoe selection or your clothes, why how lame are you?  Not having the right colour jacket may impact your ability to secure an apartment rental.  Everyday someone, who will make money and benefit from making us feel less than perfect, will convince us we are not enough.  Not enough for ourselves and not enough for others and if we happen to be content and  satisfied we must not be enlightened enough to know we are lacking.  Wow, how sad, I probably don’t even realize how bad off I must be because I’ve been feeling pretty happy lately.  Does this mean I’m really lacking in more areas of my life than the average Joe.  OMG, maybe I should have bought those plaid pants.  Plaid is in this year, right?  If I have new pants I’ll be more interesting, right?

My therapy for problems of the world (first world) such as this, why chocolate or caramel or peanutbutter or butter or, any combination resulting in a dessert!  Whip yourself up some sweet satisfaction in the form of Black Cocoa Brownies and when enjoying one or three make a mental list of all the things you’re content with.  Number 1 should be the fact you made such amazing brownies.

Improving ourselves is never a negative but not enjoying or embracing what we are in the quest for the unattainable seems sad and a waste of precious time.  Time that, perhaps, might be spent in the kitchen baking up today’s recipe from the July/August 2018 Bake from Scratch magazine.

Ingredients
Black Cocoa Brownies – Ingredients
Dark Chocolate
Folding in Dark Chocolate

 

Black Cocoa Brownies
Black Cocoa Brownies with a little Hallowe’en Sprinkle (Photo Credit @wavesdigitalca.com)

 

Black Cocoa Brownies

(Black Cocoa is Ultra-Dutch process black cocoa which means the cocoa beans have been rinsed in an alkaline solution, eliminating its natural acidity, darkening the colour and making the flavour more concentrated.  Black cocoa has been processed to the most extreme.)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray a 13×9-inch pan and line with parchment paper.  Have an overhang on the sides to easily lift brownies out of pan.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups dark chocolate morsels, divided

1 cup unsalted butter, cubed

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup black cocoa powder

2 tsp kosher salt

5 eggs, large

1 tbsp vanilla extract

Method:

In top of a double boiler, melt 1 1/3 cups chocolate with the butter until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.  Stir occasionally while melting.  Turn off heat and whisk in sugars.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, and salt.

In a small bowl whisk the eggs.  Add half of beaten egg to cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined.  Whisk in remaining egg and vanilla.

Fold in flour mixture until only a few streaks of flour remain.  Fold in remaining chocolate pieces.

Spread batter into prepared pan.  Bake for approximately 25 minutes until toothpick inserted in centre has only a few crumbs.  Cool competely in pan before removing to cut.

Store well wrapped on counter.  These freeze well.

Pumpkin Biscotti

Pumpkin Biscotti

 

Pumpkin Biscotti
Pumpkin Biscotti

Pumpkin seems to be the flavour of Fall here in Canada.  The combination of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove combine beautifully to flavour pies, cupcakes and, of course, the ever popular Pumpkin Spice Latte.

If you love PSL’s and biscotti then you will love this crisp, Fall flavoured treat which can be eaten as is or dipped in your PSL.   And if you don’t bake maybe a little subtle hinting to your friends who do will result in you being their taste tester!

A couple of years ago I tested out several pumpkin biscotti recipes and after a little trial and error this has become my go-to recipe.  This biscotti has pumpkin pie spice for the flavour and NO pumpkin puree.  I found the spice gives the biscotti the flavour required but leaving out puree allows the cookie to crisp up nicely.  I save the pumpkin puree for things like muffins and cakes (check out other pumpkin recipes on my blog).

Like all biscotti these will last in an airtight container for a couple of weeks and freeze well.  Keep these in mind for holiday and Christmas gifts.  They travel well and look pretty in festive cello bags.

No pumpkin pie spice in your cupboard?  Just combine 4 tsp ground cinnamon, 2 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp ground cloves and 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg.  Make sure your spices are fresh for the best flavour.

Pumpkin Biscotti

Preheat oven to 325F.  Parchment line a large cookie sheet or 2 small cookie sheets.

