Everything Scones

Holy hell, these are good!  I don’t mean to be crass, or for that matter arrogant, but these are just damn delicious!

When Paul and I were in Phoenix last spring, we visited one of our favorite spots, Phoenix Public Market.  They always have the most inspirational ideas for baked goods.  When I saw their “everything scones,” I knew I was hooked.

Knowing that today is a big day in the Darga household (first NFL Sunday of the season – woot woot!!!), I had to create something special.  In mentioning these scones to Paul, his face lit up and the decision had been made.

Now I’m not gonna lie nor am I bragging when I say this… these are crazy amazing!  They’re so easy to make so this success was definitely not the result my skill level (which is fairly average).  I followed the suggestion of the blogger to use frozen butter instead of just cold butter and it made a huge difference.  The layers are light and flakey, yet the scone is very moist.

Just one suggestion.  When brushing the butter onto the scones before placing them in the oven, I did not hold back.  I lathered them in the melted velvet.  Then I also used an entire container of Everything Seasoning from Trader Joes.  I patted the seasoning into the melted butter and continued to sprinkle more.  I figure, go big or go home.  It was absolutely worth it because the flavors were spot on!

Frozen butter note:  Although it was harder to breakdown, the butter held together which made it easier to cut with my pastry cutter.  I cut the stick of butter into small cubes and placed them in a plastic bag, then into the freezer over night.  I will for sure do this every time I make scones and buttermilk biscuits.  It was a great hint.

Everything Scones (recipe care of mybakingbliss.com)

DSC05842 copy.jpg

INGREDIENTS:  2 cups all purpose flour, ¼ cup granulated sugar, 1 tbsp baking powder, ½ tsp salt, ½ cup (unsalted butter, very cold, cut into small cubes), 1 large egg, ½ cup heavy cream cold, ¼ cup everything bagel seasoning

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat the oven to 400F In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the pieces of cold butter and cut into the dough using a pastry cutter or a fork until texture is a coarse meal. You want the butter to be in small pieces, (similar to making pie crust). Lightly whisk together the heavy cream and egg. Stir into the butter/flour mixture with a rubber spatula until combined. Do not over-mix. Lay dough out on a lightly floured work surface and lightly knead with a lightly floured hand about 4 times. Pat the dough out to a rectangle, and cut into circles with a biscuit or cookie cutter. (You can also pat the dough into a circle and cut into triangles). Transfer the scones onto a parchment paper or silicone baking mat lined baking sheet. Brush with melted butter and top with a generous amount of everything seasoning. Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown.

#GR8DAINS

“Blueberry Boy Bait”  That’s just a fabulous nickname for a coffeecake that will be enjoyed by a rockstar bride and her kick arse wedding party!

My dear friend, Laura Bordon/now Laura Dains, got married to an awesome man, Geoff Dains, yesterday.  It was a ridiculously beautiful wedding and quite honestly, ridiculously fun.

Laura had asked me to make some kind of berry coffeecake for Saturday morning so that the mother-of-the-bride and bridesmaids would have something to snack on while getting their hair done.  I was happy to step up.

So on Friday around 5:15 (after a very long week), I googled, “blueberry coffeecake,” and this popped up with five stars.  The minute I saw “Blueberry Boy Bait” I knew it was on!

Now mind you, this week kicked me in the arse and caused me to become braindead and physically exhausted by Friday at 5:15.  However once I changed into house pants, poured myself a glass of prosecco, turned on some good country music, and preheated the oven I felt a little giddy-up slip into my step.  Within minutes I was dancing around the kitchen while singing and talking to Sherman (our trusty golden retriever).  It ended up being a great way to unwind.

All in all, this is a very easy coffeecake and was a total hit with the bridal party and the hairstylists at 19 Blue.  This is definitely a keeper!

