A Scone Redo: Ginger-Cardamom Scones with Cocoa Nib Chocolate

A few years ago, I came up with these ginger-cardamom scones with cacao nibs that my kids loved. Now, cocoa nibs are kind of expensive to buy already shelled from cocoa beans (though if I see a bag of cocoa nibs at Costco or Sam’s Club, I will probably buy them!) so instead of trying to shell cocoa beans myself, I buy chocolate bars with cocoa nibs in them and use those instead. All I have to do is chop up the chocolate bars and use the chunks. So it is almost like using cocoa nibs, right?

I also reworked the previous recipe a little bit: first, by doubling it, so that everyone in our family of 8 could have at least 2 scones, then by reducing the butter, so that I wouldn’t have to cut 2 tablespoons off a second stick of butter to make 16 scones. I’m trying to save a little money. Ok, maybe I’m really just trying to save myself a few seconds.

I also used salted butter in this recipe because it was all the butter I had left. I was out of unsalted butter and hadn’t had a chance to go buy more. Normally, unsalted butter is what I would use.

I currently use Godiva chocolate with cocoa nibs because we live right by an outlet mall with a Godiva outlet. And Josh was able to pick up a 10 pack of these chocolate bars for me from there for about $2.50 each. That’s about what I’d pay for good chocolate bars from the grocery store so I thought it was a good deal. I do use them sparingly though so I don’t go through all 10 bars too fast.

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Pomegranate Syrup

In November, I wrote a blog post about making pomegranate jelly. I gave a small jar of that jelly to a neighbor who invited us to their party. The neighbor has a friend with a pomegranate tree that produces a lot of fruit that they weren’t using. Our neighbor knows that we love pomegranates so he bagged up a bunch of them for us!

I had already made enough jelly for the year so I wanted to do something different with this batch of fruit. After quite a bit of thought I decided to make pomegranate syrup. I figured this would be something that could be used for multiple different applications.

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Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Maple Icing and Candied Pecans

This bundt cake had a lot of steps to it, but it was worth it! I had some pumpkin left over from a pumpkin cheesecake that I made for Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, that cheesecake ended up being a bit of a wash because it was underbaked. It would have ended up on the blog as a recipe, but it needs a little more work. I don’t think my family will mind. That just means they get to eat more cheesecake!

In a hurry? Jump down to the recipe here!

I did decide to go with a cheesecake filling for the pumpkin bundt cake. And this time I made sure it was baked all the way through!

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Creamy Cheesecake with Blueberry Jam Topping

When Josh made his blueberry jam, he asked me if I could make a cheesecake to go with it. I don’t remember the last time I made a cheesecake, but fortunately, I have a favorite recipe.

[recipe]
[recipe title=”Creamy Cheesecake with Blueberry Jam Topping” servings=”8-12″ description=”Rich and creamy cheesecake topped with homemade blueberry jam and whipped cream.]
[recipe-notes] This cheesecake tastes best after sitting in the fridge overnight. Make sure to plan ahead if possible![/recipe-notes]
[recipe-ingredients]
Crust:

  • 9 sheets graham crackers
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup butter, melted

Cheesecake Filling:

  • 3 packages cream cheese (8 oz. each), softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2¼ teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon lemon extract

Topping:
½ cup to 1 cup blueberry jam, homemade or storebought
[/recipe-ingredients]
[recipe-directions]
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Line the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan with a circle of parchment paper.

Pulse the graham crackers in a food chopper or food processor until they are fine crumbs. In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, tablespoon of sugar, and the melted butter. Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of the 8 inch springform pan.

Refrigerate the crust for 15 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl, then add the sugar mixture to the cream cheese. Beat the sugar mixture into the cream cheese. Add the eggs and beat on low speed just until combined. Add the cream, vanilla, and lemon extract and beat again until just combined. Pour into the refrigerated crust.

Place an 8 in by 10 in baking pan with high sides in the oven on a rack below where the cheesecake will bake. Boil a liter of water in either an electric kettle or in the microwave. Carefully pour the hot water into the baking pan in the oven. This will be your “water bath.”

Place the cheesecake in the oven directly on the rack above the water bath and bake for 40-50 minutes, until the cheesecake is set at least 2 inches from the edges. Take the cheesecake out of the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, carefully run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen, then cool for 1 hour more. Your cheesecake top may crack but the blueberry jam topping will cover. Refrigerate the cheesecake overnight.

Remove the sides of the pan and transfer the cheesecake to a serving plate. Top cheesecake with blueberry jam and serve slices with whipped cream.

[/recipe-directions]

[/recipe]

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Homemade Blueberry Jam

I think Lynn has decided since I successfully made pomegranate jelly twice that I can now make any kind of jelly or jam. One of her favorites that we have bought at two different small stands is blueberry jam.

One of our local grocery stores had blueberries on sale for $.97 for 6 ounces. I was given the instructions to buy blueberries and make a batch of jam with them.

I had a hard time finding a recipe to use to make this jam. Most of the recipes I found were for freezer jams. I saw a few that did not use pectin. I finally decided to use a slightly modified recipe from a book called Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round. It is a great resource for the beginner canner.

First I measured my spices and put them in little bowls. I wanted to make sure I would have everything prepared so I wouldn’t overcook the jam while measuring those things out. Also it reminds me of cooking shows on TV where they always have all the herbs and spices measured out and sitting on the counter.

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