Ginger-Cardamom Scones with Cacao Nibs

 

 

My parents like to travel a lot. Sometimes because of my dad’s job and sometimes to see new places. They like to bring me different types of food from these places. Recently, they brought me roasted cocoa beans from Belize. I wasn’t sure what to do with unshelled cocoa beans, so they have been sitting in my pantry while I figure that out.

I do know that my second boy loves eating these. They are so full of caffeine though that he acts completely not like himself when he has some!

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Cocoa beans are a pain to shell by hand!

 

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This is a cocoa bean after I took a rolling pin to it. That didn’t work too well. I hit it a little too hard! Tapping the bean very lightly with the rolling pin ended up being the easiest way to crack the shell and gain access to the nib inside.

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After about 30 minutes, I only had a little less than a 1/4 cup of cacao nibs. That turned out to be plenty for 8 scones. In fact, I probably should have tried to make these nibs even smaller.

I used my usual scone recipe and just added 1/2 teaspoon of ginger, 1/4 teaspoon of cardamom, 1/4 cup candied ginger, and the cacao nibs.

Ginger-Cardamom Scones with Cacao Nibs

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 cup of cacao nibs
  • 1/4 cup candied ginger

Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp extract of choice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Sift together dry ingredients; flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, ginger, and cardamom. Using pastry blender, cut in the butter to coat pieces with flour. Mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Add in the cacao nibs. Make well in center and pour in heavy cream. Fold everything together; do not overwork.

Press dough out on lightly floured surface into a circle about 8 inches in diameter. Cut circle into 8 wedges. Place scones on ungreased cookie sheet, top with candied ginger, and brush with heavy cream. Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Let scones cool before using glaze.

Glaze Directions:

Mix milk and sugar together for glaze. Add extract and butter. Melt in microwave 30 seconds on high. Whisk glaze until there are no more lumps, then drizzle over scones.

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Unbaked ginger-cardamom scone.
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The scone after baking. The candied ginger disappeared into the dough. I think the quality of my candied ginger wasn’t very good; I will use a better kind next time.

I have learned that scones just look better with a glaze on them! Not all of them need the glaze. In fact, this one probably would have done better without it. I will give it a try without glaze next time. I think this recipe still needs a little work. The ginger flavor could be more pronounced, as well as the cardamom. They must still have been good, because my kids were more excited about these than the lemon poppyseed scones I made at the same time!

-Lynn

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Arizona Thanksgiving Vacation: Part 1

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving this past week! I have not posted anything in the past week because we have been on vacation in Arizona! We got back on Wednesday.

We haven’t been on a week-long vacation like that in about 3 years, so we tried to cram as much as we could into it. My mother-in-law rented a house for all of us – all of us being Josh, our 5 kids, me, Josh’s sister, her husband, their 4 kids, my MIL, and my FIL – to stay in in the Flagstaff area until Sunday. It was a gorgeous house with enough space for everybody. When we were at the house and not out and about, we never saw the kids. They were downstairs playing in the game room.

I was not able to get any pics of the house we stayed in from the outside but here is the link to the rental listing on VRBO.

5 bedroom vacation rental in Flagstaff

Our 3 oldest boys went with my MIL and FIL and 2 of their cousins early last week to the vacation rental. Josh and I followed with our 2  youngest on Wednesday.  My sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and their twins were about 4 hours behind us on Wednesday.

Our 2 youngest were so good on the long trip – about 7 hours. We left Southern California around noon and arrived in Flagstaff around 8 PM Arizona time. I didn’t get many good pictures during the drive there. Also, I didn’t realize how dirty our windows are!

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Sunset during our drive through the Arizona desert

The first thing we noticed when we got there was how COLD it was! It was probably 20 degrees outside! Fortunately, the house had a heater that worked great. I know I am a big wimp when it comes to the cold. I’m too much of a California girl.

For Thanksgiving breakfast/brunch the next morning, we had a Star Wars breakfast. The Yoda pancakes turned out looking more like puppies! There were also Chewbacca hashbrowns but I wasn’t able to get pictures of those. There isn’t much opportunity for pictures when feeding 9 children!

I also got zero pictures of Thanksgiving dinner, but it tasted great. We had our Thanksgiving dinner around 5, which actually made for a really relaxing time for my MIL, my SIL, and me. We weren’t rushing to get the food done by noon.

I was able to make my SIL’s incredible chocolate truffle pie.  Here is a link to the recipe she uses: Rich Chocolate Truffle Pie


Our sightseeing adventures would take up too much of this post so I will write about those separately. We also visited a few restaurants so I will probably post about those as well.

The day after we got home I was planning on staying out of the kitchen and not baking. After all, we had just spent a week on vacation and most of it we had spent eating too much food. But of course, I couldn’t stay out of the kitchen. So I ended up making lemon-cardamom cream cheese muffins.

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The original recipe is from Your Homebased Mom. I changed it quite a bit though so I’m going to go ahead and rewrite it for this post.

To me, cardamom is a strong spice, so I only used 1/4 teaspoon of it in the batter.

Lemon-Cardamom Cream Cheese Muffins

  • Servings: 12 muffins
  • Print

Ingredients:

Batter:

  • 3 Cups flour
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2/3 Cup milk
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 Cup vegetable oil
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 Cup sugar

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 Cup butter, softened

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius). Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Combine 1 cup of sugar and the zest of the lemon in a large bowl. Rub the zest into the sugar with your fingers. Mix in the flour, baking powder, salt, and cardamom.

In a medium bowl, stir together the milk, oil, eggs, and the juice of half a lemon. Stir the milk and egg mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened.

Using a mixer, beat together the cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until creamy. Gently mix half of the cream cheese mixture into the muffin batter.

Fill the muffin tins 1/2 to 2/3 full with the muffin batter. Spoon the remaining cream cheese mixture onto the muffins and press the mixture into each muffin with the back of a spoon.

For the streusel topping, combine the flour and sugar together. Cut the 1/4 cup butter into the flour mixture. Sprinkle the topping over each muffin.

Bake 24 to 30 minutes until golden brown.

A few notes:

Yes, it’s yet another lemon recipe!

These muffins baked up quite high for me. In fact, I ended up filling my muffin tins very close to the top, which is why they baked up so high. My kids loved the muffin tops though so this worked out well. Next time, I will use two muffin tins and see how that works with the rise.

My cream cheese filling ended up staying on top of the muffin instead of falling into the middle. I’m not sure why but I know my kids did not mind this. I think this might be part of the reason that they liked the tops of these muffins best.

 

I did reduce the sugar in the cream cheese filling and the streusel. I probably could have reduced it even more but I did want my kids to eat them. I might try to use a stevia/sugar blend in the batter next time I make these.

I added a splash of vanilla extract during the wet mixture process. Probably about a 1/2 teaspoon. Since I did not measure it, I didn’t want to add it to the recipe.