Ham & Swiss Scones (And Keeper Of The Memories)

Ham & Swiss Scones

Ham & Swiss Scones

 


Every once in a while, I’ve brought up my family outside of my husband and kids. Sadly, as one ages, one finds that family circle getting smaller. In my life, since my sister Sandra and both our parents have passed away, there is only myself and my brother left. We also have two half sisters, whom I love dearly, but they didn’t grow up with us so don’t have the same set of memories or same history, unfortunately.

Steve and I have always been fairly close. We’ve had our ups and downs, times our relationship was splintered (Lilo And Stitch quote- “This is my family. I found it all on my own. It’s little and broken, but still good. Yeah, still good“. I love that movie.), but all in all, we’ve stayed close.

Since childhood, I’ve had a faulty memory. It seems to be due to an accident in youth. Add in the stroke from a few years back and a lot of my past is missing. Well, Steve and I have a habit of spending a fair amount of time on the weekends texting each other and many of his texts start out with, “Do you remember…”. Unfortunately, a lot of the time, I don’t. Steve has become, in my eyes, the Keeper Of The Memories. He is the one who reminds me of things we did as kids, the people we knew and the things we did, many of them crazy and probably dangerous and illegal, keeps me up to date on which relative has died, which was one that was nasty in the past, etc etc. He’s the one that helps me recall certain movies we watched 73 times as kids, which songs were important to us, usually for silly reasons and keeps the memories of our parents and sister fresh.ย  I’m the one that still rags him about using my Barbie Make Up Doll Head as Franken-Barbie for his garage haunted house one year and reminds him of the time we stood in the kitchen for an hour, him 18, me 13, while I tutored him in the fine art of talking to girls. Steve and I are the only people we each have who remember each others pasts. We remember the bad hair cuts (I still have the picture of you in 7th grade when your hair was shoulder length), the teen years when we both were rather hard to get along with, the fights with our parents. We know about the times of eating ketchup sandwiches cause there wasn’t anything else to eat even though our mother worked her butt off, the trips to Alabama, the nights up watching Creature Feature, the night mom kicked her then b/f out of the house for kissing another woman and “do you doubt my veracity?”. We remember “doodles” and “ewww, you “blew it” “. Siblings have their own language, their own inside jokes and memories. They make us laugh, they make us nostalgic and sometimes, they make us sad. But there is a bond there that can’t be shaken. It’s different than the one you have with parents, because for a lot of your growing up years, parents are the enemy. Siblings are the ones who can beat the crap out of you, but no one else better try it. They are the ones who are sad with you when your parents age and die. They are a tie to your own past and a part of your forever. You don’t see the age, you don’t see them as the grown ups they are. They always stay the kid you played with, argued with and made memories with.

What does any of this have to do with Ham & Swiss Scones? Not a thing. But make the scones anyway. They are completely delicious. ๐Ÿ™‚

Ham & Swiss Scones

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill weed
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onions
  • 10 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, sliced thin
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 12 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) diced ham
  • 12 ounces Swiss cheese, cubed into about 1/2 dice
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a greased baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, dill weed and dried onion.
  3. Using a pastry blender, cut in the cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Break the egg into the heavy cream and whisk to combine. Pour all at once into the flour/butter mixture. Stir well with a fork until the mixture comes together into a ball. Add in the cheese and ham and use your hands to (as quickly as possible) mix them into the dough.
  5. Dump it out onto a lightly floured board or counter and knead a few times just to incorporate the ham and cheese.
  6. Pat down into a 3/4 inch thick circle and cut into 12 wedges. They don’t have to be perfect. Mine are usually misshapen and ugly and I have come to prefer that; there is something homey and rustic about them that way.
  7. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes or until they are golden brown. See all the cheese that oozed out and clung to the sides of the scones? Don’t be upset… that crispy browned cheese is one of the best things about these!
  8. Let cool for at least 30 seconds before eating them. ๐Ÿ˜€

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Caramel Apple Pie Bread With Streusel Topping

Caramel Apple Pie Bread With Streusel Topping

Caramel Apple Pie Bread With Streusel Topping

 

