A Giveaway From Hamilton Beach!! (And Greek Yogurt Lemon Ginger Muffins)

Greek Yogurt Lemon Ginger Muffins

Greek Yogurt Lemon Ginger Muffins



A few weeks ago I was contacted by a rep from Hamilton Beach asking me if I’d like to be a Brand Ambassador for them. Being a long time fan of the company, I immediately said yes. I think I had the email answered before the poor lady on the other end even had time to breathe after sending me the offer hehe. It was rather provident also because my poor hand mixer had finally bitten the dust just the day before. It went up in smoke and stinky fumes. All we needed was flames to complete the perfect kitchen apocalypse.

The deal was this- I would receive one of their hand mixers as well as a stand mixer to try out on my own. I was also told that I could offer one of my lovely readers the same deal… both a hand mixer and a stand mixer of your own. Are they awesome and generous or what?! All I had to do was give my honest opinion of the mixers and make a Spring inspired goodie. No pressure to say they were both wonderful unless I felt that way. Well, guess what? I absolutely love them both! Now, I have a stand mixer from that other known company, who shall remain unnamed 😛 and I love it. BUT… it can be a bit bulky and it’s really heavy. Good qualities when I’m making bread or the like. Not so much when all I want to do is make some cookies or whip some cream. The #HamiltonBeach stand mixer has no such issues. I can lift it without getting a hernia lol and it is a workhorse too. The motor isn’t as powerful as the more well known brand but it still does the job just great and is easier to clean being smaller. Plus…. it’s quieter. A DEFINITE advantage in my kid chaotic household. Anything that saves me from noise headaches makes me happy. 😀 This mixer cmes with a dough hook, a paddle attachment and a whisk one, so it’s perfect for just about any job you do.

Now to the hand mixer. I really, really, really love it. Did I mention that I really love it? It has what they call “Soft Scrape” beaters that are coated with a pretty bright red rubber coating. This helps them catch the sides of the bowl so you don’t have to scrape it as much when using it. The hand mixer also comes with a whisk attachment and regular non coated beaters if you don’t want to use the Soft Scrape ones. But the Soft Scrape ones are quite handy. The muffins I made for this had a lot of zest and if you’ve ever used a beater for a recipe with zest, you know it ends up getting caught on the beaters and you have to scrape it off, put it back in the bowl and stir it back in. Rather a pain. But none of the zest stuck to the Soft Scrape beaters. It was all in the muffin batter. WooT!

Trust me… you want to win this combo!

Now onto the muffins. I have a thing for the lemon ginger combo. I use it in tea, baked goods, savory dishes, etc; you name it, I love it. I thought for weeks about what to make for this giveaway and finally settled on this flavor combo. I mean, what better than something I love for a mixer I love, right? And Lemon is definitely a nice Spring sort of a flavor. Citrus always makes me think of warmer weather, even when I use it during the middle of Winter. These muffins are pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. They have a nice tart, but too tart, lemony flavor with a mild bite from the candied ginger and a sweet crunch on top from the sugar. I garnished them with one of my favorite candies ( a gummy candy of course. It’s no secret of my love for gummy candies hehe)… a Lemon Ginger Gummy.

You know the drill…… but today add on something to it. Go down to the bottom of the post and enter this giveaway! You could win a Hamilton Beach stand mixer AND a Hamilton Beach hand mixer!!

Greek Yogurt Lemon Ginger Muffins

  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • zest of two lemons (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped candied ginger
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract or emulsion
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup lemon flavored Greek yogurt (the blended kind, not the kind with fruit on the bottom)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Sparkling Sugar for garnish
  • Haribo Lemon Ginger Gummis for garnish (optional)
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or grease them.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, lemon zest and candied ginger. Stir to combine. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, at low speed on a hand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the extracts, lemon juice and lemon yogurt, at low speed, JUST until combined.. Stir in the flour mixture; again, just until combined. Don’t over mix this.
  4. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each about 2/3 full. Sprinkle with the sparkling sugar if using
  5. Bake at 375 for about 18 to 22 minutes or until a nice golden brown.
  6. Carefully remove the muffins from the pan and let cool on a rack. When cooled, cut a small slash in the top of each muffin and push a piece of gummi candy into it. You could also use a small slice of candied ginger the same way or even some candied lemon peel. 🙂

Now! The giveaway!!

Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer & Hand Mixer Giveaway!

Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer & Hand Mixer Giveaway!

Here is the info on what you’ll win if you’re the lucky person picked at random!

 

SoftScrape™ 6 Speed Hand Mixer with Case-

  • Classic styling with brushed stainless steel housing
  • Snap-on storage case — no more lost attachments
  • Also includes 2 traditional metal beaters
  • 300 watt peak-power motor
  • Quick Burst™ button
  • Bowl Rest™ feature lets mixer rest on bowl’s edge

6 Speed Stand Mixer

  • Same mixing action as KitchenAid® stand mixers*
  • Mixing action gives complete bowl coverage
  • Powerful 300 Watt motor
  • Better mixing than 2-beater stand mixers
  • 3 attachments offer mixing versatility
  • 6 speeds and special fold setting
  • Stainless steel 3.5 quart bowl
  • Flat beater, dough hook & whisk are dishwasher safe
  • Mixing head spins as it rotates completely inside the bowl
  • Tilt-up head lifts out of the way for easy bowl access
  • Nonslip feet

To enter this contest, a blog comment below is mandatory as well as entering that into the Rafflecopter widget below.

In your blog comment, let me know, “What’s The first thing you would make with your new Stand Mixer?”. Then click the button on the Rafflecopter entry below. This will open up a bunch of extra entries to this contest that you can use if you’d like. The only mandatory one is the blog comment, but it’s worth 2 entries apiece for the other methods! (Please note all extra social media entries will be checked for completion if you are chosen as a winner. If they are found to be invalid, a new winner will be notified. (So make sure you actually click and follow or it will be invalid.) Contest is open to U.S. residents 18 years old and older and Hamilton Beach can NOT deliver to P.O. Boxes. You must have a valid U.S. mailing address.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Disclosure Notice-  Hamilton Beach provided me with both a stand mixer and a hand mixer for review, but all opinions in this post were my own and I was not otherwise compensated. 🙂 (May 13, 2014)

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… 🙂

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.

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

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 :-p  But they don’t have the pumpkin bread you can get at Starbucks.  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 your  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.

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

 

Honey Oatmeal Wheat Bread

Honey Oatmeal Wheat Bread

Honey Oatmeal Wheat Bread


I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a huge store bought bread sort of a person. I prefer my carbs in junk food form, preferably with a label that says “Ben & Jerry” or “Brachs Juicy Berries Gummi Candy” (yes, I’m still addicted to those.) I DO however, love artisan breads, good bakery breads or homemade breads. In a nutshell? I’m a bread snob. Well, confession time, unless I’m having Chicago public school flashbacks and craving a ham sandwich on mushy store bought white bread spread with butter. Don’t judge.

So, all of that said, I rarely have the budget for the good artisan breads that a lot of grocery stores carry now and I don’t live near a bakery. So if I want good bread, I have to make it myself. I’ve been baking bread long enough now that I am able to play with recipes without ending up with a disaster so that’s what I did here. I took a recipe I’ve had for years for oatmeal bread/rolls and mixed it up a bit. The results were completely awesome! This bread tastes great, not as strongly flavored as whole wheat would be but not as bland as white bread. It has a mild nutty flavor from the oats and the wheat flour. And the texture is out of this world. It is soft, ALMOST but not quite as soft as store bought which will please the mushy bread addicts lol. Yet it has a nice chewy bite to it and a density to please those of us who like breads with more character. Another plus is that the wheat gluten keeps it fresh longer plus adds a bit to the texture. I have it listed as optional but you really really need to buy some. It’s inexpensive and worth getting.

