Tag Archives: Kitchen Experiments

Is It Dessert or Is It Breakfast?

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If this pumpkin Bundt cake turned out, there will be a recipe up in the next few days!

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Scones

I have a confession to make: I use our blog as a place to store recipes! So I often refer back to my old posts to bake a certain flavor of scones or figure out a macaron recipe. Sometimes, a post will just be a reference for me so that I can find a recipe again. That is likely what this post will be. Perhaps later, I will be able to improve on these scones to really make them pop. I am thinking maybe some cinnamon chips or a cinnamon brown sugar filling.

There is nothing very spectacular about these cinnamon scones, but they are definitely yummy if you like cinnamon! I baked these for an order but wanted to have two types with glaze and two types without glaze. Sadly, these cinnamon-y scones ended up being the unglazed ones. I think they could be brought up a notch with some vanilla glaze though!

I have been baking scones a LOT lately, but that is okay. I’ve been baking different flavors of scones and I am getting to where I can probably start making the basic scone recipe from memory!

I do plan on making July macaron practice month though if I can. So expect a lot of macaron recipes at that time… if I can get my macarons back to where they were before the new oven that is!

cinnamon scones

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Scones

  • Servings: 16 servings
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Vanilla glaze

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3-5 tsp milk/water
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl; flour, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter to coat pieces with flour. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center of the bowl and pour in the heavy cream and vanilla extract. Fold everything together just to incorporate as much of the flour as possible; do not overwork. When you have shreds of dough, pour the dough out onto a floured surface and finishing working the dough into a ball there.

Pat the dough out into a rectangle. Using a bench knife, cut the dough rectangle in half, then each half in half. Cut down the middle to form 8 squares and then cut each square on the diagonal to form 16 triangles.

Transfer each triangle to a baking sheet covered in parchment paper, leaving an inch or two of space between each wedge. Bake for 12-17 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Cool completely before drizzling with glaze.

Stir together the powdered sugar, milk/water, and vanilla to make the glaze. Add a teaspoon of milk/water at a time until the glaze is desired consistency. Drizzle over the cooled scones.

Lemon Scones

I have been sadly absent from the blog the past month! Many, many thanks to my hubby, Josh, for keeping the blog going. I mentioned at the beginning of May that three of our kids have birthdays in May (plus there is Mother’s Day to think about) so I was concentrating on those things as well as a big model rocket launching birthday party we had out in the desert on May 13th. That was definitely one of the more unconventional birthday parties we’ve done!

As Josh said, we have an overabundance of lemons coming from our lemon tree. And that means finding ways to use them other than in lemonade or lemon curd, although lemon curd is definitely something I want to make!

I had been wanting to make blueberry cheesecake scones for a while, but then I realized that they would be even better with lemon added as an extra layer of flavor. I also nailed down my recipe for lemon poppy seed scones. I had never actually written it down in recipe form.

So here are two new scone recipes for you all!

Let’s start with the lemon blueberry cheesecake scones. The most difficult part of making these scones is… how do you get the cheesecake part in? These aren’t the prettiest scones in the world, and I actually thought they tasted just okay. But… I’m not the most reliable taste tester right now as nothing really tastes good to me! So I have to depend on what my family tells me. Josh said these were yummy and I should post about them! They probably could have used some glaze just to make them look prettier but I don’t think the glaze would have added anything in flavor since the cheesecake filling was there to add a punch of lemon.

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The cheesecake filling was just 8 ounces of cream cheese, 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice, and 1/2 cup of sugar beaten together until smooth. The filling was too much for one batch of blueberry scones so I ended up making two batches. I attempted to keep the filling from oozing out of the scones too much by patting the each batch of scone dough out into a rectangle, spreading half of the filling over the rectangle, and then folding the dough in a gate fold like you would with paper

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Then, I sealed up all the open edges as best I could. Mostly, the sealing is to prevent the filling from coming out while patting the dough out again and then cutting the dough into wedges. One batch made 16 small scones.

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Scones

You can easily double all the ingredients to make 32 scones if you want to use a whole brick of cream cheese.

Ingredients

Scones

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream + juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries, soaked in water and drained
  • 1- 2 Tablespoons heavy cream for brushing tops of scones
  • Coarse white sugar, optional

Cheesecake filling

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

If possible, rub the lemon zest into the sugar before adding the sugar to the dry ingredients.