I remember when I was a child… or maybe I’ll be poetic and say, “I be remembering when I was but a wee tyke”. No, that doesn’t work. I feel like I should be wearing a Leprechauns outfit and eating Lucky Charms. So… I remember when I was a child, back in the Stone Age. Every Autumn our school would start selling caramel apples, or “Affy Tapples” as they were named. Yes, that was the specific brand name. I think they are still available in the Midwestern area. I always loved when they came around. End of the school day, there people would be, small booth set up in the school lobby, selling Affy Tapples for 25 cents. I would wager that the kids today pay a dollar or more for theirs; damned inflation. But, I would go there, tarnished quarter grasped in my dirty little hands and then I got it…. that much loved apple. Is there anything better in Autumn than a caramel apple? You get that tart juicy apple dripping down your chin, a blanket of sweet chewy caramel that gets stuck in your teeth and then the crunchy peanuts. The perfect treat when it comes to a mix of flavors and textures.

I wanted to recreate that experience with this bread, with one exception. I don’t use nuts a whole lot, one, because I am not a huge fan, though I have my times when I like them and two, I just can’t eat them much anymore, what with aging teeth lol. So no nuts in this bread. You could easily add a half cup or so of your favorite nut (would have to be salted chopped peanuts to be authentic though) to the batter.

This is a really good quick bread that goes together fairly quickly. One tip though- don’t shred your apples until just before you get to the step of adding the flour to the batter or they may have time to turn brown. It doesn’t take long for an apple to oxidize at all.ย  Sweet, moist, great for dessert or a quick breakfast. Have some hot coffee waiting, or tea if you’re like me, and enjoy.

You know the drill…. ๐Ÿ™‚

Caramel Apple Pie Bread

  • 1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk mixed with 2 teaspoons baking powder (Don’t mix this till just before you need it or you could end up with a volcanic science experiment hehe)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1 /2 teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups shredded tart apple (I used Granny Smiths and just shredded them on a box grater, I also didn’t peel mine; feel free to peel yours if you want, but there’s really no reason to do so) (remember; shred just before using so they don’t turn brown)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 cup quartered Werthers Baking Caramels (takes about 20 caramels to get that amount)
  • Streusel-
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Make your streusel first and set it aside until ready for it- In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut in the softened butter until the mixture is crumbly.
  3. In a medium bowl on low speed with a hand mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add in your sugars and beat well. Add in the eggs and vanilla extract. beat well.
  4. Add in the buttermilk/baking powder mixture. Mix well (darn, I’m using that phrase a lot)
  5. Dump in the flour, salt and spices. On low speed, mix just until combined.
  6. Gently fold in the caramels, the apples and the raisins. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  7. Sprinkle the top of the bread with the streusel.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 to 65 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. A small bit of moist crumb is ok; liquidy is NOT.
  9. Let cool in the pan for about 20 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to finish cooling. Be aware, this one is touchy to unpan due to the streusel. Make sure you have it totally loosened before trying or most of the streusel is going to end up on your counter and not on the bread.

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Southern Style Buttermilk Biscuits & The Times, They Are A’Changin’

Southern Style Buttermilk Biscuits

Southern Style Buttermilk Biscuits

 

It occurred to me earlier today that I have been cooking for about 40 years now. I’m not quite sure whether to be proud of that fact or to go get my walker and economy size bottle of Geritol. I look back to when I was first starting when I was about ten and it amazes me how much grocery stores have changed. Back when I was a kid, you could still find a fair amount of mom and pop stores that carried the basics and a lot of cheap candy but not much else. Then you had the chain stores, which in the case of where I lived, were Jewel and Dominicks. You could fit two or three of those quite neatly into say, a Super Wal-Mart. They sold more than the mom and pop stores but the variety back in the ’70’s just was NOT what it is now. We take it all for granted and just blithely walk through huge grocery stores without batting an eye, but those of us who are older (as well as those who have lived in other countries that don’t have mega marts like we do) remember it being much different back in the days of the dinosaurs ๐Ÿ˜›ย  Stores had about ten aisles and if you wanted something fancy, you’d better have access to a large city with small gourmet shops.

