Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Friday, June 11, 2010

Death by Sconing

Whew! Sorry for the long overdue posting but I have been baking my tail off! This week alone I have baked 250 scones and 12 cakes. During the spring and summer I am the pastry chef for a local coffee shop...I bake from home and deliver my wares weekly. This is a great set-up...until you try and bake three weeks of inventory in one week. We will be taking a long overdue vacation next week for 10 days(Yay!), but this means I must bake in advance, hence my absence from the blogosphere. Thanks for not giving up on me:) Here is my go to scone recipe in case you need to bake up some of your own tasty scones.

Cream Scones with Dried Cranberries
adapted from a Cook's Illustrated recipe

The most traditional sweet biscuit–like texture is obtained by using both butter and heavy cream. The easiest and most reliable approach to mixing the butter into the dry ingredients is to use a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Resist the urge to eat the scones hot out of the oven. Letting them cool for at least 10 minutes firms them up and improves their texture.

2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, preferably a lower-protein brand, such as Gold Medal or Pillsbury
1 Tbsp baking powder
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
5 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 cup heavy cream; plus 1/2 Tbsp
1 Tbsp. coarse sanding sugar

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
2. Place the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl or the workbowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Whisk together or process with six 1-second pulses.
3. If making by hand, use two knives, a pastry blender, or your fingertips and quickly cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal with a few slightly larger butter lumps. If using a food processor, remove the cover and distribute the butter evenly over the dry ingredients. Cover and process with twelve 1-second pulses. Add the currants and quickly mix in or pulse one more time. Transfer the dough to a large bowl.
4. Stir in the heavy cream with a rubber spatula or fork until the dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.
5. Transfer the dough and all dry flour bits to a countertop and knead the dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, slightly sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. Press the dough into an 8-inch cake pan, then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work-surface. With a pastry brush gently brush the top of the dough with  reamining heavy cream and then evenly sprinkle the sanding sugar over top. With a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into 8 wedges. Place the wedges on an ungreased baking sheet. (The baking sheet can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 hours before baking.)
6. Bake until the scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Yield: Makes 8

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Flower Power

O and I painted with flower blossoms today. The garden is bursting with beautiful spring flowers and we had a wide array to choose from. O decided to use clover, pincushion and dandelion flowers. The results were amazing! We stayed with a simple color palette of primary colors. O is learning about color theory and this activity was a great way of incorporating nature study and art! You have to love interdisciplinary preschool studies!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wordless Wednesday