You know the drill. 🙂

Honey Oatmeal Wheat Bread

  • 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oatmeal  plus extra for sprinkling on the loaves
  • 2 tablespoons Vital Wheat Gluten, optional but highly recommended (you can find it in the flour aisle, usually on the top shelf. It contributes a LOT to bread texture and freshness so please buy some.)
  • 2 packs dry yeast (I use the Red Star Platinum yeast)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups milk, warmed to between 115 and 120 degrees (NO hotter)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup honey plus more for brushing on top of loaves
  • sea salt for sprinkling on top
  1. Lightly grease two 9 inch loaf pans and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the wheat flour, 4 1/2 cups of the bread flour, oatmeal, yeast and salt. Mix well on low speed.
  2. Combine the milk and butter in a measuring cup. Stir to melt the butter, then add in the warm water and the honey. Pour this over the flour mixture, and using the dough hook, mix on low speed until it all comes together as a dough. Knead for about 2 to 3 minutes on low. If the dough is still more than just a LITTLE bit sticky and tacky, add more flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Machine knead after each addition for a minute or so, then check stickiness again. You want a nice firm but not dry dough. Your finger should just barely stick to it and it should have a sheen rather like what a semi gloss paint looks like when dry.
  3. Turn the dough out into an oiled bowl, turning it once to make sure all sides get the oil on them. Cover with a clean towel and put somewhere warm to rise. I usually turn my oven to it’s lowest setting, then turn it off after about 2 minutes of preheating. That leaves it a nice warm 80 degrees or so which is a perfect rising temp. Let it rise until it is doubled in bulk, about 60 to 90 minutes.
  4. When it’s doubled, punch it down (that’s always the fun part hehe) and divide it into two equal pieces. Start your oven preheating to 350 degrees. Now you can go one of two ways.
  5. First way to shape your dough is free hand- just…well, shape it into a dough shape. Not hard and the pro of it is it leaves you with less seams to pinch shut. it’s usually how I shape my loaves. Con is it takes some time to learn to free hand shape and not have a misshapen loaf.
  6. Two is to roll or pat the dough out into about a 9 inch rectangle and then roll it up tightly and pinch shut the seams with a damp finger. Pro to that is a prettier loaf (unless you miss a seam like I did on the one loaf in the photo…oops), con is if you don’t roll tightly enough, you end up with a loaf that has a hole running through the middle.
  7. Either way you go, shape the dough into two loaves and place in the prepared pans.
  8. Warm up about 1/4 cup of honey until it’s liquidy. Brush it evenly over the two loaves. Sprinkle with some extra oats and then with some coarse grained (I use kosher, same kind you see on pretzels) salt. Let the bread rise again in a warm place (NOT in the preheating oven lol) for 30 minutes or until it is almost doubled in bulk
  9. Bake at 350 degrees until the bread is golden brown and crusty looking, about 45 to 55 minutes.
  10. Let cool in the pan for five minutes, then turn out onto a rack to finish cooling, though we all know half a loaf, at least, won’t make it to cooled before it gets eaten hehe.
  11. When cooled, what doesn’t get eaten can be stored in ziploc bags for a few days. I made mine 4 days ago and it’s still wonderfully soft and fresh. THAT is why you need to buy the vital wheat gluten. Trust me on this.

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

 

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. 😀

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 a  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.

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

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.  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.  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.

Potato Skins With Pancetta, Brie And Fried Shallots

Potato Skins With Pancetta, Brie & Fried Shallots

Potato Skins With Pancetta, Brie & Fried Shallots



I remember back in the day when I waitressed. I’ve been lucky enough the last few years to be a stay at home mom because I have the most awesome husband ever, but I worked in all forms of the service industry for many many years. Back in the mid 80’s, during my first marriage, I worked at a restaurant called T.J. Applebees. Yep, that was how what we now know as Applebees started. This was in Houston and was one of their first restaurants.

This place was big on appetizers, beer and TV’s playing sports; one of the original sports bars/restaurants. Every Friday night they would have appetizer and drink specials to lure in the hungry masses. You could get ten cent wings (Gosh, I miss the days of ten cent wings lol. Now if you’re lucky, you can find 50 cent wing specials), quarter draft beers, 2 dollar pitchers of margaritas (more tip money spent on those than I care to recall hehe) and a plate of potato skins for a buck. Back then, potato skins weren’t as common. You could find them at places like T.J.’s and the like but no one really made them at home. Now though, they are a common game day snack.

I wanted to make them a bit more upscale though. I absolutely love the original way with cheddar cheese and bacon but I figured they could be made a bit more “knife and fork worthy” if that makes any sense. So instead of the normal toppings, we have some pan browned pancetta, creamy brie (mixed with a bit of Monterey Jack for tang) and some shallots that have been sliced thin, dredged in a touch of flour then fried in the drippings from the pancetta. Then each skin is sprinkled with some Fleur De Sel. Serve these with a bowl of sour cream and green onions and you have a snack worthy of eating with your pinky held out haughtily.

This is a multi step recipe but none of the steps is difficult. The most time consuming part is scooping out the potatoes. After that, it’s all prep.

You know the drill. Git to cookin’.

Potato Skins With Pancetta, Brie & Fried Shallots

  • 6 medium potatoes
  • 8 ounces cubed pancetta
  • 12 ounces good quality brie, room temp (preferably a triple creme brie)
  • 4 ounces freshly shredded monterey jack cheese, brought to room temp AFTER grating)
  • 5 large shallots, sliced thin and tossed in 1 tablespoon flour
  • Fleur De Sel or Sea Salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  1. Take each potato and wrap tightly in a piece of foil. Why? Because if you bake these, then bake them again later to melt the topping and crisp them, you end up with shriveled potatoes. Boiling them in foil gives you very pretty unwrinkled potatoes.
  2. Simmer the potatoes in water in a large pot for about 40 minutes or until a fork poked into the middle of the biggest one goes in easily.
  3. Carefully remove the foil and let potatoes cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. When cool, cut each potato in half lengthwise. Using a small spoon, carefully spoon/scrape out the center of each potato half, leaving about a quarter inch thick shell.Cover the scooped out potatoes and save to use for something else. You could toss it also but why waste perfectly god potatoes?
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, then lay the potatoes, cut side up, on a baking sheet. Make sure they are right next to each other touching because they can then support each other and prevent tipping over once the toppings are in them. Spray the potatoes liberally with cooking spray and place in a 400 degree oven.
  6. While the potatoes crisp up, start on the pancetta. In a medium pan, over medium heat, fry the pancetta until nice and crispy and browned.  When done, use a slotted spoon to remove to a bowl, leaving the drippings in the pan. Set aside for now.
  7. In the same pan, drop your dredged shallots and cook over medium high heat, stirring once or twice to prevent sticking and burning, until browned and crispy, about five minutes. Spoon out and set aside. If you’re anything like me, do the dishes now because it’s driving you crazy. 😛
  8. In yet another small bowl, mix together your brie and monterey jack. It will be sticky and kind of turn into a sort of cheese ball. This is actually what you want 😀
  9. Take the pan of potatoes out of the oven and fill each skin with a scoop of the cheese mixture, some of the pancetta and some of the fried shallots. Sprinkle each skin with some Fleur De Sel or sea salt.
  10. Place back in the 400 degree oven for about five minutes or until the cheese is totally melted.
  11. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream and green onions. Serve the potatoes with the sour cream for dipping.
  12. You can serve these potatoes as an appetizer or as a light dinner with a salad. Either way, they are totally delicious!

Chocolate Chip Double Berry Scones

Chocolate Chip Double Berry Scones 2-001

I can hear the outcry now… “MORE scones, lady!!!??? What the heck?? Can you do anything but scones or citrus pies or risotto!?”

Yes. yes, I can. But I wasn’t thinking the other day when I, on my Facebook page asked everyone which they would prefer- these scones or a quick bread I am trying. They chose the scones. Sooooo, being a woman of my word, I made them. Because honesty is just how I roll. Well, when I trip on our land, downhill quickly is also how I roll but I won’t blog about that. Though photos would probably be hilarious.

Moving on- been interesting in our household lately. My (very pregnant) daughter and her boys are with us through mid August while her husband goes through Basic Training and AIT (the on the job training for whatever you will be doing part of the military) so having 2 extra little ones (they are 3 and 6) has been chaotic to say the least. But I love knowing that when they move, they will, for a time at least, until it fades, have some memories of living with gramma and grampa. My daughter is due in a few weeks so I’ll have time with the baby (girl) for a while too 🙂

Plus, I’ve been having some health issues again. Not gonna go into detail here yet but I’ll cue you all in when things are more settled as to treatment. Until then, I’m just gonna continue to bake fattening things for all of you. Why? Cause I lurves you of course!!! Seriously. You have no idea what it means to me to know that people actually come here to my tiny blog, read my inane words and sometimes actually even make the foods I post.