Now however, you can go to any large chain grocery store and get gourmet cheeses, artisan breads, fancy meats and some even sell a good variety of decent wines. One of my favorite things about the here and now is the variety of ice cream hehe. When I was a kid, you got vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, Neapolitan, butter pecan, rocky road and that was about it. My favorite then was Neapolitan , my sisters was Butter Pecan and my brothers was vanilla. He was the boring one ๐Ÿ˜› NOW however, I can easily spend 20 minutes in the ice cream aisle choosing from gourmet gelatos and ice creams of every flavor under the sun.

Another thing that has changed is biscuits. You know those four packs of the canned biscuits that make biscuits with very little flavor and that are the size of a silver dollar? That was IT as far as the selection went. Those and *shudders* the prepackaged “Brown N Serve” rolls. My mom got those every holiday and I hated them. Even then I knew there had to be better out there somewhere. And now you can get some pretty good biscuits in the frozen section. But even then, they aren’t homemade. It took me literally years to learn to make a good buttermilk biscuit. Mine were….edible… but rather too hard and dense, to say the least. Now, if I do say so myself, I make some darn good biscuits. I’ve even taught my daughter and one other family member (who prefers not to admit they were schooled by me ๐Ÿ˜› ) how to do so. Now I’m writing it down for the rest of you. They are NOT difficult. The main thing to remember with biscuits? A light touch and don’t overwork your dough. It took me forever to figure that out. I used to knead it about a dozen times the way some recipes said to do. Now, I just dump the dough out, press it into shape, fold it a couple of times, press again and cut them. That’s it. Overworking is the death of a biscuit. Plus, as counter intuitive as it sounds, too much fat in the dough will make for a tougher, flatter biscuit. Stick to the ingredients and ratios here and you’ll have great biscuits. It may take a few times to learn to work the dough properly so if these don’t look like my photo right away, don’t sweat it. They will. I promise.

This makes about ten LARGE biscuits. If you want smaller and aren’t feeding an army, you may want to cup the recipe in half. If not, freeze the leftovers, securely wrapped.

You know the drill… ๐Ÿ™‚

Southern Style Buttermilk Biscuits

  • 4 cups self rising flour (please, if you have access, useย  White Lily brand flour. If you can’t find it, then Martha White is a decent substitute.)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (yes, even though the flour is self rising)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, refrigerator cold and sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup solid shortening, chilled and sliced thin
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (use whole milk buttermilk if you can find it. It makes a far better biscuit and really, low fat milk in a biscuit is a waste of time calorie wise)
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, Grease a large baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together your flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. Drop the butter and shortening into the bowl of flour. Use a pastry blender to cut the butter and shortening into the flour until it resembles pea sized crumbs.
  4. Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk, all at once, Use a fork to stir and combine the milk with the flour until you have a cohesive dough. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured board or counter top. Pat it down into a flat circle. Fold it into thirds like you’re folding a letter to fit into an envelope. Pat it down again, fold it one more time. Finally, pat it into a rough circle of about 1 inch to 1 1/4 inches high.
  5. Cut out as many biscuits as you can get, laying them right next to each other in the baking pan if you want soft sided biscuits or about an inch apart if you want crisp sided biscuits.
  6. Bake at 425 for about 20 to 24 minutes, until they are firm on top and golden brown. Take off the pan and serve piping hot, preferably with some nice fresh homemade butter (in the background of my photo and yes, it will be a later post) and good quality jam, preferably something like my homemade Apple Pie Jam because homemade is always better ๐Ÿ˜€

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Three Cheese, Pancetta and Fig Scones

Three Cheese, Pancetta & Fig Scones

Three Cheese, Pancetta & Fig Scones

I’ve always had a yearning to travel. While I love my country and have hopes to someday explore all the back roads and hidden gems in North America, there are soooooo many other places I want to see. There is a movie I absolutely love called The Way . I have now seen it 8 times and have recommended it to so many people that Emilio Estevez should be sending me part of his royalties lol. I won’t give the plot away. Just go to the link and then go buy the movie.
This movie leaves me aching to see the world (as well as attempt the pilgrimage the movie portrays though I know I may never be able to afford it), including parts of it not shown in the movie. I honestly can’t think of one part of the world I don’t want to see. I am “that” person who watches with wide eyes the TV travel shows, devours travel books and especially loves when my two loves; food and history are mixed in with the travel idea. When I lived in Germany, I was never blessed enough to get anywhere else in Europe and it is, of course, one of the parts of the world I want to see. And one of my main loves there is Scotland. I have seen so much of the country via books, movies, TV and the Internet and love it. I admit that food wise, there are some Scottish specialties I will probably not try… think Haggis, “Potted Heid” (their version of headcheese)

While they may not have originated there, scones seem to be synonymous with Scotland. I am pretty sure however, that these are not exactly Scottish in the flavor combo. The other day I asked on my facebook fan page whether everyone would prefer bacon and Swiss or pancetta and Swiss. One woman mentioned using figs and I loved the idea. So I incorporated them into the scones and I love them. Thanks Diane! These scones marry sweet and savory quite nicely. I just took my go to scone recipe, deleted the sugar and added in chopped dried figs, 3 types of cheese and crispy pancetta. These are slightly crispy, wonderfully flaky and getting a bite of fig with a bit of pancetta, all mixed into a cheesy scone, is amazing. The use of both butter and cream in these makes them melt in your mouth tender.

You know the drill… ๐Ÿ™‚

Three Cheese, Pancetta & Fig Scones

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Herbes De Provence (found easily in the spice aisle and is wonderful with so many foods, it’s worth buying if you don’t have any on hand)
  • 10 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, sliced thin
  • 4 ounces diced Pancetta, fried until crisp and then blotted with a paper towel to remove the grease
  • 3/4 cup of coarsely chopped dried figs (use good ones. Trader Joes sells some great dried figs. But where ever you get them from, make sure they are nice and fresh, not all shriveled and hard)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (NOT that powdery stuff. Buy the real thing)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease 2 9×13 baking sheets.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and Herbes De Provence. Mix well.
  3. Using a pastry blender, cut the chilled butter into the flour mix until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the pancetta, cheese and figs
  4. In a small bowl (measuring cup, large pair of hands, whatever) combine the egg and the 1 1/2 cups of cream. Mix well.
  5. Pour the cream mixture into the flour all at once. Stir well with a large wooden spoon or a fork. The mixture will still have some flour left on the bottom of the bowl. Dump it all onto a lightly floured board (make sure to scrape the bowl to get anything clinging in there) and knead for about one minute, just to get all the dry parts well combined.
  6. Pat into a large rectangle about 3/4 of an inch thick. Use a sharp knife and cut the dough into 12 pieces. Lay them on the prepared baking pans, near to each other but not touching.
  7. Brush the tops of the scones with heavy cream and sprinkle with sea salt.
  8. Bake at 375 degrees until they are light golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  9. Let cool on the pan for one minute, then transfer to a serving dish. These are best served warm and fresh, though you can reheat them by either nuking them for 30 seconds or so or putting them in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes.

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Snickerdoodle Banana Bread

Snickerdoodle Banana Bread

Snickerdoodle Banana Bread



Wow. Been almost two weeks since I’ve posted. Well, Christmas break is over. Right now is the perfect time for some baking since the bulk of the nation is feeling their wittle toesies freeze off and baking gives you a chance to stand in front of the oven and cry out “oh, my God, I’m freezing to death!” Then again, maybe it’s just me that whines that much when I’m cold. But, native Chicagoan I may be, but I’ve lived in Kentucky since 1988, so a temp of -1 with a wind chill of just about 20 below zero is a weeeee bit chilly. So I whine. I wear 32 pairs of socks, 12 hoodies and 8 pairs of gloves. Try walking in 32 pairs of socks. I look like a fat drunk penguin.

When I was trying to figure out what to bake, I went to my Pinterest account to look through my Foods/Recipes To Try board. I found one I pined ages ago- Snickerdoodle Bread. The recipe, as far as my google digging can tell, originally comes from Barbara Bakes though there are now a bazillion incarnations on the web. When I started baking, I saw I had a ton of bananas I needed to use up, so I figured I’d try making this into Snickerdoodle Banana Bread. I thought i was being sooooo original. Then, just before I got ready to post this, I googled it only to find out that 900000 other people were just as “original” as I was lol. Just goes to show that the old saw about there is no original thought, is rather true. Either way though, I was really pleased with how this turned out and 900000 versions aside, mine was still MY version. This is a nice moist bread and as I made it, has a really nice banana flavor along with a yummy cinnamon sugar one.

You know the drill…. ๐Ÿ™‚

Snickerdoodle Banana Bread

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup mashed banana (about 4 medium)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon banana flavoring (optional but adds flavor)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 bag Hersheys Cinnamon Chips
  • 2 tablespoons each of sugar and cinnamon, mixed
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and either spray 2 loaf pans with Bakers Joy or grease them and lightly flour them.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon chips and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add in the mashed banana and sour cream and mix well. Add in the vanilla extract and banana flavoring. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Dump the flour mixture into the butter/egg mixture. Stir just until thoroughly combined. Don’t overbeat.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans. Sprinkle the tops of the batters with the combined sugar cinnamon mix.
  6. Bake at 350 until the bread is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. let cool in the pan for five minutes, then carefully turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

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Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake

Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake

Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake

I have a confession to make… again. I have a lot of those, don’t I? When my brother, sister and I were kids, we would swipe money from my mothers coat pocket (she was a waitress and that”s where she hid her tips) and go to the corner store to buy junk food (I was the youngest so I blame them for corrupting me). It was usually either ice cream (Steve got vanilla, Sandra got Butter Pecan and I always got Neapolitan) or what we referred to as “pop and things”. Things were generally Hostess snacks; again, we all had our favorites. I got Ho Hos, San got Cupcakes and Steve got Suzy Q’s. Sometimes however, I would change it and with my ill gotten wealth, I would buy an entire Hostess coffee cake. You know the ones I mean. They were rectangular in shape with this white icing on top that was so slick and so plastic in texture that you could practically peel the whole thing off in one sheet. Which I did. And then ate. Often.ย  I have to admit, that until Hostess went out of business (and even though they are back, I’ve seen no signs of the coffee cake), I would still buy one every couple of years (using my own money now lol) and eat it. I no longer peeled off the icing and ate it, but I still loved them. Nasty, dry, preservative filled… but they were a taste of childhood. That’s all that mattered was the momentary chance to be 8 again… to be free of major life worries and also to not think about the empty calories.

Now however, I DO tend to make coffee cakes form scratch when I want them. I prefer yeast risen ones but every once in a while I just want one quicker. So when I saw this recipe in Cuisine magazine, I knew I wanted to try it. The idea of cinnamon roll flavor without the rolling and cutting was too much to resist.

Be warned- this is rather fussy in the prep for a coffee cake. Is it worth it though? Yes. If you like cinnamon, like sticky toppings and tender cake, you’ll find it worth the time and fuss. You will use more than one bowl, which I try to avoid but you can’t with this and you need to be quick turning this out onto a plate or the topping sticks to the pan. So basically, follow the directions I have here to a T and you should be fine. The changes I made to this were the addition of some orange zest, nutmeg and more cinnamon in the streusel as well as some vanilla extract, cinnamon and nutmeg in the batter as it didn’t call for any spice at all.

You know the drill…

Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake

  • Caramel Topping-
  • 3/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup toasted chopped pecans
  • Streusel-
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Cake-
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt or plain sour cream (if you use Greek yogurt, use an extra 2 tablespoons buttermilk to offset the thickness of the yogurt)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 inchย  cake pan or spray with cooking spray.. Make SURE to use a 2 inch deep pan, not the typical 1 1/2 deep one. I found mine at Target so I have now given you a good excuse to go shopping at Target ๐Ÿ˜€ if you use a shallower one, it WILL overflow.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together all your caramel topping ingredients except the pecans; stir well to mix. Spread in the prepared pan, sprinkle the pecans on top and wash the bowl; trust me, otherwise you’ll finish this and have 628 bowls to wash :-p
  3. For the streusel, whisk together the brown sugar, flour, spices and orange zest in a small bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut in the cold butter until fine crumbs form. Set aside.
  4. For the cake, combine the flour, spices baking powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
  5. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, yogurt or sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Set aside.
  6. In a large bowl (hey, I warned you about all the bowls ๐Ÿ˜› ) cream together the 1/2 cup butter and the 3/4 cup sugar just until combined. Alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture, starting and ending with the flour mix. Only beat until just combined each time.
  7. Spoon half of the batterย  on top of the topping in the pan. Smooth to the edges (I started with a rubber spatula for this but ended up using my clean finger. it worked better.) then sprinkle on half of the streusel. Spoon on the rest of the batter, smooth, then sprinkle on the rest of the streusel.
  8. Bake cake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick (or my usual one; a wooden skewer) comes out clean.
  9. Leave in pan for only about 2 minutes; then run a knife along the edge to loosen it and quickly invert it onto a plate. If any of the topping sticks to the pan, scrape it off and smooth it onto the top of the cake. Either finish cooling or eat it while it’s nice and toasty warm.


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Maple Pumpkin Bread With Maple Glazed Pepitas

Maple Pumpkin Bread With Maple Glazed Pepitas

Maple Pumpkin Bread With Maple Glazed Pepitas

Up until recently, Starbucks and I were very good friends. We had sleepovers, braided each others hair, talked about boys and cried together over all the other mean coffee places. Then one day, I cheated on my friendship with Starbucks. I found a NEW bff. It’s name was The Daily Grind. I played there one day on a whim and well, I’m ashamed to say, that after that, I never gave Starbucks coffee a second thought. Though every once in a while, I go back there for nostalgia’s sake. But Starbucks can’t make Milky Way Lattes; The Daily Grind can.

There’s one problem with this new relationship however. My new bff coffee place doesn’t sell baked goods. Oh, they have some wrapped stuff that was mass produced in somewhere like Taiwan, the best place ever to get fancy pastries :-pย  But they don’t have the pumpkin bread you can get at Starbucks.ย  I can’t go to Starbucks anymore though. They all look at me funny, like I’m wearing a big red letter A on my chest. It’s just too awkward, too painful remembering the good times *sobs a little and takes a sip of my Milky Way Latte to calm down*

So what did I do? I made my own. Yes, you heard that right, Starbucks!!! I don’t need yourย  high priced pumpkin bread anymore! I have no reason to come crawling back to you groveling for forgiveness just so that I can sneak a piece of pumpkin bread. Buahahaaaaaaa!!! Guess what else? My pumpkin bread? It’s better than yours. Yep. Better. It’s moist and spicy and pumpkiny (yes, that too is now a word. I swear, the world needs ME to revise the dictionary. Language would be so much more interesting.) with a hint of maple in the bread. It’s also not as overly sweet as your bread and MINE is covered in sweet/salty maple glazed pepitas. Take THAT, Starbucks!

Sorry. I’m calm now. You all know how those break up moments can be, right?

You know the drill….

Maple Pumpkin Bread With Maple Glazed Pepitas

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 7 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons maple flavoring
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 16 ounce can pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted Pepita’s
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9 inch loaf pans (or use a product such as Bakers Joy and spray them)
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, regular sugar and spices.
  3. In another large bowl, at low speed with a hand mixer, combine the eggs, molasses, brown sugar, vanilla extract and maple flavoring. Mix well. Pour in the vegetable oil and the can of pumpkin in and mix well.
  4. Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ones and mix at low speed just until well combined. It’s fine if there are some small lumps left.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the two loaf pans.
  6. In a small bowl, toss the pepitas with the maple syrup. Sprinkle evenly between the two pans of batter.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean, with at most a few loose crumbs on it.
  8. Cool in the pans set on a rack for five minutes.
  9. Loosen the breads from the pans by running a butter knife around the edges then turn the loaves out onto the rack to finish cooling.

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Lemon-White Chocolate Pound Cake With A Lemon Honey Glaze

Lemon White Chocolate Pound Cake With A Lemon Honey Glaze

Lemon White Chocolate Pound Cake With A Lemon Honey Glaze


I have a thing for pound cake. I may have mentioned that before. While I love fancier desserts too, especially those that are rich, creamy and filled with 5000 sticky calories per serving, I also love the simple desserts. Pound cake is just so homey, comforting, and darned easy. And if you want creamy, all you need to do is top it with whipped cream, 12 scoops of ice cream and chocolate sauce. Not that I’d do that of course. Nope, nope, nope, not me *wipes chocolate sauce off chin*


I was torn between making a lemon pound cake, which I’ve been promising my husband for weeks lol, or Pumpkin Bread, because personally, I’m ready to get my Autumn on. But the followers on my facebook page voted for the pound cake (you meanie butts you!!! You’d better be glad I lurves you all! ๐Ÿ˜› ) so here you go.

