Friday, January 20, 2017

Cream Scones with Lemon and Dried Fruit~

How do you cozy up a dark and dreary winter day? Since the ice storm rolled through, we have had rain, fog and gloomy days...dark even earlier than than on a sunny day.  We like to light lots of candles (mostly the no-flame, no little burned fingers kind), turn on cheery music and on the weekends, I like to bake!

Early this week, I was craving something sweet but not too sweet. Something that would taste great with a warm cup of tea.  Scones sounded perfect and this was one of the best scone recipes I've tried.  Other recipes I've made have added butter and egg in the dough. This recipe gets enough added fat from using cream rather than milk or buttermilk to moisten the dough.  

First published in Bon Appetit in 1996, these scones are flaky and tender with a luscious lemony flavor from grated lemon zest - not only in the dough but also mixed with sugar and sprinkled on top before baking.

They are indeed perfect with a cup of tea - especially my favorite green tea with lemon.  

I added chopped dried apricots and dried cherries as I had them on hand.  Since my dried cherries were not brand new and soft, I plumped them in a splash of Kirsch liqueur before baking. I think dried blueberries would be delicious in this recipe too!

Even my husband, who is not a fan of dried fruit in bakery, loved these.

And did I mention the sugary, lemon-zest topping? So good!

So bring on the baking and bring on the light - we need it!

Cream Scones with Lemon

Makes 12 Scones

Note: I like to use organic lemons when I need lemon zest to avoid any pesticide residue.

2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dried cherries (plumped in enough Kirsch to cover)
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
2 teaspoons or so of grated lemon peel, divided (from 2 large, organic lemons)
1 cup heavy whipping cream (8 oz container)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

If your dried cherries are no longer soft, plump them in a small cup with enough Kirsch liqueur (Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Amaretto will also work) to cover. Place another cup on top of cherries submerge them. Allow to 'plump' for about 15 minutes or so and then drain. Squeeze dry with paper toweling.

Mix flour, the 1/4 cup of sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Stir in apricots, cherries and 1 teaspoon lemon zest. Add whipping cream and stir just until dough forms. If necessary, add another tablespoon or so of milk if your dough is still too dry but don't get the dough too wet. Kneed dough gently on a lightly floured surface, just until dough holds together. Form the dough into a 10-inch circle, 1/2 inch-thick or so. Cut into 12 wedges with a clean knife dipped in cold water. 

Transfer wedges onto a large baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon lemon peel in small bowl. Brush scones with melted butter and sprinkle with the sugar mixture.

Bake scones in the preheated oven until light golden brown, about 15-25 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool slightly. Serve scones warm or at room temperature. May be made a day ahead and wrapped in foil.

Adapted from Bon Appetit, 1996

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Soup's On!

It was a very chilly week here in SE Wisconsin last week! From what I've heard, much of the U.S. had below normal temperatures with ice and snow.  

Since there is nothing like a hot bowl of soup to warm you on a cold, winter evening, I thought it would be fun to look back at my most viewed soup recipes. Perhaps you might find one or two that you'd like to try!

Chicken Vegetable Soup with Caraway Gnocchi was #10 with 3,090 views.

Tomato Soup with Cheesy Polenta Garnish (think of your childhood tomato soup and grilled cheese) is #9 with 3,208 views. 

Proven├žal Vegetable Soup, garnished with a dollop of pesto, is 8th with 3,391 page views. 

In 7th spot, this Cauliflower Soup with Parmesan Croutons has received 3,608 looks.  

6th place goes to Minestrone Soup with ditalini pasta.  This post has had 4,181 looks so far.

In 5th position is this very healthy Green "Love" Soup made from a delicious variety of greens and spices,  It has 4,798 page views.

In 4th place is one of my personal favorites, Spinach Pasta e Fagioli Soup.  This great recipe, given to us by friends, years ago, has had 4,894 page views.  

My 3rd most viewed recipe is for the hearty Lentil Soup with Ham and Kale. with 6,633 views. I don't know about you, but I love lentil soups, especially with smoky meat like ham.  However, you could make this a great vegetarian meal and leave out the meat too.  The kale adds beautiful color and added nutrition.

My second, all time most viewed soup recipe is Wonton Soup with Noodles and Baby Bok Choy.  12,924 views!  Not only nutritious and delicious but so pretty too.  One of those soups that you eye with your eyes first but there won't be a drop left in the bowl.  

And then in first place....

With a whopping 55,305 page views, my #1 viewed soup recipe is this Navy Bean Soup made with Leftover Ham.  There is nothing like a hearty ham and bean soup to warm you when the temperatures dip! 

The other thing that helps us get through winter is seeing a new movie now and then.  I just wanted to give 2 thumbs up to La La Land! My husband and I just saw it last night. The music is wonderful! Thankfully, my husband is a music 'geek' and was in the orchestra pit with his string bass for many high school musicals :) The composer, Justin Hurwitz, is a native of Milwaukee and went to high school here!  Great job, Justin! We loved it.