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Coconut Milk Scones

4 Mar

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I’d like to apologize to anyone who has come in contact with me since my return from Jamaica. I know I’ve been grumpy and bitter. And bitchy. And mopey. Mainly I’ve been a big ol’ sad sack; sitting on the couch, thinking about the unrealistic option of going back to Jamaica forever.

Reality freakin’ blows, people. Jamaica was the most magical experience I’ve had in a long time and it was over too soon. It’s no wonder their slogan is: “Jamaica- Once you go, you know.”

Oh….I know alright.

Coming back to my life here in Canada, with snow, and chores, and responsibilities is such a slap in the face after the warm, laid back personality of Jamaica.

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This recipe is me, grasping at any possible connection to the feeling I had there. Coconut milk scones.

I used my favourite cream scone recipe and substituted coconut milk for the cream, extra virgin coconut oil for some of the butter, and threw in some toasted coconut flakes for good measure. They’re pretty stellar.

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If you need me I’ll be eating coconut scones all day on the couch, staring at the wrist band from my resort that I still haven’t taken off and telling myself that it’s “no problem,” just like everyone in Jamaica assured me on a regular basis.

Ya Man’

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Coconut Milk Scones

2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

40g unsalted butter (cold)

40g extra virgin coconut oil (cold)

1 egg

a splash of vanilla extract

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes

Mix the dry ingredients together, and rub in the butter and coconut oil until the mixture has no more clumps in it; you want a very fine crumb. Try grating the butter in first, it’s easier to break it down.

Beat the eggs then mix with the vanilla and coconut milk, and pour into the dry mixture. The key is not to work the gluten in this dough. Break it up as if you were still just rubbing the butter into the flour, until there is no more loose flour. If you need to add a small splash of water, you can do so. Press together to form a solid dough ball. Knead it twice to bring together, then roll it out into a rectangle. You want about 1/2 inch thickness.

Pour a splash of coconut milk on the top and a sprinkle of sugar and spread it around.

Cut into strips, then squares, then triangles or you can cut into circles like I did for these.

Bake at 400F until they are light golden brown just around the edges.

Chocolate Avocado Loaf

30 Jan

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It’s not very often I have a ripe avocado to spare. Actually I’ve never had an avocado to spare. I buy lots and eat them often but use them in baking? Pffff.

A ripe avocado is a valuable and delicious thing. Come on…avocados in smoothies? Salads? On a sandwich? Taco? Guacamole? With a fried egg? Heaven.

Well I finally sacrificed one and used it to bake…that seems to be the trend these days….

The result was obviously amazing. The bread came out moist and tender. It’s egg free too…in case you were wondering….

If you can find it in your heart to spare one of your own ripe avocados, go ahead…bake this loaf!

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It also can be made into muffins…if you like that kinda thing…

Side note: Photographing chocolate items is harder than it looks! Brown things come out looking….brown. Forgive me for not capturing the deliciousness of this baked item as well as I could have. Please know it is way better in person.

Chocolate Avocado Loaf

1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon. vanilla
1 ripe avocado, smashed
1/3 cup yogurt
2/3 cup milk (I used almond milk)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 cup flour
1 cup chocolate chips
Instructions
In a mixing bowl, cream the oil and sugar until combined. Add the applesauce, vanilla, yogurt and smashed avocado and beat until creamy. Whisk together all the dry ingredients in another bowl. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk to the mixture, slowly beating it in. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand. Pour into a loaf pan or divide into muffins (makes about 15). Bake at 350F for about an hour or until toothpick comes out with only a few crumbs. If baking muffins, bake at 400F for 15-18 minutes until toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.

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.

“Back on Track” Zucchini Muffins

29 May

These muffins are meant to hit the spot. They’re meant to hit the spot when nothing else seems to do the trick. They’re meant to give you a no-nonsense, fuss-free smile on your face and nice feeling in your belly. For those times when you want something that’s just right…this is the solution.

