Monday, August 31, 2015

Flaky Cream Cheese Scones

I have been looking forward to making scones
more than any other recipe in 
The Baking Bible.
Ever since Starbucks introduced 
Mini Vanilla Scones
into our lives
we have become scone loving nutters.
They changed vendors, the scone quality suffered horribly
and then stopped carrying them all together.
Their biggest selling treat.
Go figure.

My maternal and paternal great-grandparents
were from England
yet oddly, scones were never made on either side 
of my family of enthusiastic bakers.
Biscuits, however, were.
Gorgeous, perfect breakfast biscuits. 
For two such similar things,
I find it peculiar scones were never served with tea.
And we drink a lot of tea.
With milk and sugar.
Something that never ceases to amuse people.

These are Flaky Cream Cheese Scones that almost weren't.
After assembling the ingredients 
I was having a quick look on the Alpha FB site
and saw Tony's mention of finishing the scones
without the Raspberry Caramel sauce.

What sauce?  There's sauce?

While looking for the elusive sauce, I discovered
I was all set to make the wrong scones.
Back to Trader Joe's. 

Chilled butter, cream cheese, flour, sugar, baking powder,
salt and mixed dried blueberries, cherries and golden raisins.
I like this dried fruit mix at Trader Joe's.

Rose then called for softly whipped cream and honey to be
stirred in.  This is a step I have never seen in any other
scone recipe and it's brilliant.

Patting the dough into a disk via a cake pan,
wrapped and chilled,  they were ready for
The Bake
after slicing into wedges.
This really is an incredibly easy recipe.

So far they've been a huge hit,
and that's before the sauce.
Who could wait for sauce 
with these warm out of the oven?
Should have made the sauce first!

Pureed reduced raspberry syrup with creamy caramel mixture.
Stirred together they make a wonderful drizzle.

Folded into whipped cream, 
well in what we have come to expect
as typical Rose fashion,
it takes these scones right over the top.

I feel quite accomplished
being able to turn out a flaky scone
along side all my favorite
British shows.
I have a long history of
scone envy.
I was told the secret to making a 
good scone is cold hands.
With Rose's recipe,
that is luckily not a requirement. 

The leftover raspberry caramel whipped cream
is excellent frozen.
A light, fluffy, ice cream.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Woody's Black and White Browiies

This is the brownie that could easily be on 
one of those late night commercials for some
gadget or another~
"But wait!  There's more!"
When I first saw we were making brownies on Marie's
site, I was so relieved.

Ahh, good, a quick and easy recipe.
Just what I need.

"Not so fast", warned my daughter.  "This is after all a Rose recipe." 

Still, brownies, how complicated could they be?
And then I read the recipe.
This definitely was not going to be a Q and E.
What can I say?  I fell off the baking mojo.
Having my daughter with her new baby here for two weeks was wonderful
and truthfully, a three month old doesn't leave a lot of time for 
things like baking.

Rocking took center stage.
What wasn't wonderful was she came to pick up her eldest daughter
who spends the summer with us.
I miss the hubbub that only a teenager can bring.
I miss her smile, her infectious laugh,  
her presence.
In short, I haven't felt much like baking.

Assembling the ingredients got me focused.

Going through the freezer looking for pecans,
I found a bag of frozen dreamy creamy frosting.

So really, this did turn into a somewhat Q & E.

Once the brownie base was made, I whipped the thawed
Dreamy Creamy and spread it over the top,
turning the leftover into truffles.

After sufficiently chilled,
it was time to make the ganache,
one of my favorite things to do.

And that's it! 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Perfect Peach Galette

These are the few pictures 
of the peach galette.

The day it was made, the flavors were
amazing.  By the next day, they waned
and everyone wanted extra sugar and a bit
of cinnamon sprinkled over the top.
The crust was also much better the first day.
Other than that, this was a fun recipe to make.
I can't wait to try it with apples.
The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Rootbeer Beer Bread

This month's Bread Bible recipe is
for Rose's Beer Bread.
I really can't stand beer; the taste, the smell,
the fumes at twenty paces.
So when I asked the gal at Trader Joe's 
which beer was less like beer,
she excitedly said 

I was a bit confused but she assured me 
it was indeed real beer..
With 5.9% alcohol content
it qualified.  

So I bought a bottle for my 
daughter and I to make the beer bread.

It was an easy dough to mix up with
very few ingredients.

I followed Kim's advice and checked it early.
It baked fifteen minutes less than 
called for and still was over done.

The rootbeer beer gave it a slightly
sweet flavor that lends very well with 
different jams. 
Rose Levy Beranbaum

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Whole Wheat Walnut Loaf

Whole Wheat Walnut Loaf
The Baking Bible
by Rose Levy Beranbaum

I really didn't know what to expect with this recipe.
I couldn't imagine what it would be like and
truthfully, wasn't that excited.
I found wheat gluten at my regular market, still had
walnut oil from one of the recipes, Swedish Apricot Bread maybe?
The rest of the ingredients were simple enough.
So when the first Alpha Baker postings started to show up,
I was intrigued.
And now, pleasantly surprised.