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2-1 tsp cinnamon

1/3 cup butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup chopped walnuts

Method:

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon.

In a large bowl beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy.  Add in eggs one at a time beating after each until incorporated and beat in vanilla.

Stir in flour in 3 additions on low or by hand until mixed in.  Add in nuts and mix well.  You may find using your hands to combine the nuts into the batter works well.

Divide batter into 2 equal portions and shape each into a 2-inch by 3/4-inch log.  Place on baking sheets.  If using one sheet space about 3-inches apart to allow for spreading.

Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes until golden brown around edges (top will still look fairly light in colour).  Remove from oven and let cool 15-20 minutes until cool and easy to handle.

TURN OVEN DOWN TO 275F WHILE BISCOTTI COOLS.

perfect-pumpkin-biscotti-bakingUse a serrated or bread knife and cut into 1/2-inch slices.  Lay slices on cookie sheets and bake for approximately 8 minutes and then turn and lay on other side and bake for another 8 minutes until firm and golden brown.  Remove and cool completely.

For an extra hit of sweet, melt a little white chocolate (over low heat, of course, so you don’t burn it!) and drizzle over cooled biscotti.

Whether you dip or not is up to you but I think you’ll have to agree store bought biscotti cannot compare with these!

 

 

Glazed Lemon Pound Cake

Glazed Lemon Pound Cake

Happy Thanksgiving Canada!

Once per year we have a statutory holiday to give thanks, spend time with family and/or friends and expand our waistlines.  I do hope everyone reading this has an opportunity to hug or be hugged by someone they care about whether it’s a friend, co-worker, family member or a loved pet.

For me, baking is my hug to everyone.  Hopefully you will pass on a hug by giving today’s recipe a try and sharing it!

Use real lemons not bottled lemon juice for this recipe for the freshest flavours.  Room temperature lemons will provide more juice than those straight from the fridge.  When zesting make sure to only grate the yellow not the bitter white (the pith) underneath.  If you have lemons you won’t use up quickly, zest them and put the zest in a ziploc bag in the freezer and squeeze out the juice for future use.

Glazed Lemon Pound Cake

 Glazed Lemon Pound Cake

Preheat oven to 350F.  Makes 2 9×5-inch loaf pans.  Grease and flour loaf pans and set aside.

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

3 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup buttermilk

Zest of 2 lemons

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 cups sugar

5 eggs

Lemon Glaze:

Mix approximately 1/3 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice with 1 cup of icing sugar until pourable consistency.  Add a bit more lemon juice or icing sugar until desired consistency reached. Drizzle over cooled loafs.

Method:

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine buttermilk, lemon zest and lemon juice.

In medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated after each.

Add flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk mixture, using 3 flour additions and 2 buttermilk additions.  Don’t overmix just beat on low until smooth and combined.

 

Divide batter evenly between pans and smooth tops.  Bake for approximately 45-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted centre comes out clean.  Cool cakes about 15 minutes and then remove from pans to cool completely on a rack.

If desired, when cool, drizzle with lemon glaze.

Caramel Pecan Cake

Caramel Pecan Cake

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Caramel Pecan Cake – Getting Started!

In the brilliant book BakeClass they refer to today’s recipe as a ‘cake’, perhaps becuase it is so light and airy, but I’d classify it as more of a loaf or bread.  Mostly because it bakes in a loaf pan and has a drizzling of icing not a layer of icing piled on top.

Looking for quick, easy and minimal dishes plus light, moist and sweet, here is a winner.  No mixer required and you can make it at the last minute and not worry about room temperature butter since you use a saucepan!  Yup, a saucepan!

If you have self-rising flour in your pantry you won’t even need a measuring spoon.  No self-rising flour??  No worries, measure 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt into a dry 1-cup measure and top with all-purpose flour.  Make sure to give a good mix before adding to the recipe.

This comes together quickly so make sure your oven is preheated to 325F and your 9×5-inch loaf pan is greased and lined with parchment paper (with an overhang for easy removal).