As I mentioned to them, I can’t, however, make just a “normal” pound cake. I’ve said before (and will probably say again because I’m getting old and forgetful. Did I mention that I’m getting old and forgetful?) and will say again (because I’m old and forgetful) that I lack the gene that makes me capable of making a recipe as listed. Nope… gotta either drastically change one so that it is like giving plastic surgery to Justin Bieber and making him look like Madonna or I have to just make up one of my own.

This one is just your basic pound cake incarnation. But I added a ton of lemon flavor as well as a touch of ginger for zing to the batter. Then for good measure I dumped some white chocolate chunks in there. They melted entirely into the batter, leaving these little pockets of slightly crispy sweetness. And if you’ve never had white chocolate with lemon, you’re in for a treat. They go SO well together! Then I topped this with a tart lemony glaze that has a subtle hint of honey.

This is NOT a mild little cake. It’s quite sweet, so serve small slices.

You know the drill…

Lemon-White Chocolate Pound Cake With A Lemon Honey Glaze

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract (if you have an emulsion, even better, Use 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • GLAZE-
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 inch loaf pan with a non stick spray such as Bakers Joy.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, lemon zest and white chocolate chips. Stir well.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, extracts, lemon juice and oil. Whisk to combine.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones, all at once. Stir well to combine until there are no dry floury spots left.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan Bake at 350 until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 60 minutes. If it starts to get too brown on top, cover loosely with foil.
  6. When done, cool in pan for five minutes, then run a butter knife along the edges to loosen the cake and turn it out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
  7. For glaze, combine all the glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk to combine, making sure to get rid of all the lumps.
  8. Pour or spoon glaze over the cooled cake.

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Herbed Onion, Shallot & Cheese Bread

Herbed Onion, Shallot & Cheese Bread

Herbed Onion, Shallot & Cheese Bread

I love baking. I betcha never knew that, did you? I run a quiet little blog full of main dish recipes, vegan yummies (is it just me or the phrase “vegan yummies” a total contradiction in terms? hehe) and no baking whatsoever. or something like that. But really… I do love to bake. I don’t bake so that I have something to post on the blog. I blog because I love to bake. There is something about combining a bunch of ingredients, tossing them into a pan and creating something homey and comforting that appeals to the nurturer in me. And I love to share the recipes. And watch you all get fat with me. And buy stock in “fat girl pants” companies.

I especially love baking this time of year. Doesn’t most everyone? that whole colder weather, cozy house, yummy smells thing is great incentive. It’s also great incentive to buy a treadmill and a gym membership, but we won’t go there. Please see above about that stock option idea. ๐Ÿ˜€

My house smells amazing right now. I swear, one of the best smells ever is practically ANYTHING made with either cheese or onions. So combine cheese and onions with shallots, more cheese, Herbes De Provence, more cheese and make it all into a loaf of quick bread, and Janet is one happy camper. In all reality, I’d probably be aย  miserable camper unless said camp had a jacuzzi tub, king sized bed, room (campfire) service and the campfire was a large fireplace overlooking either the mountains or the ocean. Ahhh, daydreams. They make life worth living, huh?

If you like savory quick breads and need something fairly quick to serve with dinner (or lunch or breakfast or a midnight snack) give this a try. Beyond the fact that I promise that your house will smell divine, this tastes so good. the top is slightly crispy form the cheeses, then you get the soft tender inside with more cheese and the flavor of the shallots, onions and garlic. This is great by itself. I can also see it going well with a bowl of soup or stew as the weather gets cooler. Shovel a boatload of butter on there (use two boatloads… I won’t tell) and eat half the loaf. I won’t tell if you do that either. I’ll just be counting my money from the fat girl pants stock.

Herbed Onion, Shallot & Cheese Bread

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 4 and a half teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2/3 cup diced onion
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour (or use a cooking spray) a 9 inch loaf pan.

1)- In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the 3 tablespoons unsalted butter until fine crumbs form. Add in 3/4 cup of the cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese and the green onions. Stir well to combine.

