Thursday, July 28, 2011

Nectarine and Blueberry Scones with a Honey Butter Glaze

This month of new home demolition is crazy as ever, but we are beginning to see the progress, which is so encouraging! I'm so very excited to finally move in! Hopefully it will be next month! For now, we are busy bees getting everything ready that we can. And the best part, we are finally free of those scorching hot days!

This month's What's Baking Challenge was to Bake Local, hosted by Lindsey of Our Share of the Harvest. I'm a big fan of using local foods and supporting local businesses so this was right up my alley! I stopped by two farmer's markets and a roadside stand to get my booty for this fun recipe.
My favorite farmer's market purchase was definitely the raw fall honey. It's so different than the honey you buy at a store and it's healthier for you too! I also scored some yummy nectarines and blueberries.

I have a little funny story related here. I was planning to make a stone fruit crostata with my local bought produce for this month's challenge. I started making my normal go-to Lidia Matticchio Bastianich's recipe and, much to my dismay, the dough was not forming at all! It never harden, just stayed liquid. Yuck! I ended up throwing it away. My confidence was starting to get shaken, but I figured I have to try again anyway. So I went for attempt #2, which started out better, but the end product was still lacking. I couldn't figure it out. Why was my dough behaving so funny? The humidity in the kitchen? My ingredients were not chilled enough? Should I have used a different utensil to mix? I was truly baffled by these events!
So I let the dough chill in the fridge overnight, as per the directions. In the morning, it was none the better. I was unable to roll it out, only press it into a disc with my palms to flatten. But I had to try to bake it at this point just to see what would happen. So I threw together my fruit filling and laid in on top and rolled it all up. Finally, it looked pretty good, despite my earlier issues. I popped it in to bake hoping it would turn out well. I left the kitchen for barely a minute or two, then came back to check on it to find.... that the dough had melted! Yes, that's right, melted! Literally. It ran down the parchment, over the pan, off the sides and onto the oven floor where it had already puddled. The best part? The puddle was on FIRE! Needless to say, I was done baking that day... Well, the end of my story is that I cleaned it up and decided to make scones. I am using my mother's kitchen since we are in the middle of moving, and discovered that when I thought I was using flour, the whole time I was using confectioner's sugar!!! My mom keeps them in these large upright Tupperware containers. And I know the spot the flour lives, but apparently she switched up their order in the closet. I can't believe I didn't notice it earlier, but at least I found out why! I guess we need to purchase some labels for our containers... Thanks for listening to my crazy story and now if you are still reading this enjoy these scones! They are so sweet and full of fresh fruit; hmmm... breakfast or dessert?

3/4 cup diced nectarines, peel on
3/4 cup blueberries
4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon nutmeg, divided
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 cup cold heavy cream, plus additional for brushing
1/3 cup honey
1/4 butter

1. Mix all the wet ingredients together in the bowl of a stand mixer.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.

3. Slowly add the flour into the wet mixture, stirring periodically. This dough will be quite stiff.

4. Turn the dough onto a well floured surface and knead with floured hands for a minute a two.

5. Flatten your dough slightly and press all your frozen fruits into the dough. Continue to knead for another minute or two to spread the fruit evenly through your dough.

6. Using your hands, shape the dough into a large, flattened circle. Using a floured knife cut the dough in half to form two half moons. Then cut each each half moon in thirds resulting in a total of six wedge shaped scones.

7. Now you can either place a few on a parchment lined baking sheet or you can freeze them for later use. To freeze, simply place scones on a baking sheet in freezer just long enough to harden, then transfer into freezer bags. Defrost and brush with cream when you are ready to bake them at a later date. To bake, brush them with a few tablespoons of heavy cream and place them in a 425 degree oven for about 24-26 minutes.

8. While the scones are baking away in the oven, put the honey and butter in a glass measuring cup in the microwave for 90 seconds (a minute and a half) on high, stirring once halfway through.

9. When scones are cooling, brush them with honey butter and let sit for 20 minutes then brush them again. This helps them to stay fresh for up to 4 days. It's a natural (and very sweet) replacement for preservatives!