Sift together dry ingredients; flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and lemon zest. Using pastry blender, cut in the butter to coat pieces with flour. Mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Make well in center and pour in heavy cream and lemon juice. Fold everything together; do not overwork. Fold in the dried blueberries until you have what looks like shreds of dough.

To make the cheesecake filling, use a hand mixer to beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and lemon juice in a small bowl until smooth.

Pour the dough out onto a floured surface and knead the dough gently as if you were making pie crust, until the dough comes together to form a smooth ball. Pat the dough out into a rectangle. Using a spatula, spread the cheesecake filling over the rectangle, leaving some room at the edges for sealing. Fold the dough in a gate fold and pinch or fold over the edges to seal. Don’t forget to seal the middle where the folds meet. You will now have a square of dough. Carefully pat the square out into a rectangle again and using a bench knife, cut the rectangle in half. Cut each half in half again, then cut down the middle of the rectangle so that you have 8 squares. Cut each square on the diagonal to get 16 triangles.

Using the bench knife, transfer each wedge to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure there is an inch or two separating each wedge. Brush the tops of the scones with heavy cream and sprinkle sugar on the scones if desired. Bake for 12-17 minutes on the middle rack or until golden brown. Allow scones to cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

The lemon poppyseed scones are pretty straightforward so I will just post the recipe. I will note that instead of drizzling the glaze on, I brushed it on so that each scone was covered evenly in the glaze.

lemon poppyseed scones.jpg

Lemon Poppy Seed Scones

Ingredients

Scones

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream + 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1- 2 Tablespoons heavy cream for brushing tops of scones

 

Lemon glaze

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon water or milk, until desired consistency

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

If possible, rub the lemon zest into the sugar before adding the sugar to the dry ingredients.

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

When you have what looks like shreds of dough (almost like when you are working with pie crust), pour the dough out onto a floured surface and finish kneading it there until the dough comes together and forms a smooth ball. Pat the dough out into a rectangle and using a bench knife, cut the rectangle in half so that you have two squares. Cut each square in half, then cut down the middle of the rectangle so that you now have eight squares.  Cut each square on the diagonal to get 16 triangles.

Using the bench knife, transfer each wedge to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, making sure there is an inch or two separating each wedge. Brush the tops of the scones with heavy cream. Sprinkle with coarse sugar if desired.

Bake the scones for 12-17 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on the baking sheets for 2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Allow scones to cool completely before brushing with glaze.

To make the glaze, stir together the powdered sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl. Add water or milk and continue stirring until desired consistency. Brush the glaze onto the cooled scones.

I know that finishing the dough on a floured surface does add one step to the usual scone method, but this extra step helps me very much not to overwork the dough. It usually only takes 5-10 kneads before the dough comes together, smooths out, and forms a ball.

Also, baking time is very important! 2-3 minutes makes a big difference between a moist scone and a dry scone! Once the scones are golden on the edges and still pale on top, they only need about 2 more minutes to be perfect. There is also the burnt scone! Which I have done before.

 

Dual Macaron Fail

In mid-January, Josh bought me a new oven, and I LOVE it. A few weeks ago though, I tried to bake macarons in it for the first time, and they didn’t turn out! Needless to say, I was very disappointed and set out to figure out what I was doing wrong.

Originally, my posts about these two macarons were going to be recipe posts, but since the macarons did not turn out right, well, you will get some pictures of failed macarons instead!

Josh has been wanting me to make lavender macarons for a while, and I even bought lavender flavoring a long time ago in preparation for this. I was too scared to use a full teaspoon of flavoring so I reduced my lavender flavoring to 1/2 teaspoon.

I bought my lavender flavoring from Beanilla.com. You can find it here.

I also tried out two macaron mats from Williams-Sonoma. These saved me a lot of time, but I’m not quite sure if they are going to work for me. I will mention later what I think I need to do, but it will require more experimentation.

lavendermac2

I did add food coloring to make the macaron shells purple, but as usual, the color “fades” out after baking.

lavendermac1

My first mistake with the lavender macarons: I think I overmixed the batter. Usually, I can tell when I need to stop, but this time I mixed a lot longer than I usually do.  I didn’t end up with any hats this time after piping them out, but the texture was all wrong after the macarons baked.

lavendermac3

My second mistake: Baking on the wrong rack.  I baked my first batch on the top rack of my oven. Oops! That was a bad idea and I ended up with a small triangle of macarons that looked okay, but the macarons on the outer edges looked like mini-volcanoes!

lavendermac4

My second tray of macarons turned out looking better, but they almost seemed overbaked after the recipe bake time of 12 minutes total. So that would be mistake number three. Their feet also weren’t quite level. On this second tray, I changed my oven setting to convection (we splurged and paid $100 extra for true convection, which means there is a heating element by the fan) and baked the tray on the middle rack.