2)-I n a small pot, melt the one tablespoon butter. Saute the onions (just the regular onion, not the green onion), shallots and garlic over medium heat, stirring frequently, until soft and tender. Remove from heat and let cool for five minutes.

3)- When cool, add the milk to the onion mix. Stir well, then add the egg, egg yolk and vegetable oil. Stir.

4)- Pour the onion mixture into the center of the bowl of flour. Using a wooden spoon (not a mixer) mix just until thoroughly combined and there are no dry spots left. This is a thick almost biscuit like dough so don’t expect it to be pourable.

5)- Dump the dough into the prepared loaf pan and pat down, smoothing the top.

6)- Sprinkle with the reserved cheese.

7)- Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 2 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

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Butterscotch, Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Scones With A Maple Glaze

Butterscotch Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Scones With A Maple Glaze

Butterscotch Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Scones With A Maple Glaze


I remember the first time I read about scones. it was when I was in my early 20’s, way back before the days of the internet and 900,000 recipes about ANYTHING.ย  I was reading a cheap romance set in Scotland. The heroine (whom I remember as being a total spoiled pain in the arse) was whining about being hungry and the maid of the hero (whom I remember as being a total sexist pain in the arse) gave her an oat scone. Since I’ve been fascinated with food culture for most of my life, I was intrigued at the idea of a scone. So when I finally found a recipe, years later, I just had t make them.

They sucked.

The first ones I ever made were made with an oat flour (ground up oatmeal), raisins (they called for currents but those weren’t easily found here in the states back in the day), butter and other assorted ingredients I can’t recall. They were dry as dust, tough and crumbly all at the same time with a taste that was like…well… ground up oatmeal with some raisins in it.

Being me though, I didn’t give up. Just like with bread pudding, which I hated when I first tried it, I had to keep trying. Now, I absolutely love scones. You can find quite a few of them here on the blog.

These are quite yummy. They are reminiscent of the packs of instant brown sugar and maple oatmeal that we all ate as kids (and that I personally still love). But no dry as dust texture. They are soft and flaky (I slightly overcooked mine by accident and they are still good) and the cinnamon brown sugar flavor accented by the maple glaze is outstanding (am I the only one who every single time I use the word outstanding I think of the old saw {that made no sense} about “yeah, he was outstanding… outstanding in the field”. WTH does that even mean???). The butterscotch and cinnamon chips in them just gives them that “I can eat these for breakfast OR dessert” feel. All in all, a very good scone.

You know the drill…..

Butterscotch, Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Scones With A Maple Glaze

  • 3/4 cup chopped toasted and cooled pecans
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chopped into small pieces,cold
  • 1 tablespoon solid shortening, chopped into small pieces, cold
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon chips
  • sanding sugar for sprinkling on top of scones (optional- I like the touch of sweetness and mild crunch)
  • Glaze-
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon maple flavoring
  • 3 to 6 tablespoons heavy cream (may need more or less to get to drizzling consistency)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease a large baking sheet.
  2. In a small bowel, mix together the pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon. Set aside
  3. Mix together your buttermilk, cream and vanilla extract and set aside.
  4. Mix together your flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, sugar and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter and shortening into the flour until it is fully combined and in tiny pieces. Stir in the pecan/brown sugar mixture.
  5. Make a small well in the center. Pour in the buttermilk mixture all at once. Using a wooden spoon, stir together to make a moist cohesive dough. Make sure all the flour is combined in and you don’t have dry streaks. Gently fold in the butterscotch and cinnamon.
  6. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured board.ย  Pat into a rectangle of about 1/2 inch thick.
  7. Using a sharp knife dipped in flour or a pizza cutter (they work great for cutting doughs) cut the dough into either 8 large scones or 12 smaller ones. Your choice there. If you look and think that 12 is too small, remember that these will spread as they bake.
  8. Lay the scones, close together but not touching, on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with the sanding sugar if desired.
  9. Bake at 400 for about 14 to 18 minutes for large scones or until browned and firm on top. For small ones, bake for about 10 to 13 minutes or until browned and firm on top.
  10. Let cool on a wire rack until completely cool.
  11. For glaze, in a small bowl, combine all glaze ingredients and using a whisk, whisk well until mixture is smooth and creamy. Drizzle over cooled scones.

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.