Source: Adapted from 5 Second Rule and Baking and Books

Also featured on: Made From Scratch Tuesday, Works for me Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday, Ultimate Recipe Swap

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Guest Post- Cappuccino Chocolate Chip Muffin (My Tasty Journey)

Good morning all! I'm excited to feature my first ever, guest blog post by the lovely and talented Donna, from My Tasty Journey. Donna is a yoga obssessive fellow Jersey girl and an avid foodie and travel-crazy blogger. She very generously volunteered to make quite a few dozen of these yummy cappuccino chocolate chip muffins for the Great American bake sale I hosted back in May. And they were one of the hits of the day! Hope you enjoy her and her scrumptious baked goods.

Hi everyone! My name is Donna and I blog over at My Tasty Amanda had asked me to share a recipe I had made for her Share our Strength bake sale a couple months ago. I ADORE this recipe for bake sales because you can double/triple the recipe EASILY, PLUS it has enough flavors to not need any frosting. No frosting = No mess = Travels well! Not to mention, they really couldn't be simpler!

First, you gather up the usual suspects:

Cappuccino Chocolate Chip Muffins

~1 package (18 1/4 oz.) vanilla cake mix
~1 package (3.4 oz.) vanilla pudding mix
~2 teaspoons instant espresso
~1/4 cup boiling water
~1 cup milk
~1/2 cup canola oil
~4 eggs
~2 cups mini chocolate chips

1.- Combine the espresso & boiling water and stir until nearly dissolved. (It doesn't have to dissolve completely. I've never had a problem with coffee grinds in my cupcakes) Allow to cool slightly.

.- Next, combine the cake mix, pudding powder, eggs, milk and oil in a mixer and blend on medium speed until combined.

3.- Once everything is combined, turn your mixer to low and slowly pour in the slightly cooled coffee mixture.

4.-Beat for 3 minutes until all of the ingredients have blended completely.

.- Fold in the food of the gods. I mean, the chocolate chips!

...and try not to sneak too many bites of the batter. This bowl smells HEAVENLY, I promise!

6.- Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into lined cupcake trays. (not too much, these babies GROW!)

7.- Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 18-20 minutes or until the "toothpick test" proves they are done!

And WALLAH! Done! Each recipes yields about 2 1/2 dozen, so it's pretty simple to make a HUGE batch in a short amount of time. Try these out if you love coffee & quick recipes



Please feel free to stop over and visit Donna at her blog. She features everything from workout information and healthy eats, to sweet snacks and travel finds, both local and abroad. Her warm amicable spirit flows through her writing and her food leaves you happy and healthy!

Also featured on: Tasty Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Made From Scratch Tuesday, Works for Me Wednesday, What's Cooking Wednesday

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

White Chocolate Raspberry Cookies

So far summer has been full of fun, change, and busy days. The humidity has been unfortunately high, but there are also days where the heat breaks and it's just beautiful! However, our past few days have looked something like this.....

Oh, the joys of moving! More packing and less posting this month, but it will be all worth in the end, once we are fully moved in and settled in our home! It won't be for awhile, but we are making due in the process.

While all the hectic moving and construction goes on, I still managed to squeeze in some baking time this week. I made these cookies for my hubby's co-workers who were super helpful and gracious to my husband. We thanked them with these cookies, and some other treats which will be coming over the next week. Good thing I did my baking this past week, because the heat index is continually climbing. Also, tomorrow I will be featuring my first guest post so stay tuned for scrumptious cappuccino chocolate chip muffins from Donna at My Tasty Journey! Now back to the cookies...

White Chocolate Raspberry Cookies:

8 oz butter (2 sticks), softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk (7 oz)
2 cups self-rising flour
7 oz white chocolate chips or chopped pieces
1 pint raspberries

1. Cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until well blended.

2. Add the sweetened condensed milk and continue to mix.

3. Sift in the flour slowly, while mixing it into the dough with your hands.

4. Stir in the white chocolate.

5. Take small pieces of dough and flatten it into a disk with your fingers.

6. Place one or two raspberries into the middle and fold up and over.

7. Bake on parchment lined baking sheets in a 350 degree oven for about 12-15 minutes. Rotate baking sheets halfway through bake time.

8. Allow cookies to set on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes while cooling, then transfer to wire racks to fully cool.

Source: Phil Vickery from

Also featured on: Mangia Monday, Mouthwatering Monday, Made From Scratch Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday