September 8, 2010 · 10:48 AM
Cheery Cherry Chocolate Chip Scones - Warm From the Oven
If you love yummy scones, these will definitely make you smile. This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks – The America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook
(Boston Common Press). It’s from the editors of Cook’s Illustrated Magazine and the America’s Test Kitchen television program on PBS. The original recipe is for cream scones, and it’s a perfect base for scone experimentation. Using heavy whipping cream for this recipe helps create a wonderfully flaky, dreamy scone.
Here’s how I made them:
½ cup dried cherries
¼ cup very hot water
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
½ cup mini-morsel semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Extra butter and sugar for the tops
Preheat your oven to 425F. Place the dried cherries in a bowl; add the hot water and almond extract and set aside to soak while you mix up the scones. In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut in cold butter pieces until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal with small butter chunks mixed in. Drain your cherries and press them into paper towels to remove all the liquid. Roughly chop and throw them into the flour mixture along with the chocolate chips. Stir just until combined. Add the heavy whipping cream and stir until mixture starts to clump into a large ball. It’s important not to over mix here.
Scones are like biscuits…if you over mix them, they’ll turn out rubbery. Once most of the dough starts to clump together, place it onto a lightly floured surface. Pour the remaining crumbs onto the top of the ball and gently press it all together. I don’t knead the dough; I just press it all together with my hands. Form into a circle about 1” thick. Cut with a biscuit cutter and place on an ungreased baking sheet (I like to use a silicone mat on a baking sheet). It should make 6-8 scones, depending on the size of your biscuit cutter. Before baking, place a thin pat of butter on the top of each scone.
Bake on the middle rack of your oven for 5 minutes, allowing the butter on top to melt. Remove the pan from the oven and quickly sprinkle the tops generously with sugar. Put them back in the oven and bake for 10 more minutes, or until scones are lightly browned around the edges and the sugar on top crackles. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool slightly before serving. Scones are always best served warm from the oven with real butter (that’s my opinion, anyway). This recipe is incredibly versatile. I’ve made them with dried blueberries, diced apples tossed in cinnamon sugar, etc. Be adventurous!
Here’s a quick tip – if you don’t have a biscuit cutter, save a small tomato sauce or tomato paste can from another recipe. Just use your can opener to open both ends (making sure there are no sharp edges) and wash thoroughly, removing the label. I keep a few different sizes in my kitchen, just in case.
August 11, 2010 · 8:25 PM
Cookie Mix in a Jar
These cookie mix jars make a great holiday, house warming or wedding shower gifts. They’re easy to assemble and fun to give. I made a dozen of these for the girls at Hoegarden weekend. The resulting cookies are fabulous!
I love to use Extra Dark Guittard chips, but you can use whatever you like. This cookie mix will keep for up to three months in the pantry.
Here’s what you’ll need to make each jar:
One wide-mouth quart size canning jar
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoons kosher salt (or table salt)
1½ cups Extra-Dark 70% Cacao Guittard chocolate chips
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
One jumbo paper cupcake liner, for a lid cover
One piece of ribbon, for decoration
One piece of cute scrapbook paper, for the instruction card
One hole punch for attaching instruction card to the ribbon
This recipe makes one 1-quart gift jar. It’s important to tap each layer into place so everything settles into clearly defined, lovely layers.
In a mixing bowl, blend flour, baking soda and salt with a whisk until thoroughly combined. Spoon flour mixture into the jar, and gently tap the jar on a kitchen towel to settle the contents. Gently spoon in the chocolate chips, and again tap the jar lightly to settle the contents. If you have a flat-ended utensil that will fit into the jar (or something like a tall narrow jar of green olives), you can use it to gently press ingredients down into the jar. Next, spoon in the brown sugar, and use that olive jar to pack it down. Spoon in the granulated sugar, and tap it down. By now, the jar should be full. Wipe the rim of the jar to make sure it’s clean. Cap with a clean lid and make sure it’s tightly sealed.
To decorate the jar, top with one jumbo cupcake liner. Using your hands, press the top edge of the liner to make sure it conforms to the shape of the jar lid. Print the directions below onto your scrapbook paper, either by hand or on your computer printer. Cut out the instructions, hole punch the top corner, then run the ribbon through and tie it into a pretty bow around the neck of the jar.
Here’s what to print on the directions card:
To Use Your Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Jar Mix:
Preheat oven to 375° F. Beat 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) softened unsalted butter, 1 large egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until blended. Add cookie mix and 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional); mix well, breaking up any clumps. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto un-greased baking sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. (Makes about 2 dozen cookies; mix will keep for up to 3 months if stored in a cool, dry place.)