Why do you need these muffins? Well…life seems to have a mind of its own. Sometimes it’ll work out in your favour. Sometimes it’ll blindside you with a “dilly of a pickle” as Ned Flanders would say.

So what do you do when life makes you feel like you’ve hit a snag?

When it feels like you’ve hit rock. (bottom that is..)

When it feels like you would give everything you have for the existence of a rewind button?

When it feels like that brainless fart of a human being is going to be responsible for your ripping your hair out?

This is what you do. (This is what I did anyway)

You open your fridge. Look in your pantry. Look in the mirror. Look at the people in your life.

You’ve got some zucchini in the fridge and brown bananas on the counter. Sure, you’re out of baking powder, but heck, you can make your own because hot damn you’ve got cream of tartar!

Heck, look at that handsome devil staring back at you in the mirror. You’re still alive and well and looking pretty darned good! Even with the newly introduced grey you found the other day.

Look at all the wonderful people you have around you. All the awesome friends and family who will do anything they can to help you out. Your significant other who doubles as a chauffeur. Your brother who has a solution for everything. Your mother who just wants you to “be careful” all the time because she loves the stuffing out of you. Your friends who don’t make fun when you do stupid things, and help you out even when you do more stupid things.

You make zucchini flax muffins.

You share it with everyone you care about.

You marvel at the fact that there’s no butter or oil in them.

Take that life! I made muffins. And they’re awesome.

Zucchini Flax muffins

adapted from Martha Stewart

1 3/4 cups spelt or all purpose flour

1/2 cup ground flaxseed

1 cup lightly packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 cups coarsely grated zucchini (from 1 large zucchini)

1/3 cup mashed ripe banana (from 1 large banana)

3/4 cup almond milk (or regular)

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, flaxseed, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add zucchini and banana and stir to combine. In a small bowl, whisk together milk, egg, and vanilla. Add milk mixture to flour mixture and stir until combined (do not overmix).
Divide batter among muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

Blueberry Maple Flax Muffins

15 Apr

Sometimes, all I really want to do is make some good muffins. Is that asking too much? A muffin can be a glorious creation, depending on how you go about it. I feel like there is a muffin for every occasion, every taste, every ailment.

Muffins make a good snack as long as you don’t douse them with too many add-ins from the muffin bar. But then…muffins can make a pretty decadent treat if you handle them the right way. You can even turn muffins into a fibre-fest and make them “feel good” muffins….literally. Savoury muffins? Hello, best ever for brunch or a partner in crime at dinner.

I like making anytime muffins. Anytime muffins are the perfect balance between a healthy snack and a yummy goodness treat.

When I’m making muffins I like to incorporate fruit, some healthy nuts or seeds, a natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup,  and a good fat like coconut oil or avocado oil. Sometimes I even forego the fat and replace it with greek yogurt or applesauce. See where I’m going with all of this? Good for you ingredients for a good for you muffin.

These muffins are great, and they’re vegan to boot! Just make em. Babycakes bakery was my inspiration once again.

Do the right thing. Make these muffins. It’s not like it’s hard.

Blueberry Maple Flax Muffins

2 1/4 cup whole spelt flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup coconut oil

2/3 cup maple syrup

2/3 cup almond milk

2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp maple extract (optional)

2/3 cup blueberries

Whisk together flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Add the oil, maple syrup, almond milk and extracts and stir until batter is smooth. Gently fold in the blueberries until well distributed into the batter.

Pour 1/3 cup scoops of batter into a 12 cup muffin tin. Bake at 325F for approximately 22-25 minutes until  they bounce back slightly when pressed and a toothpick comes out clean.

They will keep in an airtight container for 3 days but they will taste best if eaten fresh. Freeze them if you like!

Happy snacking!

Loveless Buttermilk Biscuits

22 Mar

Don’t you hate when you get biscuits on the brain?

I’ve had biscuits on the brain.

This gal traveled to the south not so long ago. With a pretty special travel buddy to boot.