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I had been wanting to make Italian meringue buttercream for a macaron filling for a while, so even though these macarons didn’t turn out right, I went ahead and made the Italian meringue buttercream anyway.

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Sadly, my son Matthias is not a fan of marshmallow, and this is basically a homemade marshmallow cream. So he didn’t really like these macarons.

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It was a surprise to me that these “volcano” macarons tasted better than the traditionally-shaped macarons. In fact, these were all eaten up first. I think my kids saw these as a novelty. They had fun eating them!

lavendermac8

These macarons almost looked pretty (and you can tell that the purple faded out of the shell), but they were a tad too crispy for me, even with a day or two in the fridge after being filled. The flavor was fine though, which was a relief. I didn’t want the lavender flavor to be overpowering. One picture I forgot to take was of the inside of the macaron. Even though it looks pink outside, it was purple inside!  If I have another chance to experiment with these, I will definitely need to add more food coloring and reduce my bake time by 2 minutes.

My second attempt was actually a few days after I made the lavender macarons. I wanted to make double chocolate macarons for the refreshment reception after my son Corran’s band concert, but after a frustrating afternoon of lopsided macaron shells, I had to give up and make chocolate chip cookies instead, along with a lemon drizzle traybake from one of Mary Berry’s books… which will hopefully be a post soon!

chocolatemac1

This time, I mixed the batter until I felt it was enough (and did the V-test with my spatula) and ended up with my little hats again. I think I need to practice until I get no hats. But in the meantime, little hats are good because it means I didn’t overmix the batter.

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These are the only macaron shells I got that had level feet. These were baked on parchment paper in a quarter sheet pan. I wrote earlier that I need to experiment more with my new macaron mats.  All of my lopsided macarons were baked on those two mats, so I am wondering if I need to put the mats on a rimmed sheet pan like this one from Williams-Sonoma, instead of on a large cookie sheet.

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Lopsided macaron shells that were baked on the new macaron mats on a large cookie sheet

I also reduced my bake time by 1 minute each rotation. So I baked these macarons at 325 degrees F using the convection setting, on the middle rack, for 5 minutes. Then, I would rotate the pan and bake for another 5 minutes.

This method produced macarons with a texture closer to what I was expecting. Once I gave up on making them for the reception, I decided to let my family have these lopsided ones. I filled them with a chocolate glaze (from a batch of eclairs I made last week… yet another thing I need to practice: choux pastry!) and also the Italian meringue buttercream that I used for the lavender macarons.

The chocolate-filled ones were more popular than the buttercream-filled ones, so I will have to remember that for next time!

We just finished eating the macarons today, so that means I can start prepping for another go at them soon. I’m not sure when that will be, but hopefully before the end of the month!

Thanks for reading!

Lynn

 

 

 

Pi Day Pie: Chocolate Truffle Pie in a Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust

Since today is 3/14, of course I had to make a pie for pi day. I mulled over a few pies before I started on one. Lemon meringue? Chocolate custard tart? Does a tart count as a pie? Shepherd’s pie?

Well, I had leftover chocolate chip cookie dough in the fridge… and realized that maybe I could use that as a pie crust! So next I needed an easy filling. There is a pie my sister-in-law makes that is yummy and chocolatey called chocolate truffle pie.

I won’t say much about actually making this pie since it is just to celebrate pi and math in general. If you’d like the recipes, they are at the following links.

Chocolate Truffle Pie

Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

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This is the cookie crust before I baked it. It looks just like a giant cookie.

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This crust looked so yummy after baking that I had a hard time resisting eating it! The dough puffed up a little in the middle so I tamped it down a little. It looks like I didn’t need to since the filling didn’t fill this pie pan up as much as I thought it would.

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This is how you try to do props for food photography (or the sad attempt) when you have kids, are homeschooling them, and just fed them lunch. Some day, I will learn to take decent pictures of my baking. Someday!

In the meantime, I hope everyone had a lovely pi day!

-Lynn

P.S. I have no idea if the cookie crust worked out. We won’t find out until after dinner!

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