These scones turned out delicious. I got the base recipe from The Pastry Queen Cookbook (you should have noticed by now that I love this cookbook) but changed it around. I just KNOW you’re surprised at that news. The only problem I had (which is my fault not the books) was shape. After I added the berries, I didn’t want to knead the dough, thus mushing the berries and toughening the dough, so I just reshaped it. BUT… I wasn’t able to get it back into a decent circle. so I tried making it more rectangular and cutting the scones from that. It turned out rather laughable 😛 These taste absolutely amazing… light, tender, flaky with a perfect mix of berries and chocolate and an orange glaze that just complements it all. But the way they look? Kinda wonky lol. But I promise you; you won’t care once you make some and taste them how they look. Also, you may have better luck shaping the dough than I did ANYWAY thus negating the issue. So don’t let looks fool you. Just look at the nicely glazed surface… see the pieces of berry peeking out alongside some chocolate. Then go bake. And I promise… no more scones…. for a few days anyway 😛

Chocolate Chip Double Berry Scones

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, COLD
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • zest from one large orange (about 1 to 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 cup semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh blackberries
  • Glaze-
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a buttered baking sheet with parchment paper then butter the paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (as always, you can use these directions with a hand mixer), combine the dry ingredients on low speed, including the orange zest.
  3. Cut the butter into small pieces, then add to the flour. Beat on low speed until the butter is in small pea sized pieces. Then add in 1 cup of the cream and the vanilla and continue beating on low speed. You want the dough to come away from the sides of the bowl in a clean ball of dough, no floury remnants left behind. If it still looks dry, add more cream, about a tablespoon at a time until it forms the dough ball.
  4. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and gently knead the chocolate chips into it. You’re not trying to work the gluten up like in bread dough. That will make the scones tough.
  5. When the chocolate is incorporated, gently pan the dough out into a fairly thin circle or rectangle. Lay the berries down on one side of the dough, then fold the other side down over them. Press gently to seal.
  6. Reshape the dough (circle if you want wedges, rectangle if you want squares or diamonds) and cut into either 10 wedges or if making squares or diamonds (for the diamonds, cut into squares then cut them in half diagonally), cut into 12 pieces. Brush each with some of the leftover cream and sprinkle with sugar.
  7. Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes for wedges or 10 to 12 minutes for squares or diamonds. You want them a nice golden brown on top.
  8. For the glaze- in a small bowl, mix together the glaze ingredients. Whisk well to get rid of lumps.
  9. Pour the glaze out onto a shallow lipped plate.
  10. Dip the top of each scone into the glaze. Let dry for about ten minutes then dip each one again. Let dry a bit before serving though when they are warm and sticky they are awfully hard to resist 😀

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Chocolate, Cherry & Pistachio Scones

Chocolate, Cherry & Pistachio Scones

Chocolate, Cherry & Pistachio Scones


I’ve mentioned a couple of hundred times by now that I’m not one of those people who does things by the seasons. Nope, I’m that weirdo at the grocery store with no coat and flip flops when it’s 20 degrees out. I’m the reason you’re smelling bbq and woodsmoke in January and suddenly craving grilled chicken. I’m the one making heart cookies in August. While at the same time making a nice comforting warming beef stew or chili. I’m that person posting Pumpkin bread in May and having everyone who comes here (all two of you hehe) wonder what the heck I’m on and why I’m so bass ackward.

Yes. I’m weird. This however is why you like me, right?

*crickets*

From what I’ve seen, most people tend to seem to bake scones during the Winter, many times even around the holidays. This may have something to do with everyone being far wiser than I and not turning on their ovens in the middle of a heat wave. I have never claimed wiseness though so it’s all good. I claim only insanity, a warped sense of humor and an unhealthy love for Cheetos and almost any sort of Gummy candy (right now my current addiction is These Brachs Juicy Berries Gummies. Oh my gosh, I love them and talk about lack of wisdom… it’s unwise for a bag of them to be near me or I’ll eat every.single.one.

But… today wasn’t about gummy candy (tonight when I watch Glee however, all bets are off). Today was about scones. This recipe was originally an Ina Garten one but I found it long ago on the now defunct blog “Gingerbread Bagels”. I don’t know the blog closed of where Lindsey, the owner, disappeared to, but I still think of her and hope she’s ok. Originally, this was just dark chocolate and dried cranberries but we all know I’m genetically incapable of doing a recipe the way it was written. So now I have left my mark on this one and love how I changed it 🙂

These scones are probably my favorite scones ever. They are flaky and tender… a little bit crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The chocolate and cherries go so well together and the orange zest and almond extract add a lovely flavor to these. Add in the yummy pistachios and the bit of crunch they add and it’s scone Heaven.

You know the drill. Get to baking!