This gal may or may not have had a taste of southern cooking and swooned.

This gal may or may not have eaten fried chicken, barbecued pork, cornbread hoecakes, fried okra, blackberry cobbler, banana pudding, and BUTTERMILK BISCUITS in one sitting. Those biscuits were the best I’ve ever had….sorry mom, sorry Beth….they truly were.

Those savoury, flakey, soft, warm, tangy, melt in your mouth buttermilk biscuits at the Loveless Cafe in Nashville have been on my mind ever since I had my last taste of them at Nashville airport (we may or may not have taken some to go…)

They’ve been on my mind every time I see the jam sitting in my fridge all sweet and delicious with nowhere to go.

I think about them when I’m eating eggs for breakfast.

They appear in my head when I am eating sweet potato soup and use a lame piece of bread to soak up what’s left.

I bought the Loveless Cafe’s cookbook. Their recipe for buttermilk biscuits was easy as pie…..well….as biscuits in this case. I’ll be the first to admit they did not look or taste like the ones I ate on that fine sunny day in Nashville, but gosh darn it, they were pretty darned tootin’ good. They were flakey and soft and crisp on the outsides, tangy and perfectly flavoured, and that’s a win in my books.

So here you have it….

Near perfection buttermilk biscuits, compliments of the Loveless Cafe.

Buttermilk Biscuits

compliments of the Loveless Cafe Cookbook.

3 1/2 cups all purpose, unbleached flour

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted cold butter, cut into cubes

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Combine all the dry ingredients plus the butter together in a food processor. Pulse until the butter is cut into small pieces no larger than the size of peas.

Pour in the buttermilk and pulse just enough to make a smooth dough.

Pat into a 1/2 inch thick slab, cut out the biscuits to whatever size you prefer, I used a 2 inch round cutter. Rework the scraps only once to make more biscuits.

Bake at 425F for 12 to 14 minutes until they are golden brown.

Eat while piping hot. That’s what I did.

Plain Glazed Cake Donuts

13 Mar


I’m not good at lying.

I don’t do well at poker.

I can barely keep a straight face when I’m telling the truth; trickery is still a skill I must master.

What I can do, is make donuts that haven’t been deep fried. I can glaze them.

Decorate them with sprinkles.

I can feed them to those who seem deserving of such a marvelous wonder.

And I can get away without having to tell anyone they’re baked.

Now that, is a pretty good skill to have under your belt. None of this poker face nonsense. Donut deception: that’s where it’s at.

I think that the donut pan I bought is the greatest and worst thing that has ever happened to me.

Go forth, make donuts.

(Or donut muffins if you don’t have a special pan. They make delicious muffin shaped wonders as well!)

Baked Donuts

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/4 cup pastry flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into about 8 cubes

1/4 cup whole milk, scalded (I used almond milk)

1/4 cup plain yogurt (I ate all my yogurt and went with ricotta. Worked just fine)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg, beaten

Whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt and sugar.  Add the cold butter cubes and use your fingers to break the butter up into the dry ingredients.  Work the butter  until you have a coarse meal and the butter is broken down very well into the flour.  Set aside.

In a small pan, heat the milk until almost boiling and remove from the flame.  Whisk together yogurt, egg and vanilla extract.  Add the warm milk and whisk to incorporate.  Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients.  Stir together with a spatula until just incorporated.  Be careful not to overmix as it may make the donuts dense. True story.

Pour into muffin tins or a donut pan. I got 10 donuts out of this recipe.

Bake at 350F until they spring back to the touch which is around 8-10 minutes.

Glaze

1/4 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups icing sugar

Combine milk and vanilla in a medium saucepan and heat over low heat until warm. Sift icing sugar into milk mixture. Whisk slowly, until well combined. Remove the glaze from the heat and set over a bowl of warm water. Dip donuts into the glaze, 1 at a time, and set on a draining rack. Let the icing set before serving. It can get pretty messy otherwise. Just saying.