Have you ever been to a tea house for afternoon tea? And had their yummy scones and clotted cream? I’m lucky to have a few tea houses nearby and the scones are always so light with a moist crumb. I’ve tried a few recipes at home trying to duplicate the texture, and I’ve gotten pretty close, but I’m a lazy cook, so it’s not often I feel like making them from scratch. Which seemed to be the only way to make really yummy ones. Till now.
I discovered that if I start with a baking mix, like Krusteaz® or Bisquick® , then cut in some additional butter with a fork or pastry blender, I get the texture I’m looking for! Much easier than pulling a counter full of ingredients out of the cupboards to start from scratch. Here’s my recipe for simple scones with some dried fruit mixed in. Although tea houses serve tiny cute little wedges, I make big biscuit shaped ones. Remember, I’m lazy. As a side note, I’ve noticed I need a little more sugar when using Bisquick® than when using Krusteaz®. Now, to figure out a way to get clotted cream without having to go to the specialty store….
1¼ cups baking mix (Bisquick or Krusteaz)
2 Tablespoons cold butter
6 Tablespoons cold milk
1 Tablespoon sugar
¼ cup dried fruit, such as cherries or raisins or apricots
Brush on top: 2 Tablespoons melted butter
Sprinkle on top: granular sugar
1. Preheat oven to 400°
2. Cut the cold butter into the baking mix. Don’t mix too thoroughly- just until the butter is broken into chunks the size of peas. Add the cold milk and sugar and mix until just combined.
3. Drop ¼ cup portions onto ungreased baking sheet.
4. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until the tops turn light brown.
Try to let them cool a little before diving into them… just try. This recipe makes a small batch because it’s my way of limiting myself, really. Enjoy!
Five minutes after plating them…
Although it’s not quite time for me to start my holiday baking, I couldn’t wait any longer to bite into my favorite cookie. I’m not sure why I only make these at Christmas time, but it might have something to do with the fact that if I made these any more often, my waistline would be considerably more, well, more.
The warm, spicy smell of these cookies brings back deep, wonderful Christmas memories of being in my childhood kitchen, rosy cheeked from ice skating in the pond next to our house, and washing down the cookies with hot cocoa. The texture is soft and chewy and the strong molasses flavor is memorable. A cookie to be savored, not merely gobbled.
Here’s the recipe for Kris Kringle Molasses Cookies. My recipe card for these is written in my childhood scrawl, so apparently I knew at a young age that these were destined to be part of my life and my memories. At the bottom I wrote, “double recipe needed.” That’s how much I love them! Try a batch, and let me know if these will be part of your baking traditions as well.
Kris Kringle Molasses Cookies
¾ cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup molasses
Sift together and stir in:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours. When dough is chilled, pour about ¼ cup white sugar into a shallow bowl. Preheat oven to 375°.
Roll chilled dough into walnut-sized balls and dip the tops in the sugar. Place, sugared side up, 3″ apart on greased baking sheet. Before placing in oven, sprinkle pan with a few drops of water to encourage the cookies to have crackled top. Bake till just set, about 10-12 minutes. Now just sit back and try to resist!
That happy sigh is the only thought my brain can come up with right now. There’s a cup of special tea sitting in front of me right now and just the scent of the steam rising from the pale liquid is sooo satisfying.
Pearl tea. Ever heard of it? Neither had I till I had some at a tea house in Washington D.C. Worth gushing about. As I am here…
The variety I’m sipping today is green tea from China. Each fresh tea leaf is individually rolled into a little ball and dried, hence the name. They look like little pearls and they taste just as extravagant. Don’t ask the price, it’s irrelevant. That’s what I tell myself, anyway.
dozen pearls of wonder
Steep it in water that’s just come to a bubble, not boiling. Wait 3 minutes. The little pearls unfurl and release a glorious aroma along with a very smooth taste. No cream or sugar for me, just the tea please.
Yea, that’s what I’m talkin’ about. Love in every cup. Hope you get to try some!
Here’s my favorite way to use Thanksgiving leftovers. Toasted french bread, sliced turkey, black olives, and thousand island dressing. Yum. Lettuce on the sandwich and cranberry sauce on the side would have been nice, but I’m out of both of those items. I ate it anyway.
For some unexplainable reason, I have no picture of my own roasted turkey. Actually triplet turkeys. Two for Thanksgiving, one after Thanksgiving because there were no leftovers. Must have leftovers. Two of the beauties were roasted simply with butter and whatever herbs were still alive in my backyard, all chopped and mixed together, and spread underneath the skin before putting in the oven. Honestly, what makes a better crunchy skin than roasting it in butter?
The third turkey was my experiment of the year. I try to hold myself to only trying one new thing at holiday gatherings so I don’t ruin the whole meal if an experiment bombs. This year I tried a recipe by Paula Deen of Food Network fame- her Roasted Turkey with Fried Pecan-Bourbon Glaze. Oh, my. I’ve never been to the deep South, but if I went, I think it would taste like this. Pecans fried in lots of butter (of course, for those of you who know Paula), mixed with sugar, molasses and bourbon. We referred to it as the candied turkey. If you, like me, picked up an extra turkey when they were on sale, try out this recipe. You could almost put the glaze on top of ice cream and like it.
I’ve almost got everything washed, pressed and put away from my big Thanksgiving gathering, so now it’s time to ramp up for Christmas. What’s on your to-do list?
I’ve always wanted to make really good biscuits. Most of the time, I’m in a time crunch and just do the Bisquick thing, but they always turn out crumbly and they’re not my family’s favorite. I want to make a biscuit that people remember– in a good way.
Hence my recent fascination with Alton Brown’s book, I’m Just Here for More Food.
In that geeky, science-y way that only Alton Brown can pull off, a whole section of the book is dedicated to learning about the biscuit method. Then he gives us his favorite recipe, a recipe that is four pages long. Very detailed. Just what I need. Here’s what I thought of my first try at his recipe:
We’ve had our first snow of the season! The cooler weather makes me crave time in the kitchen to bake. I don’t know why that is, but what I do know is I’m going to have a hard time fitting into my jeans tomorrow.
It probably started because I watched Bobby Flay make burgers on the Food Network. That, and the fact I have 25 pounds of hamburger waiting expectantly in my freezer. It was on sale. A really good sale. So Saturday I made bacon cheddar hickory smoked burgers topped with coleslaw. Sunday I made Italian burgers topped with mozzarella, spinach, and caramelized onions. They were grab-your-napkins good!
I haven’t been able to get down to my sewing machine lately due to one child packing to move out, another child’s cross country schedule, and my day job getting busier, but I did have enough time last night to make up a batch of homemade biscuit mix while dinner was cooking. The recipe comes from my very worn copy of Make-a-Mix Cookery by Karine Eliason, Nevada Harward and Madeline Westover. I’ve had this book since my college days, and I’m sure it’s the only cookbook I own that I can say I’ve made almost every recipe in the book. Honest. It satisfies my “make it myself” mentality, I guess. After making the mix, I was inspired to use it to put together some peach cobbler. Ya gotta love peaches while they’re in season.