Tag Archives: Dough

Cranberry Christmas Scones

10 Mar

Chris and I bought our very first home this past August.  It’s just a small condo, but it’s such a perfect fit for us.  We also absolutely love our new neighborhood.  It feels remote and rustic, there’s hiking nearby, and just down the hill there’s just about every shop you could ever need.  Getting everything in order took a while, so we ended up hosting a holiday/housewarming party.  At the party, I made a big pot of wassail and a big pot of vin chaud (I will take pictures and post the next time I make these beverages.  They’re delicious!).  As garnish, I planned to sugar cranberries.  Well in the madness of getting everything ready for the party, I completely forgot the cranberries.  We were driving up to the Guidotti’s for the holidays the next day, and I didn’t want the cranberries to go to waste, so I poked around online and found a cranberry scone recipe on marthastewart.com.

The beginning of the recipe is pretty basic – mix the ingredients, cut in the butter until it resembles crumbs, and then mix with the cream.

You then need to knead the dough on a floured surface, and the cranberries do not make this easy!  The recipe makes this step seem like it’s a breeze, but trust me your arms will get a work out.  I continued to knead the dough until the flour was completely incorporated and I had a nice smooth texture.  I rolled the dough into a roundish square, and then sliced it into 8 equal pieces.

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The next part was also a bit tricky.  I had to separate the pieces gently to maintain their shape.  I decided to bake them on a silpat to prevent them from browning too much on the bottom.

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The recipe then instructs you to “brush” the scones with the remaining half and half.  Well I had lost of half and half left, and brushing them lightly somehow seemed wrong.  I poured the remaining half and half over each unbaked scone, hoping that the extra cream would give them a bit more moisture.

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I then sprinkled each scone with a bit of turbinado sugar, and topped them off with red and green sprinkles.

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They came out of the oven with an all-over light brown color, and they smelled wonderful.

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Chris and I had a scone with coffee the next morning, and absolutely fell in love with this recipe.  The cranberries added a tartness to an otherwise sweet treat, and the texture was moist and light.  Knowing that Chris’ mom would be busy preparing holiday dinner, we packed the remaining scones up and brought them to the Guidotti’s for breakfast.  They were perfect in the morning heated with a bit of butter.  We had a wonderful time visiting, and hope everyone enjoyed the scones!

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Thanksgiving Bread Take Two: Pumpkin & Rosemary Soft Rolls

10 Dec

As I mentioned in Thanksgiving Bread Take 1, I was on a mission to make some delicious bread for a Thanksgiving dinner with friends.  Given the big bet I was making on savory muffins, I thought I might try something a little more traditional.  Since I used squash in the first one, I wanted to use pumpkin in this one.  A little more searching on Food52 and I found this recipe.

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I had to make the dough the night before put it in the fridge overnight.  Unfortunately, my yeast was rather old.  I mixed the yeast with some warm water and sugar to test it, but alas there was no froth.  It was too late to run to the store, so we skipped the refrigerator step and grabbed the yeast in the morning.

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I unfortunately missed taking pictures of the dough-making process.  This involved making and herb butter with fresh dill from our patio garden, mixing it with rosemary, parsley, pumpkin purée, egg, sugar, salt, and yogurt.  Egad!  When mixing these ingredients I accidentally added an extra egg.  I ended up doubling the recipe to fix it and only later realizing that I made 40 rolls!!!  Well in went double the yeast, and then double the flour.  Mixing in the flour took forever.  I did this by hand, kneading the dough for what seemed like forever.  My arms felt like they were going to fall off.  Chris came to the rescue and helped me roll the dough into 40 small balls.  We set them on the counter to rise for 2 hours and relaxed on the couch while we waited.

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The last step involved brushing the rolls with egg and then covering them in coarse sea salt.  They baked in the oven for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.  They smelled delicious as they baked.

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Sure enough, these rolls turned out light, fluffy, salty, and herby.  Pure deliciousness.  The pumpkin added a nice color to the rolls, but the herb flavor came through more than anything.  I ate mine with some delicious butter someone brought for the cornbread.  I’d highly recommend these rolls if you want to bring something unique to a potluck dinner and you’re up for some serious kneading.

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Fresh Pasta with Italian Herbs

14 Jun

Fresh Pasta with Italian Herbs

I made more fresh pasta the other night. This time no cheating plus I added herbs to the dough. The all purpose flour was definitely a bit more difficult to work into a cohesive ball of dough, but in the end it was a great success!

Getting Fresh With Pasta

10 Jun

After a long day of plugging away at my thesis, I decided it was time for a break.  My brain was mush from flipping back and forth between French and English, counting correct and incorrect responses, and graphing it all.  As a runner now, my head immediately went to carbs for an energy boost.

I opened the cabinet in search of some dry pasta, but we were fresh out.  Instead I found this:

Chris’ mother had given me an amazing, wonderful variety of pasta tools for Christmas the past year.  Chris had tried to make his own egg pasta using the food processor a while back, but it didn’t go so well.  He over mixed it, it formed too much gluten, and it was a big sticky mess.  Apprehensive, I decided to try my hand at it using the egg pasta flour.  Maybe it’s cheating, but I’ve gotta start somewhere.

It worked!  I mixed the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl with a hand mixer, and then gently kneaded the dough, adding a bit of water as needed, until I had this magnificent ball.  Thrilled I called Chris over to help me set up the pasta roller.  He put everything together, while I rolled out the dough.

Next step, flattening and cutting the dough.  I did my best to shape the dough into more of a rectangle than oval shape, but I wouldn’t say that I succeeded.  Chris rolled the machine while I fed the dough through and caught it at the other end.

Yes, that’s my foot in the corner, and yes I am hiding from the camera.  You really don’t want to see me after a day of thesis stress.  Through the machine one more time, and voilà!

I set the pasta aside for a bit, while we prepared a protein and vegetable for our meal.  Before starting the pasta, I decided that I would lightly bread and pan fry boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  I put them in a mixture of vinegar and spices to marinate in the fridge earlier in the evening, so they were ready to go by the time I finished cutting the pasta.  I also sliced the breasts in half to thin them out.  They’re so thick that when Chris tries to cook them during the week they always come out raw in the center.  I used my favorite three bowl method: Egg, Flour, Bread Crumbs.

You can see our California EVOO in the background there.  I recently listened to a story on NPR about olive oil.  The regulations on imported oils aren’t very strict, so you don’t really know what you’re getting.  California, however, has very precise tests that oil must go through to verify that it is as advertised.  We save it for dressings, dips, and drizzles, so that we can really appreciate the flavor.  These breasts were pan-fried in just a bit of canola oil.  I made sure that the oil was hot before cooking the chicken, and I used our skillet so that it would brown nicely on the outside.  Unfortunately, I was not skilled enough (and the chicken was not flat enough) to get an even all-over brown.

In the meantime, Chris made his new favorite oil and vinegar salad dressing (based on yet another story we listened to on NPR), tossed it with some red leaf lettuce, and we tossed the past in the now boiling pot of water.

I tossed the cooked pasta with a bit of EVOO, salt, and some of my favorite spices, plated it, and placed the chicken on top.  The final product looked fresh and smelled amazing.

Chris absolutely loved the pasta.  He exclaimed, “Oh my gosh love, this is so good,” more times than I can count throughout the meal.  I really enjoyed the fresh pasta too, but I’d love to get it even a little thinner next time.  Judy and Fred Guidotti, thank you so much for the wonderful gifts!  Chris and I loved the pasta and can’t wait to make more!

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