Blueberry Coffeecake aka Blueberry Boy Bait (recipe care of onceuponachef.com)

IMG_0401 copy

INGREDIENTS:  

Streusel: 6 tablespoons packed light brown sugar, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off), 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold, cut into 1/2-inch chunks), 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon salt

Cake:  2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off), 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter (softened), 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 large eggs, 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon packed lemon zest, from 1 lemon, 1/2 cup milk, 2 cups fresh blueberries (frozen may be used but do not defrost)

DIRECTIONS:  Make the streusel topping: Combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Using your fingers, mix until no lumps of brown sugar remain. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until it reaches a crumbly state. Refrigerate until ready to use. Preheat the oven to 375°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Grease a 9-inchsquare pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest. Gradually add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, beating on low speed to combine. Add the berries to the batter and fold gently with a spatula until evenly distributed. Do not over-mix. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the batter. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until golden brown around the edges and a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a rack for about 20 minutes, then serve right from the pan. This cake is best served on the day it is made. Leftovers will keep well for a few days wrapped in foil and stored at room temperature.

IMG_0404 copy

Sawpit, CO

Okay, yes, I know I have an obsession with buttermilk biscuits.  Maybe “obsession” is the wrong word.  It’s really more like an addiction.  But admitting you have a problem is the first step, right?

This morning I baked up some buttermilk biscuits with the sole purpose of trying out  some delightfully sweet strawberry preserves that I found in a one street town called Sawpit.  Seriously, Sawpit.  I loved this town!

Sawpit consisted of the Sawpit Mercantile (cafe/shop/liquor store/gas station) and a few houses.  Yep, that’s it.  I would venture to say that the entire town was maybe the length of three city blocks.  In other words if you blink, you’ve missed it.

So when you find yourself in this type of town and you stumble upon preserves made, packaged, and sold in said town, you buy them!

To sum up, I bought Sawpit strawberry and blueberry preserves.  Oh and Sawpit caramel sauce.  Haven’t had a chance to test that one out yet but when I do, I have no doubts that it will be heavenly.

 

Buttermilk Biscuits (recipe care of livewellbakeoften.com)

DSC05838.jpg

INGREDIENTS: 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled), 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 6 tablespoons (85 grams) cold unsalted butter, cubed, 3/4 cup (180 ml) cold buttermilk (plus more for the tops of the biscuits)

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt until well combined. Add the in the cubed cold butter and cut into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter (you may also use a food processor for this step) until you have small pea sized pieces of butter. Pour the cold buttermilk into the mixture and gently work it together until the dough starts to come together. Scoop the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently work it together with your hands. Pat the dough into a rectangle and fold it in thirds. Turn the dough, gather any crumbs, and flatten back into a rectangle. Repeat this process two more times. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat it down into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle (make sure to measure!). Using a floured 2.5-inch biscuit cutter, cut out the biscuits. Continue to gather any scrap pieces of dough, patting it back down to 1/2-inch thickness, and cutting it until you have 12 biscuits. I suggest trying to get as many as you can the first time, as you continue to work the dough the biscuits won’t be quite as good. Arrange the biscuits on the baking sheet touching each other. Brush the top of each biscuit with a little bit of buttermilk. Bake at 450°F for about 15-17 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter if desired. Allow to cool for a few minutes, serve, and enjoy!

What’s for Dinner?

Okay, no baking involved but I had to share.

I am slightly embarrassed to admit this, but in the interest of honesty, cooking seafood (any kind and in any form) intimidates me.  Well actually (honesty), it terrifies me.

I love to eat seafood, but my fear is screwing it up.  I’ll overcook it, undercook it, cook it correctly but it will be fishy, or have no taste at all.  Whatever the nightmare scenario, it has passed through my mind as I’ve prepped fish or shellfish in the past.

All of this went through my mind as I threw together some oil, butter, lemon and white wine; praying all the while that I wouldn’t destroy the shrimp.  Paul always jokingly asks, “Do you know what you’re doing?”  My response tonight, “Nope!”

To my utter surprise and down right shock, they turned out beautifully.  Gotta say I was just a touch proud of myself.

I served them over my favorite salad that we learned about in Milos, Greece.  I also brushed some ciabatta bread with olive oil and sprinkled it with salt and pepper, then broiled it until barely toasted.  It’s nice to have an edible utensil to scoop and mop everything up.

