Friday, May 28, 2010

Favorite Cream Scone

I love scones.  Love them!  The funny thing is... I've never made them before - I KNOW!!!  So I decided to ask my friend Katrina for some recipes.  I knew she would be the perfect one to ask because she has a lot of books on scones and tea party type goodies - yum!

This is her favorite Cream Scone recipe.  What can I say... it is SO simple.  Especially if you have a food processor (or pastry blender, but I used my food processor).  I love how in a matter of minutes you can have scones hot out of the oven.  I also love how unlike cupcakes, you use the butter, eggs, and cream straight out of the refrigerator - no waiting for room temperature my friends!  That got me all excited!

Ok, so the picture above is one cream scone served with a little amount of apricot preserves and some homemade whipped cream - so delicious.  I'm going to make another batch of these soon and add some frozen organic blackberries.

She also sent me a Simple Sweet Scones recipe that I also plan to try.  Oh the possibilities!

Favorite Cream Scones
from Katrina

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter (right from the fridge! ~ it's actually really important that it's cold)
2 eggs, well beaten (also right from the fridge)
1/2 cup heavy cream (ya baby!)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Lightly butter a cookie sheet (or use a Silpat like I do).
3. Mix flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a bowl (I just added everything to my food processor).
4. Work in butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal (I cut the butter up into cubes, added to the food processor and pulsed until it resembled coarse meal).
5. Add eggs, cream, and vanilla and stir until blended (I added to the food processor and hand stirred with a spoon until it was together enough to take out - why dirty another bowl???)
6. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead for about 1 minute.
7. Roll dough about 3/4 inch thick and cut into rectangles or form into a circle and score 6-8 wedges (I just used my hands to flatten into a circle and cut 8 wedges).
8. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes being careful not to over cook (at 9 minutes it wasn't long enough so I ended up needing to leave them in for ~11 min.).

Lastly... enjoy!!! I like to have my scones with some fresh whipped cream, sometimes with whipped cream and preserves, and always tea.. yum!!  Kyle also really liked them too with just whipped cream.

Off to make the next batch...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Grilled Caprese Sandwich

Grilled Caprese Sandwich.  So simple, yet so delicious.  I decided to make these sandwiches the other day as a late lunch before serving some friends dinner.  This recipe is super easy!  Take a french baguette and slice it in 4 inch long pieces, then cut the pieces in half, and drizzle with olive oil.  Top one of the halves with basil leaves (I used Genovese), tomato slices, and fresh mozzarella.  Heat up a grill pan, panini press, or in my case a George Foreman and grill until the crust is golden and the mozzarella just starts to melt.  Would be good with Creamy Basil Tomato soup.

Enjoy! This is the ultimate fresh tasting sandwich.

Monday, May 10, 2010

White Cupcakes with Tinted Buttercream Peaks

I made these White Cupcakes with tinted Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting on Saturday for a Mother's Day Tea event my church had.  I was a table hostess and my theme was cupcakes - this was my centerpiece.  Most people really like the cake batter in this recipe.  It's super light and fluffy (thanks to the stiff egg whites folded in).  I got mixed reviews about the frosting.  It's not super sweet like an American Buttercream that has a lot of powdered sugar.  A SMB does not have any powdered sugar.  It has egg whites, butter, vanilla, and some granulated white sugar.  It's very simple and light.  In my opinion it pairs well with intensely flavored cupcakes.  This cake batter was also lighter in taste so I can understand why some did not think there was enough flavor in the frosting.  One way to make this frosting sweeter (without switching to American buttercream) is to add 4oz. of melted white or dark chocolate.  I've done this before and it tastes great.

Here is the recipe (from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes cookbook):

White Cupcakes with Pastel Buttercream Peaks (or in my case, tinted - I went dark on the tints)
Pg. 154

3 1/4 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
5 large egg whites, room temperature
Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting
Gel-paste food colors

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.  Sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.  Stir vanilla into milk.

2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter until smooth.  Gradually add sugar, beating until pale and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low.  Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until just combined after each.

3. In another bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form (do not overmix).  Fold one third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten.  Gently fold the remaining whites in two batches.

4. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full.  Firmly tap the tins once on the countertop to release any air bubbles.  Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes.  Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely.  Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozn up to 2 months in airtight containers.

5. Divide buttercream into four portions; leave one untinted and tint remaining three to desired colors.  Place each portion in a pastry bag fitted with a coupler.  Using a small open-star tip (#20), pipe peaks: Squeeze gently while lifting the tip, the release at the halfway point, and draw up until icing forms a point.  Starting with untinted buttercream, pipe a single peak in the center of each cupcake, then pipe more peaks in a ring around it.  Switch to tinted buttercream; pipe rings of peaks around the plain, until you reach the edge.  Refrigerate 30 minutes to allow frosting to set.  Cupcakes can be refrigerated up to 3 days in airtight containers; bring to room temperature before serving.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

Recipe can be found on Martha Stewart's website, here. Please note this recipe is double the amount needed for the recipe above.