Archive | October, 2012

Pumpkin Scones

23 Oct

Here’s where I confess that I have an addiction to Starbucks. I’m not a coffee drinker….ew. Just tea. The thing about Starbucks is that going in there just makes me happy! They make your drink exactly how you want it; you get a killer speech workout ordering your drink, free wifi, yummy and healthy food options and there are free apps and music downloads for the taking.

So what does this have to do with anything aside from confessing to one of my weaknesses (along with Timbits, chocolate covered pretzels and men with pretty singing voices) ?

Starbucks always has decadent treats on display. Naturally. However, I can’t bring myself to buy them. Why? Because I’ve always had the idea that if you want to treat yourself to something, make it yourself. That’s what keeps you from taking a treat for granted and indulging too often if it’s so easily accessible. (Unless it’s a Timbit; I make exceptions…)

The pumpkin scones on display drive me crazy.

I made my own pumpkin scones: a treat that tastes much better when you made it yourself and know exactly what went into it (including love and lots of excitement).

They’re actually a little too easy to make. You may find that realizing this will lead to making them too often. Don’t worry. This is a common occurrence and there may even be some local support groups for people like you (and me).

Happy baking!

Pumpkin Scones

adapted from here

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
7 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tsp pumpkin spice (or as much as you like. I’m a big fan so I use lots)
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
3 Tablespoons half & half
1 egg
6 Tablespoons cold butter, cubed

Glaze:
1 cup + 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar

Dash of cinnamon

2 Tablespoons half & half

Preheat oven to 425 degrees then line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In the bowl of a large food processor (or in a large bowl) combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Pulse or whisk to combine. Add cold butter and pulse until well incorporated and mixture is the texture of cornmeal. Alternatively, use your fingertips or a pastry butter to blend butter in.

In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, half & half, and egg. Add to flour mixture and pulse until just combined. Alternatively, stir until the dough comes together in a ball. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead 4 or 5 times to bring the dough together, then flatten into a circle 1″ thick. Cut the dough in half, then cut each half into thirds.
Place the wedges onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 14-16 minutes, or until just starting to turn golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

When scones are cool, whisk together the glaze ingredients, then drizzle on top. Store in an air-tight container for 1 day.

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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Squares

23 Oct

You know what really sucks? Disappointment. It’s not the end of the world of course. It’s not the worst thing. But when someone says to you “I’m sorry miss, we don’t carry that brand of hair product anymore.” (It’s not like I considered it liquid gold or anything, no biggie. I’m not freaking out right now and drowning my sorrows in a giant bowl of sweet and salty popcorn).

When you’re waiting to meet the guy your friends set you up with who comes highly recommended and then you see him in real life…

That, my friends, is disappointment. It just plain sucks.

I find that baking leads to disappointment sometimes…you try out a new recipe..it sounds good….you start to imagine what it’ll look like in your head…

I had GREAT expectations for this recipe. For some reason, I was hoping it would turn out like a moist oatmeal cookie except in bar form. I should have known better.

Don’t get me wrong, the outcome was more than delicious. I ate more than what I should have…these squares are moist and and perfect for a breakfast or midday snack if you’re looking for a chocolate fix as well. They just disappointed me a little…I really REALLY wanted a chewy oatmeal ridden mouthful of baked goodness. These are more of a cakey oatmeal ridden mouthful of baked goodness.

Oh well, make these anyway. They have great flavour and ’tis the season for pumpkin!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Squares

6 oz. canned pumpkin
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup whole wheat or 50/50 flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup whole oats
1/2 – 3/4 cup of chocolate chips (or pecans if you prefer)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar and butter.
Beat in egg and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, & salt.
Mix in oats and chocolate chips.
Add the dry mixture to the pumpkin mixture. Mix well.
Spray an 8″ square pan with non stick cooking spray.
Spread evening into bottom of the pan.
Bake for 20 minutes or until brown on top.

Hazelnut Cinnamon Buns

17 Oct

Do you ever feel like whipping butter is just too much of an effort sometimes?

Reading a recipe that calls for softened or room temperature anything…does it put you off?

I can’t be the only one. There are times when I crave a chocolate chip cookie or a bundt cake (what, you don’t crave bundt cake?) but settle for a a simple quick bread or pudding.

Heck, the epitome of laziness is giving in to my secret addiction to Timbits or chocolate covered peanut mnm’s. No judgement; sometimes we just want to get the sugar to our mouths in the least amount of time with the least amount of effort.

There are, however, those times when you’ve got a big fat juicy chunk of time on your hands, plenty of baking “accoutrements” and that one baked good worth every step… every minute of your time.

I came across one of these opportunities. Of course, it was cinnamon bun time.

This recipe is a simple sweet dough, that interestingly enough calls for cream cheese to get folded in as well.

The end result is a soft but flakey, sweet and nutty mouthful of guilt ridden gooey heaven.

Sometimes, it’s just 100% worth it. Trust.

Hazelnut Cinnamon Buns

adapted from Joy the Baker

Dough

1 package active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1/2 teaspoon, plus 1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup milk at room temperature

2 Tablespoons light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg

1 egg yolk

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan

Combine the water with the yeast and the 1/2 tsp sugar. Stir, then wait for 10 minutes until the mixture is frothy. Add the milk, the rest of the sugar, vanilla and egg. Stir to combine, then add the flour and salt. Knead for about 4 minutes before incorporating the butter and kneading for about 6 more minutes. It will be sticky but don’t fret. Place it in a greased bowl and let rise until doubled in size (about 1 1/2 to 2 hours)

Filling

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts

1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons maple syrup

4oz softened cream cheese

4tbsp melted butter

Combine all ingredients except for the cream cheese and butter (set that aside) Easy peasy.

Put the dough onto a well floured surface and knead well until it is no longer sticky. Let it rest for 5 minutes before rolling into a 10 by 10 inch square. Spread the cream cheese and then fold the dough into thirds. then fold into thirds the other way. Roll that out into a rectangle. Brush with butter, then spread the filling out over the whole rectangle. Roll into a log, then slice into 8 even pieces.

Place in a dish and let rise for 2 hours, or you can also refrigerate them overnight at this point.

Bake at 375F for about 30 minutes until they’re a healthy golden brown.

Brush the buns with some more melted butter when they come out of the oven, and then drizzle with icing after they’ve cooled for 5 minutes.

Icing

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup buttermilk