Enjoy!

Sautéed Shrimp with Chickpea Salad (recipe by me ~ enter at your own risk)

Sauteed Shrimp.jpg

Sautéed Shrimp:

INGREDIENTS (all amounts depend on how many shrimp you have, I cooked 12):  raw cleaned-up shrimp (you can definitely clean them yourself but that just grosses me out), olive oil, about a tbsp of butter, lots of fresh garlic (minced), 1/2 a lemon, about a 1/4 cup white wine, salt & freshly ground pepper

DIRECTIONS:  Place a pan over medium-low heat, and add olive oil and butter.  Once the butter has melted, stir the olive oil and butter together and add the garlic.  Sauté the garlic for a bit while stirring.  Squeeze the lemon into the garlic mixture, then pour in the white wine.  Let those flavors blend together over the heat for a bit while you stir.  Place the shrimp into the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Continue to stir everything so that the shrimp are covered in the sauce.  Flip them when the bottom of the shrimp turns white/pink.  They are done when they are white/pink all the way through.

Chickpea Salad:

INGREDIENTS:  about 2-3 tbsp olive oil, one can of chickpeas (rinsed thoroughly), 1 clove garlic (minced), about 4 sun-dried tomatoes (chopped), salt & freshly ground pepper, about a 1/4 lemon,  about a tbsp fresh mint (minced), about 1 tsp flat leaf parsley, high quality feta (I get mine at Trader Joes, it comes in two blocks)

DIRECTIONS:  Place a pan over medium-low heat, and add olive oil.  Add the chickpeas to the olive oil and stir to coat.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add the garlic and sun-dried tomatoes (if a bit of the oil from the tomatoes is “accidentally” added to the pan, that’s not a problem), continuing to sauté for a few minutes.  You’re gently cooking the chickpeas in the other ingredients so that they can soak in the flavors.  This helps soften the chickpeas so that they don’t have a chalky texture (cooking fresh chickpeas probably takes care of that but I’m lazy and use canned).  Turn off the heat and scatter the mint and parsley over the mixture.  Stir together to combine, then plate.  Crumble feta cheese (to taste) over the warm salad (be careful not to use too much as feta has a strong, briny flavor).

Hot Damn, These Are Good!

Seriously, these are delicious!  The cinnamon, sugar, spicy/sweetness are all wrapped  up in a lovely muffin package.  They are the perfect breakfast treat!

I would serve them warm with a sinful slab of butter or better yet, whipped butter.  The warmth of the muffin will melt the butter, letting it seep it’s way down into the cinnamon goodness.

Enjoy!

By the way, I think I’ve made these before for my blog but they’re worth a second go round.

Coffee Cake Muffins (recipe care of damndelicious.net)

Coffee Cake Muffins.jpg

INGREDIENTS:

Muffins:  1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup light brown sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 3/4 cup milk, 1/3 cup canola oil, 2 large eggs

Crumb Topping:  1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1/3 cup light brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup unsalted butter (melted), 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Glaze:  1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon milk

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners or coat with nonstick spray; set aside. To make the crumb topping, combine sugars, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in melted butter. Add flour and stir using a rubber spatula just until moist. Spread out mixture on parchment paper to dry until ready to use. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together milk, canola oil and egg. Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula just until moist. Scoop the batter evenly into the muffin tray. Sprinkle with reserved crumb topping, using your fingertips to gently press the crumbs into the batter. Place into oven and bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. To make the glaze, combine confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and milk. Whisk until smooth. If the glaze is too thin, add more confectioners’ sugar as needed. When the muffins are done, cool for 10 minutes and drizzle the glaze on each muffin. Allow glaze to set before serving.

Been a While

It occurred to me the other day that I haven’t posted a recipe experience in a long time.  Man, I have been slacking!

As I was browsing different sites for a new baking challenge, I stumbled across this one.  What could possibly be wrong with eggs, sausage, and avocados wrapped up in a lovely, little tortilla package?