Chocolate, Cherry & Pistachio Scones

  • 1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips
  • 1 5 ounce bag dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup chopped salted pistachios
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1 1/2 sticks COLD unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/2 cup COLD heavy cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • Glaze-
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream (may need more or less to make glaze drizzling consistency)
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Line a buttered baking sheet with parchment paper and then butter the paper.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and orange zest in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add in the cold butter and mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until the flour has only small lumps the size of peas left in it. (Alternately, do the same with a hand mixer or pastry blender)
  3. Whisk together the 2 eggs, 1/2 cup cream, vanilla extract and almond extract. Pour slowly into the flour mixture and continue mixing at low speed until dough comes together in a sticky ball from the side of the bowl.
  4.  Dump onto a lightly floured board. Pat down into a circle of about 3/4 of an inch thick. Cut into 8 wedges with a lightly floured knife or pizza cutter.
  5. Lay close together but not touching on the baking sheet. They will rise and touch as they bake and you’ll have nice soft sides where they do, crispy ones where they didn’t.
  6. Bake at 375 for about 17 minutes or until they are nicely browned and firm on top. Don’t over bake or you’ll lose that great texture!
  7. When done, let cool for about minute in the pan, then carefully transfer over to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  8. For glaze, simply whisk together all the glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Drizzle over the cooled scones.

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Extra Rich Corn Muffins With Homemade Honey Butter

 

Extra-Rich-Corn-Muffins-With-Homemade-Honey-Butter

Extra-Rich-Corn-Muffins-With-Homemade-Honey-Butter

I think I’m completely incapable of making a recipe that is 100% good for me (you, my family, the rest of the world). I instinctively search out the worst for you version of…well… everything. Ice cream? I go for the high fat premium stuff. My homemade bread puddings? I have to cover them in a puddle of heavy cream and if the recipe called for making it with low fat milk, you’d better believe I’ll be substituting cream. I am not, surprisingly enough, a huge sugar fan. My weakness is anything creamy and/or buttery. Richness is my downfall.

That of course is why, even though I lost almost 50 pounds last year, I’m still overweight lol. I am, I think, totally unwilling to live a life that isn’t filled with rich and creamy foods. This and the fact that I’m old, not that pretty,  saggy and practically toothless is the reason that the modeling world never need worry about me taking it by storm and shoving out all the young girls. However, if I were to give all the supermodels one or eight of these muffins, they too would end up with my love for rich foods and that would be the end of the modeling world as we know it. Hey… I may be onto something here. THIS is the way to get normal sized models featured more. Just FEED the poor women; make them realize how yummy food is lol.

And these are pretty yummy. They come from The Pastry Queen cookbook which is a damned awesome cookbook and one that I plan on using often. The only thing I would change about these would be the ratio of flour to corn meal. They could use a bit more of the cornmeal flavor, less of the flour. So next time I will probably increase the cornmeal one cup, decrease the flour one cup. I also cut the sugar down to about 1/3 of a cup because I am of the school that says cornbread should either be not sweet at all or just barely. ANDDDDDD, I used frozen corn because it’s too early in the year for fresh here and canned corn should be outlawed… nasty nasty stuff.

Extra Rich Corn Muffins

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 cup heavy cream
  • 3 large egg
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup sugar (I used 1/3 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fresh, frozen or canned corn (optional)
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (optional- my addition)
  • 1/4 cup canned chopped green chiles (optional- my addition)
  • Honey Butter-
  • 1 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional- I prefer it without but some people like the addition of cinnamon)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line 24 muffin cups. I used 12 muffin cups and a 8 count mini loaf pan.
  2. Pour the cream, butter and eggs into the bowl of a stand mixer (this can all also be done with a hand mixer or even by hand if you have strong arms 😛 ) fitted with the paddle attachment.
  3. Add the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt on top. Mix at medium speed just until the ingredients are combined and not lumpy. Stir in the corn (and the cheese and chiles if using)
  4. Scoop the batter into the prepared pans, filling them about 2/3 full. This is a very thick batter, almost more dough like than batter like so don’t think you goofed up when it’s thick.
  5. bake at 350 degrees until they are a light golden brown and spring back when touched, about 15 minutes.
  6. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool slightly but these are best served warm, like most muffins. They reheat nicely in the microwave however.
  7. For the honey butter, put the butter and honey in a small bowl (the cinnamon too if using). Beat at medium speed until smooth and creamy. taste and add more honey if you like it sweeter. Store this in the fridge covered will as it will pick up refrigerator odors if not covered.

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