Pumpkin Scones

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Fall is my absolute favorite season!  I love the cooler weather.

This morning, after the rain ended, I opened our windows and doors, and had a nice breeze blowing through our home.  I started thinking of comfort foods and baking a few weeks ago.  H just thinks of Thanksgiving and a turkey with all the trimmings!

I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin, nor is H, but I had 2 cans of pure pumpkin puree on hand.  I don’t mind pumpkin scones, muffins, breads, or even cheesecake, but I detest pumpkin pie.  Ditto for H.

I looked through several recipes before deciding on this one – I also divided the recipe in half.  I’ve made scones numerous times, and the only drawback is they taste best on the day they are made.  They’re not as moist the next day, even if frozen and thawed.  Some tips to keep in mind are to not overwork the dough.

Our house smelled amazing as the scones were baking and they came out perfectly.  I thought the drizzled icing might be too sweet, but I found it was necessary; otherwise the scones were bland.  Absolutely delicious with a cup of tea (or in H’s case, a large mug of coffee).  Try these scones and let me know what you think!

Pumpkin Scones

Makes 8
Adapted from tasteofhome.com

Ingredients

  • 2-¼ cups unbleached flour
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1-½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup cold butter
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup + 2 tbsp pure pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup milk

Glaze:

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1-½ tbsp milk
  • ¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice (I just used a sprinkle)
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F
  2. Place oven rack in the middle
  3. In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients
  4. With a pastry cutter or your finger tips, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs
  5. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin and milk. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened, do not over mix
  6. Turn onto a floured surface and knead just a few times. Use flour sparingly if you find the dough is too sticky
  7. Pat into a nice round 8” circle; cut each into eight wedges
  8. Separate wedges and place 1” apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  9. Brush with milk or cream
  10. Bake for 14-18 minutes or until golden brown (use the tooth pick test to ensure they are done)
  11. Remove to wire racks; cool for 10 minutes
  12. Combine the glaze ingredients.  Add milk a little at a time!
  13. Drizzle over scones

Moist and Flavorful Blueberry Muffins!

Moist and Flavorful Blueberry Muffins!

I get asked all the time for the best blueberry muffin recipe. But, what one person thinks is the best, another might find just average. I have tried over a dozen recipes and have yet to find one that I love enough to share!

I continued my search and Googled for the best moist blueberry muffin and kept going until I reached page 11! I’m not a professional baker, but I can easily tell from reading the ingredient list what the results might be.

After baking several batches of unsuccessful muffins, here’s what I found:

• Muffins made with oil – moist but bland
• Muffins made with butter – good, but by day 2, they were stale
• Adding yogurt or sour cream – excellent, but some recipes call for too much and the result is a tangy muffin :(

So here it is – a recipe that I truly love!

I made some changes, and H declared the muffins were delicious and good enough to post! I reduced the sugar, added lemon zest and a touch of cinnamon to the batter. I used frozen blueberries (fresh will work just as well). Most recipes call for tossing the blueberries in flour to prevent your muffins from turning purple, but I have a better trick.   I don’t want to add extra flour to the batter and I also don’t mind the purple color, so I scoop the batter into prepared muffin tins, sprinkle with frozen or fresh blueberries, then I use a toothpick and poke them down. Add a few more on top and that’s it! Just don’t put the blueberries on the bottom of the muffin tins and then add your batter, I tried this and the blueberries stuck to the bottom of each muffin :(

My first bite delivered a crunchy top and a super moist muffin, full of flavor, with subtle hints of cinnamon and lemon zest! After eating one, I definitely craved a second!

Here’s the real test … the next day, the muffins were still moist!  I hope you’ll give this recipe a try!

Moist and Flavorful Blueberry Muffins!

Makes 10-12 muffins
Recipe adapted from sallysbakingaddiction.com

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • ½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar (if you like a sweeter muffin, use 1/2 cup)
  • ¼ cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • ½ cup plain yogurt (I used Balkan style 7%, but low-fat or Greek is fine)
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries (if using frozen, do not thaw)
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line muffin pan with 12 paper liners
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add lemon zest and set aside
  3. In a medium bowl using a hand or stand mixer, beat butter on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute
  4. Add both sugars and beat for 2 minutes on high speed until creamy, scraping down sides of bowl as needed
  5. Add eggs, yogurt, milk, vanilla extract and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as you go along
  6. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold gently with a spatula, do not overmix! You should still have flour streaks in your batter. Again, please do not overmix! You’ll end up with tough and dense muffins
  7. Using an ice cream scooper, fill muffin cups almost to the top
  8. Sprinkle fresh or frozen blueberries on each muffin and use a toothpick to gently push them down. Leave a few showing
  9. Bake at 425°F for 5 minutes, then turn heat down to 350°F and continue baking until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. This can take anywhere from 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven temperature. Watch carefully! I usually do the toothpick test a few times. Please don’t overbake these muffins or they will be dry.
  10. Let cool slightly before devouring (if you can wait that long)!