Pecans would be my first preference for this loaf but walnuts would work great or a combination of pecans and walnuts.  Just bake it up next time you require a simple tea cake or a suppliment with your afternoon coffee.  Oven’s on you say?!  Then let’s get started!

Caramel Pecan Cake
Caramel Pecan Cake – sweetenuf.ca

 

Caramel Pecan Cake

Preheat oven to 325F.  Grease and line 9×5-inch loaf pan.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 3/4 ounces butter, cubed

1/2 cup milk

1 egg, room temperature

3/4 cup, rough chopped pecans

1 cup self-rising flour

1/4 toasted whole pecans – for garnish

1 tbsp golden corn syrup – for garnish to drizzle

Caramel Icing:

Mix together: 1 tbsp water, 2 tbsp golden corn syrup and 1 1/2 cups icing sugar until thick but pourable.  Add a little more water if necessary.  Set aside for cooled cake.

Method:

In a medium saucepan over medium heat melt together the butter, brown sugar and milk, until the butter just melts.  Make sure it is not too hot.  Remove from heat and let cool if necessary.

With a wooden spoon or whisk, stir in the egg and pecans.  Add the flour and stir until just combined.

Pour mixture into prepared pan and smooth the surface with offset spatula or back of spoon  Bake approximatley 35 minutes or until skewer inserted in centre comes out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes and remove from pan.  Once cool, spoon on with Caramel Icing then drizzle on syrup and garnish with remaining pecans.

 

 

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

orange carrots on table
Carrots – the star of the show

Summer brings us wonderful fresh produce here in Ontario.  Roasting or cooking up a bunch of sweet carrots is a wonderful addition with any meal but baking them into a classic dessert is an even better use of this veg.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing
Carrot Cake

Today’s recipe for a moist sweet carrot cake with coconut and walnuts topped with a light Cream Cheese Icing will be a pleasant treat after any meal and an impressive dessert to take along to your next bbq!

This recipe is a perfect size as it bakes up in a 3-inch high 8-inch round cake pan in about 40-45 minutes.  You could also use 2 x 8-inch pans or use the larger height pan like I did and split the cake for an extra layer of icing.   Remember, if using 2 pans your baking time will be reduced.

Miette baking book is where I found this simple recipe and basically the only change I made was using the flat beater for all steps; Miette uses the whisk attachment for the first step of mixing the eggs, sugar and oil. Miette’s recipe also calls for using currents, walnuts and coconut but I opted for only walnuts and coconut as my add-ins.

I normally don’t add coconut to my baked items but in this cake with the carrots and walnuts it added another layer of flavour that blended together deliciously.  You could leave out the cocont and add in some dried currents or some raisins.  I toasted an additional 1/4 cup of coconut to sprinkle on top of the iced cake.

If possible pick up some fresh carrots at the farmers market as they truly are sweet and crunchy this time of the year and will make this cakes wonderful flavour just that much brighter.

Carrot Cake

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease cake pans and line bottom with parchment paper.

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1 cup shredded carrot

1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts

1/2 cup shredded coconut

Method:

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in a small bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs and sugar, and beat on medium speed about 2 minutes until well combined and light in colour.  Slow the mixer down, drizzle in the oil and then beat on high speed to emulsify the oi.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture in 3 additions mixing on medium after each until smooth.

Add in the carrots, walnuts and coconut and beat just until combined.  Remove from mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of mixing bowl to ensure everything is folded together well.

Scrape into prepared pans and bake on centre rack of oven until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.  Cool completely and ice with Cream Cheese Icing (recipe follows).

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese IcingCream Cheese Icing

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

3/4 cup cream cheese, room temperature

4 cups icing sugar

1-3 tsp. milk or cream

Beat butter and cream cheese together for several miutes until very well blended and smooth.  Add in icing sugar 1 cup at a time and beat on low to combine until spreadable consistency.  You many need a bit more or less icing sugar and if it’s too stiff beat in a teaspoon or two of milk.

Spread between layers and on top of cake.  Garnish with toasted walnuts or coconut.

Refrigerate uneaten portion and bring to room temperature before serving.