Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Blackberry Scones

I love scones and all things scone-y.  These blackberry scones are not only unique but they are absolutely delicious.  Ground up oatmeal gives them a slight texture that's very nice; the blackberry jelly goodness, once baked, reminds me of Pop Tart filling.  They are just the right amount of sweet.
Ok,  now I'm gushing. 
Give these a try, especially if you, like me, still have a  stash of last year's berries in various guises -- jellies, jams, etc.  I used  some berry syrup I made last week that thickened up more than expected.  It was absolutely perfect.
Ok, no more gushing.
The recipe comes from a very fun book for people who love to read and love to eat:  Read It and Eat:  A Month-by-Month Guide to Scintillating Book Club Selections and Mouthwatering Menus, by Sarah Gardner.  I've also made her Vintage Junk Food Dark Chocolate Cake, and can highly recommend that recipe, as well.
Onto the scones.


1 1/2 c. oatmeal (uncooked)
1 1/2 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
3/4 c. buttermilk (I just used regular milk with the juice from most of one small lemon squeezed into it.  Let sit for 5 minutes and voila.  Buttermilk substitute.)
3 T. seedless blackberry all-fruit spread (I used thick-ish homemade blackberry syrup)
1 egg, beaten
Place parchment paper on baking sheet (or lightly spray it with nonstick cooking spray).  Put oats in blender and blend away until they become pretty fine.  Dump into a large bowl and add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Mix well.  Put the small blobs of butter into the bowl and use a pastry blender to incorporate butter into flour mixture.  Add the buttermilk and stir.  You will probably need to use your (very clean) hands to smush this all together.  Knead it until it comes together.  Pat the dough out on a floured surface until it's a rectangle approximately 10 inches by 8 inches and about 1/2-inch thick.  Cut into 2 1/2-inch squares (12 of them).  With sharp knife, cut a fairly deep "x" into each square (but don't cut all the way through).  Then spoon about 3/4 t. berry spread into each "x," using fingers and spoon to ease it into the crevices.  Brush pastry with the egg wash, transfer to baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 12 - 13 minutes, until golden.  Makes 12.  And they are lovely.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Light Pear Clafouti

Sometimes I have a hankering for an eggy, custard-y dessert, one that's warm and comforting with a hint of vanilla and sort of like pudding, but not.
Boy, does this dish fit the bill.
It also doesn't hurt that I have a freezer half full of last summer's fruit that I am valiantly trying to use up so we can give the big lug a good defrost before the current year's crop comes in.  My little baggie of 2 cups of cubed peeled pears was just perfect for this dish.
And did I mention it's a "light" recipe?  Originally from an ancient issue of Cooking Light magazine,  this pear clafouti yields six wedges at 231 calories each.  Delicious calories, every one of 'em. 
I think it'll make a fine breakfast, too.
Since the recipe came out pre-internet days, I couldn't find it online so I'll type it in here.
But I did find that the recipe's author, Steven Petusevsky, is a well-known chef who has a site with more great looking recipes on it.   I think some serious poking around is in order. 
In the meantime -- enjoy.


cooking spray
1 t. flour
2 c. cubed peeled pear
3/4 c. flour
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. cinnamon (he used nutmeg but I hate nutmeg)
2 c. milk, divided (he used 1% low-fat; I used nonfat)
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
3 lg. eggs, lightly beaten
2 t. powdered sugar

I hope you can find a 10-inch deep-dish pie plate lying around, because that's what this calls for.
Spray it with cooking spray and dust with the 1 t. of flour.  Spread the cubed pear around the bottom of the dish.  In medium bowl, stir together flour, salt, and cinnamon.  Slowly, add one cup of the milk, whisking away to keep out the lumps.  Add the rest of the milk, sugar, vanilla, and eggs and stir well.  Pour milk mixture over the pears and bake at 375 degrees for 35ish minutes, until set (mine took 40).  Sift powdered sugar over the top and eat up.  Six wedges at 231 calories each slice.

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

German Chocolate Chip Cookies

It has been a wise decision to limit my baking in recent weeks.  Turns out exhibiting self-control is a whole lot easier when cookies are invisible.
Visible cookies?  Not so much.
These little German Chocolate Chip Cookies are sweet and coconutty and way too easy to pop into your mouth.  And then to keep on popping. 
And then to maybe pretend they are dinner.
Good thing the survivors are going into work with Kahuna tomorrow.  I am really not to be trusted where chocolate and cookies collide.
1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c. butter, softened (I nuked it for easier blending)
1 1/2 c. flaked coconut
1 c. chocolate chips
1 c. chopped walnuts
In large bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, flour, and baking powder.  Set aside.
In medium bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk and softened butter.  Blend well, until smooth.  Pour this mixture into graham cracker mixture.  Add coconut, chocolate chips, and walnuts.  (Dough will be a bit firm, so feel free to mix with clean hands if you need to.)  Drop dough by balls about the size of a ping pong ball onto parchment paper-covered cookie sheets.  If you like your cookies puffed rather than spread out (and I do!), plop the cookie sheets with dough into the freezer for about 10 minutes before baking.  Then bake at 375 degrees for 9 - 10 minutes, until light brown.
Try not to inhale too many before you get them onto the plate.  Send remaining cookies on their way out of your kitchen as quickly as possible.