Kitchen notes:

  • Store cooled muffins in a tight fitting container at room temperature for a few days. Reheat in the microwave for a few seconds
  • Wrap each muffin in plastic wrap and then place in a freezer safe container such as Lock & Lock. Muffins will freeze well for several months

Almond Flour by Grain-Free JK Gourmet – Product Review

Almond Flour by Grain-Free JK Gourmet

Almond flour, also known as almond meal is made from whole blanched almonds without the skins. It’s gluten-free, has no trans fats and is a good source of fibre, calcium, magnesium and vitamin E. Just ¼ cup of almond flour = 3 grams of fibre, 6 grams of protein and only 1 gram of sugar!

I get a lot of inquiries regarding what brand of almond flour I use. When I first started my macaron craze, I tried a brand that was easily found in supermarkets. It was a bit coarse and I always had a good amount of leftover almond flour, even after a whirl in my food processor and sifting several times.

I even tried making my own almond flour, which is possible, but so much work! What a mess my kitchen was in. To make your own almond flour, you must combine blanched almonds with icing sugar in your food processor; otherwise you’ll end up with almond butter. You can also use unsalted almonds with skins, and I find it adds a nice speckle to macarons.

Pressed for time, I started searching for superfine almond flour and found one by Grain-Free JK Gourmet at my local health food store. It really is the finest ground almond flour I’ve used. Forget about your food processor, it isn’t necessary. If you were to pass it through a sieve, the residual amount is minimal.

Almond Flour by Grain-Free JK Gourmet

Keep in mind, almond flour is not just for making macarons, it’s very common in a lot of baked goods, especially French pastries and cakes. You can substitute a portion of regular flour with almond flour for extra nutrition and for really moist results, but be careful. I would not recommend a 1:1 ratio as almond flour has a completely different moisture content as well as added fat. I normally use ¼ cup as a swap, so for 1 cup of flour, I would use ¾ cup flour + ¼ cup almond flour.

Almond flour can also be frozen to ensure freshness. Just be sure to leave it out at room temperature the day before, to allow any moisture to evaporate before using for macarons.

You can purchase this super fine almond flour directly from Grain-Free JK Gourmet’s website, or find a store near you here.

Disclosure:
Product is courtesy of Grain-Free JK Gourmet. This is not a paid advertisement.

Scrambled Eggs with Cherry Tomatoes and Cheddar Cheese

When my mother-in-law gives me baskets full of cherry tomatoes, fresh from her garden, I’m in tomato overload!  But, I’m never short on recipes.  One of our favorites is roasted cherry tomatoes (recipe coming soon)!

Another one I’d like to share is scrambled eggs with cherry tomatoes and shredded cheddar cheese!  I can’t really call it a recipe because this dish is super simple, and a refreshing change from plain old scrambled eggs.  It’s perfect for breakfast or served with a salad for lunch/brunch.

Scrambled Eggs with Cherry Tomatoes and Cheddar Cheese

Scrambled Eggs with Cherry Tomatoes and Cheddar Cheese

  • Slice cherry tomatoes in half
  • Preheat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, then add a little bit of butter and canola oil
  • Sauté tomatoes until slightly softened, then transfer to a bowl and set aside
  • Wipe skillet clean, bring back to medium heat, and then add a little butter and canola oil
  • Add beaten eggs and cook until almost set
  • Sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Enjoy!

~Did I say how delicious this is??? 

Cherry Tomatoes Fresh From the Garden

Cherry Tomatoes Fresh From the Garden
How lucky am I to get baskets full of cherry tomatoes from my mother-in-law’s garden every year!

Cherry tomatoes come in so many varieties and colors, and can range from tiny and round, to oblong, and as large as golf balls!

Not only are they high in antioxidants, they help lower cholesterol. And, they’re absolutely delicious – little bursts of fresh tomato flavor.

Check back soon for some scrumptious cherry tomato recipes!