Now I need to explain something to you (not sure if anyone actually reads this but I’m gonna tell you anyway).  I have a love affair with two different food items (in no particular order)… #1 chocolate and #2 avocados.  I believe avocados are God’s gift to the world and are intended to make people close their eyes dreamily, sigh with a satisfying, “Mmmmm,” as then bite into the creamy, green wonder.  That may seem dramatic, but that’s what I do every time I eat avocado.  Paul will tell you that I have a ridiculous relationship with this amazing fruit.

Sorry, I digress.  Getting back to the taquitos.  This recipe is both easy as can be and delicious.  My two bits of advice are to warm up the tortillas so their nice and soft.  And use less filling than you think so that you can roll it closed.

I skipped the step of warming the tortillas.  Big mistake, huge!  I also have the classic problem of over-stuffing my tacos, burritos, and apparently taquitos.  The tortillas ripped as I rolled them, but they still tasted yummy.

Side note…  I used chicken sausage to make this a bit healthier.  If you’re vegetarian, you could use roasted vegetables to rock this recipe!

Breakfast Taquitos (recipe care of damndelicious.net)

Breakfast Taquito.jpg

INGREDIENTS:  10-12 corn tortillas (softened), 3 large eggs (scrambled), 6 ounces spicy Italian sausage (crumbled), 1/4 cup julienned sun dried tomatoes (drained), 1 avocado (halved, seeded, peeled and diced), 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Working one at a time, transfer tortilla to a work surface; place eggs, sausage, sun dried tomatoes, avocado and cheddar cheese in the center of each wrapper. Bring the bottom edge of the tortilla tightly over the filling, rolling from bottom to top until the top of the tortilla is reached. Repeat with remaining tortilla and filling. Place taquitos seam side down onto prepared baking sheet and bake until taquitos are crisp and cheese has melted, about 12-15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Salad in a Biscuit

I’ve decided that I have a bit of an obsession with buttermilk biscuits.  Not really sure why or rather, how, this obsession came to be but it’s definitely a large part of my cooking life.

The “why” is easy… um, buttermilk biscuits are little drops of love from heaven.  The “how” isn’t as easy.  I’ve had some yummy biscuits before, but recently I have become intrigued by all of the different variations that are out there.  I’m so impressed with people’s creativity when developing recipes.  Wish I had that talent!

These are lovely.  Subtle, herbal flavors wrapped up in a flaky biscuit.  I thought the feta would overpower the dill and/or parsley and/or basil.  But nope, the flavors are all balanced and compliment each other beautifully.  By the way, Paul was definitely skeptical of what looked like a salad in the batter.

Gotta say I’ve never used a grater to cut butter into a biscuit batter, and was doubtful when asked to do so.  I’ve always used a pastry cutter.  But, when in Rome… so I pulled out my box grater and made swiss cheese of 3/4 cups of butter.  It was kinda cool to be honest.  But in truth, when you mix it all into the other ingredients the butter clumps up so I had to crumble it up again using my fingers.  Really, it’s up to you what works for you.

Long story short, slather soft butter across the top of these beautiful biscuits and dive in!

Feta Dill Biscuits (recipe care of damndelicious.net)

Feta Dill Biscuits.jpg

INGREDIENTS:  4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces), 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves, 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, 3 green onions, thinly sliced, 1 tablespoon lemon zest, 4 teaspoons baking powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 3/4 cup unsalted butter (frozen), 1 3/4 cups buttermilk

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.  In a large bowl, combine flour, feta, parsley, dill, basil, green onions, lemon zest, baking powder, salt, baking soda and pepper.  Grate butter using the large holes of a box grater. Stir into the flour mixture.  Add buttermilk and stir using a rubber spatula until a soft dough forms.Working on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 3-4 times until it comes together. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 1 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Cut out 10-12 rounds using a 2 1/2-inch biscuit or cookie cutter. Place biscuits onto the prepared baking sheet; place in the freezer for 15 minutes.  Remove biscuits from freezer. Place into oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.  Serve warm.