It's really good!
The crust and texture are nice.
I did brush the top with walnut oil
when it came out of the oven.

I like it with cream cheese and jam.
Curious to see what it will be like tomorrow toasted.
It was so easy to make,

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Elderblueberry Pie

We're off and rolling out pie dough this week on 
Rose's Alpha Bakers.

Rose created an elderberry pie with equal amounts of blueberries
in The Baking Bible.
Elderberries grow across North America, Europe, Western Asia 
and North Africa. 

Not one store in my town carried fresh elderberries
even though the city is surrounded by them.

This is the elusive elderberry bush.  By the size of the trunk it must have been well over
a hundred years old.  It is also a protected species but the park ranger said

"Just don't be conspicuous."
Yes, an undercover elderberry caper. 

There were many Western Elderberry bushes, tall as trees, growing along the river.
The tangled bush had delicate elderberry flowers, new green elderberries, 
ripe elderberries and dried elderberries from last year.
It finally dawned on me there was more than one elderberry bush in the mayhem.
Most had a white color over the dark blue/purple
which I learned is the "bloom" when the berries are ripe.
Had I known, I would have only picked whitish ones.
The bloom doesn't wash off.

They are tiny little things.  The smallest berry I have ever seen.
They easily came off the stems.

After all that, they didn't fill the required two cups
but weighed exactly the right amount.

Gotta love grams!

Blueberries are at the peak of the season.

The berries, cornstarch, water and sugar brought to a boil.

Lemon juice stirred into the thickened berries.

Poured into Rose's cream cheese pie crust and off to the oven.

And here it is!

The flavor is very mild.
I realize wild elderberries may differ in intensity
from cultivated elderberries.
The ratio of sugar to berries may need a bit of adjusting.
I also miss the punch of lemon zest that Rose's 
other berry pies have.
A day later, however, the flavor intensified.
It is a delightful pie.

This has certainly been a learning experience.
I had no idea I lived in the midst of elderberries.
It never occurred to me why 
an award winning restaurant serving French cuisine
 near Yosemite, is so named.
is the adjoining five star accommodations 
which translates to Castle Elderberry.
I just thought it was a cute name and
put it on my wish list of places to go one day.

While searching around for elderberries, I came across
an elderberry walking tour and taste testing with elderberry ice cream and scones
but alas,  it was filled up. 

I have to say, it made me realize how urbanized I am.
It's a bit daunting to be out in the "wilds" wondering if I
 was picking the right thing.  
And yet, it felt hauntingly eerie being on land where Native Americans 
gathered elderberries for centuries.
They understood the berries many medicinal properties.

Image result for paintings of california native americans

Monday, July 20, 2015



Want to hear how it is pronounced?
here ya go

Correct pronunciation or not, 
these are exquisite Greek cookies.
If I don't make any other cookies for Christmas
this year, I will make Rose's Kourambiethes.
They've gone right to the top of the list.

Very simple to put together with few 
ingredients, the secret is in clarifying
a pound of butter.  Or in my case, a 
pound and a half.  

This is a brilliant move, totally changing the flavor profile
of what essentially is a typical tea cake cookie.
My first memory of my mother baking was making
Russian Tea Cakes for Christmas 
out of the old Betty Crocker Cookbook.
I've always loved any variation, either with walnuts or 
pecans.  This is the first one with almonds.

Every fall, my brother and I go to the huge annual Greek Food Festival in our town.
I asked him if he ever tried these because I haven't.
I'm too busy savoring baklava.

You mean those hard as a rock flavorless cardboard powdered sugar cookies?

Boy, is he in for a treat!
These cookies literally crumble apart with the first bite.
They are incredibly delicate and tender.

The dough is divided into thirds so with the first batch I followed through by the recipe,
except for punching up the orange juice with 1/2 teaspoon of orange oil.
and salt.
For the remainder of the dough, I folded in the zest of half an orange.
This was just enough to give the cookies more of an orange accent.
The tricky part has been to pull them out before they over brown.
My oven is baking them too quickly.
Doesn't seem to matter.
Everyone who has tried these Kourambiethes 
just loves them.

This is the coconut oil version for my
five year old dairy free granddaughter.
Really unfair watching her sister holding a powdered sugar
confection so I mixed up a second batch.

Five year old with new baby brother

I used all the same quantities.  The flavor is quite good; the cookies
spread out thinner is all.
I call that a win in a five year old's world.
Now I'm wondering if they could be turned into chocolate
dairy free cookies with the addition of cocoa powder.
Back to the Kitchenaid!
The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum