blackberry scones

Mixed Berry Scones

Mixed Berry Scones

I had been cleaning out the freezer and found some berries from last summer. I decided to use some of them to make these scones.  Even when the weather is chilly- berry scones make me think of warm summer days.

I used a combination of blueberries and  blackberries, but raspberries would work nicely, too. I was so pleased with how they came out. They were a little crisp on the outside, but crumbly and tender on the inside.

These scones aren’t too sweet. With scones, I think you can always sweeten them up by serving them with jam, if you like. I had one for breakfast this morning, and it was wonderful. Still warm from the oven.

They could also be used as a dessert- as the base for a shortcake. Split the scones, add some sweetened berries, sweetened whipped cream or ice cream as a filling. Top with whipped cream or more berries. A simple, classic dessert.

The secret to a tender scone is to be gentle with the dough. Do not mix it too much. As soon as the dough holds together, you are good to go. I used an ice cream scoop to portion them out. If you are rolling out scones, try to cut as many out at one time as possible. Each time you re-roll scraps of dough- the scones become a little tougher.

Here is the recipe.

Mixed Berry Scones 

2 c. flour

1/4 c. sugar

1 T. baking powder

¾ t. salt

6 T. chilled butter

1 ½ c. berries, fresh or frozen- do not thaw berries – I used blackberries and blueberries

1 t. lemon or orange zest

2 large eggs

1/3 c. heavy cream

Mix dry ingredients together in bowl and cut in butter to resemble coarse crumbs. Toss in blueberries and zest. Beat together eggs and cream and stir into flour mixture. Mix very gently to avoid bruising berries. Use a small ice cream scoop to scoop out batter and place on baking sheet. Place scoops about an inch apart. Press down slightly. Brush with a little cream and sprinkle with a little extra sugar. Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for 20-22 minutes. Makes 15-18.

New Year’s Brunch

Amaretto Pear Blintz with Candied Almonds

You can enjoy brunch all year long, but I really like brunches for the holidays. If you want to plan a special brunch for New Year’s Day- or any day- I’ve assembled some of my favorite brunch recipes.

I like to include both sweet and savory dishes. I also have coffee, tea and juices for drinking. Mimosas are always a good idea, too.

Amaretto Pear Blintzes with Candied Almonds

Blintzes:

4 (8-inch) flour tortillas, I used whole wheat

2 oz. milk

2 T. butter

Filling:

4 pears, peeled, cored and sliced

½ c. brown sugar

2 T. butter

2 T. Amaretto

1 t. cinnamon

1 t. vanilla

Pinch of salt

Almonds:

¾ c. sliced almonds

½ c. sugar

¼ c. water

½ t. cinnamon

Place tortillas in shallow dish and drizzle the milk over them. Try to get some milk on each of the tortillas to soften them. While the tortillas are softening, prepare the filling. In medium skillet, combine pears with the rest of the filling ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook on low heat for 3-4 minutes. Set aside. Combine almonds with the sugar, water and cinnamon in medium skillet. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring often. Cook until liquid is evaporated, about 5 minutes. Pour almonds onto a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking sheet or foil. Spread out and allow nuts to cool.

Place butter in skillet and start to heat up the pan. While pan is heating, divide pear filling among the 4 tortillas. Place filling along center of tortilla and fold up edges over, to cover the filling. Heat the tortillas, seam side down, in the pan until golden, turning to toast evenly on both sides. Remove from pan and place on serving plate. Top with some of the candied almonds. Serves 4.

 Steak and Pepper Omelet

oil

1 small onion, sliced

1 small red pepper, seeded and sliced

1 c. cubed cooked steak

3-4 eggs

2 oz. cheese- cut in small pieces or shredded*

salt and pepper to taste

dash hot pepper sauce

Heat oil in skillet and cook onion until golden. Add a little salt to the onions while they are cooking. Add pepper and cook until tender-crisp. Remove from pan and set aside. Heat same pan adding more oil, if needed. Beat eggs in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper and hot sauce to your taste. Pour eggs into hot skillet and swirl to coat bottom of skillet. Using a spatula lift eggs a little and tip pan to allow uncooked egg to get to surface of the pan. Once omelet is almost set place some of the pepper mixture on one half. Top with the steak and cheese. Using a spatula gently fold the empty half of the omelet over the fillings. Allow to cook one more minute and slide onto a serving plate.  Top with the remaining pepper mixture. Serves 2.

* I used Pepper Jack cheese because that is what I happened to have. Use any cheese you like.

Fresh Blackberry Scones

 2 c. flour

1/3 c. sugar

1 T. baking powder

¾ t.  salt

6 T. chilled butter

2 c. blackberries, fresh preferred, but you could use frozen

1 t. orange zest

2 large eggs

1/3 c. heavy cream or half and half

Mix dry ingredients together in bowl and cut in butter to resemble coarse crumbs. Toss in berries and zest. Beat together eggs and cream and stir into flour mixture. Mix very gently to avoid bruising berries. Use 1/2 cup ice cream scoop to scoop batter onto a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with a little extra sugar, if you like. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 22-24 minutes. Makes 10-12.

Blueberry Sweet Rolls

3-3 1/2 c. bread flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 1/3 c. evaporated milk
6 T. butter
1/4 c. sugar
1 t. salt
1 egg
6 T. butter, melted

1/2 c. sugar
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. grated lemon or orange peel
2 c. fresh or frozen blueberries

In bowl combine 1 1/2 c. of the flour with the yeast, sugar and salt. Heat together the milk and 2T. of the butter until warm and add to the flour mixture, beating 2 minutes. Add egg and beat 2 minutes longer. By hand stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding flour as needed until dough becomes moderately stiff. Place in greased bowl, turning once to coat and cover. Allow to double in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch dough down, cover, and let rest 10 minutes. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a 14×8 inch rectangle. Brush dough with the melted butter. Combine the remaining sugar, peel and cinnamon and sprinkle over the dough. Top with the blueberries and press the berries into the dough. Starting at the long side roll up dough jelly roll fashion and seal edge by pinching. Repeat with second roll. Cut each roll into 12 slices and place 12 rolls in greased 9 inch round pans. Cover pans and allow to rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. While rolls are warm, you can top with a powder sugar glaze, if desired. Makes 24.

Ham and Asparagus Quiche

1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust

1½ c. shredded cheese – I used Havarti

4 t. flour

1½ c. diced cooked ham

12 oz. asparagus, trimmed, cut in ½- inch pieces and steamed 3 minutes

4 eggs

1 c. milk or half and half

2 T. fresh chopped parsley or 2 teaspoons dried

¼ t. salt

1T. Dijon mustard

1 t.  hot sauce

Toss cheese with flour in a bowl and place in pie crust. Sprinkle the ham and asparagus over the cheese and set aside. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl beating well to combine. Pour over the ham and asparagus mixture and bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for 15 minutes. Turn down heat to 350-degrees and bake until knife inserted off-center comes out clean, about 30 minutes more. Makes 1.

Note: This quiche freezes well. After adding the fillings just wrap in heavy foil and freeze solid until ready to bake. When ready to bake unwrap and allow to sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes. Bake as with the fresh version, but add another 10-15 minutes to the baking time. If you don’t want to freeze the pie pan, you can line the pie pan with foil before you add the crust. Once it is frozen you can remove the frozen quiche from the pie pan and wrap, returning to freezer. When ready to use unwrap and put the quiche back in the pie pan before baking. Or, if you are planning on freezing it, you can use a foil pie pan.

Scotch Eggs

6 hard-cooked eggs, well chilled

1 pound breakfast sausage

1/2 cup flour

2 eggs, beaten

3/4 cup fine bread crumbs

Vegetable oil for frying

Peel eggs and set aside. Divide sausage into 6 portions. Roll each egg in flour and with hands press a portion of the sausage around each egg. If the sausage sticks to your hands, dip your hands in a little water to make pressing the sausage easier. Dip sausage-wrapped eggs into beaten eggs and roll in bread crumbs. Heat vegetable oil to 350 degrees.  Cook each egg in oil about 4-5 minutes or until sausage is cooked and browned. Drain on paper toweling. Serve warm. Makes 6.

Reuben Strata

12 slices rye bread

6 slices Swiss cheese

12 oz. thinned sliced corned beef- or 2 cups chopped corned beef

1 c. sauerkraut, squeezed dry

½ c. Thousand Island dressing*

3 eggs

2 c. milk

½ t. salt

½ t. hot pepper sauce, or to taste

Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish. Place six slices of bread on bottom of the dish. You might have to trim the bread to fit. Top each slice of bread with a slice of cheese. Top cheese with the corned beef and sauerkraut. You can use a little more or less sauerkraut, depending on your taste.  Spoon about a tablespoon of the dressing over each “sandwich”. Top with remaining six slices of bread, trimmed to fit pan, if needed. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over sandwiches. Cover dish and let stand in the fridge, several hours or overnight. Bake, uncovered, in a 350-degree oven for 40-45 minutes, or until puffed and set. Let sit a few minutes before serving. Serves 6.

Orange and Oatmeal Scones

2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup very cold, unsalted butter – cut into chunks
1 egg
1/2 cup orange juice
2 t. grated orange peel
1 cup raisins – plumped and well dried
Glaze
milk, sugar, orange zest

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (double two sheets if you have them – one inside the other). Preheat oven to 425 F. In a large bowl, place flour, oatmeal, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and mix together. Cut or rub in butter to make a mealy mixture. Stir in egg and orange juice. Add orange peel and raisins. Mix to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead for a few minutes. Roll or pat out into a thickness of 1/2 inch. Using a serrated cookie cutter cut into disks or rounds. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar and orange zest. Bake until nicely browned – about 14 minutes. Makes about 24.

Cinnamon-Vanilla Belgian Waffles

2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 t. cinnamon
2 eggs, separated
1-1/2 cups half and half- or milk
1 cup butter, melted
2 t. vanilla extract

Sliced fresh strawberries, powdered sugar or syrup

In a bowl, combine dry ingredients. In another bowl, lightly beat egg yolks. Add milk, butter and vanilla; mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until combined. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into batter. Bake in a preheated waffle iron according to manufacturer’s directions until golden brown. Serve with strawberries, powdered sugar or syrup. Yield: 10 waffles (about 4-1/2 inches).

Stuffed French Toast

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened

1 t. vanilla

1/2 c. chopped nuts

1 16-oz. loaf French bread

4 eggs

1 c. whipping cream or half and half

1 t. vanilla

1/2 t. ground nutmeg

Mix together cream cheese, vanilla and nuts. Set aside. Cut bread into 10-12 1 1/2 inch slices. Cut pocket in each slice and fill with 1 1/2 T. filling. Combine eggs and whipping cream with remaining vanilla and nutmeg. Use tongs to dip the bread, taking care not to squeeze out the filling. Cook toast on lightly greased griddle until browned on both sides.  Keep toast warm in oven until ready to serve. Serve with maple syrup, warmed preserves or powdered sugar. Makes 10-12 slices.

Beautiful Blackberries

Blackberries!!

Blackberries!!

I was lucky to get almost 4 pounds of blackberries today. Now I have to decide what to do with them. Baking? Jam? Sorbet? What would you do with them?

Here are some things I have done with blackberries before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blackberry Jelly

3 quarts blackberries*

1/2 c. water

1 box powdered pectin

5 c. sugar

Place the berries in a pot and use a potato masher to crush the berries. Add the water and simmer until the berries are soft. Strain out the solids and then pour the juice through several layers of cheesecloth to clarify. You should end up with about 4-5 cups of juice. Place juice in a pot and add the pectin. Bring mixture to a boil stirring constantly. Add the sugar and return mixture to the boil, again stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim off any foam. Ladle mixture into clean, hot jelly jars and fill to 1/4 inch from the top. Seal and repeat with remaining jelly.  Place in a boiling water bath and process 10 minutes. Makes 6-7 half pints.

* Best if some of the berries are a little under ripe. Higher in natural pectin.

Note: I decided to take the solids and seeds and place them in a large jar and cover them with vodka so I can make liqueur later. We’ll see how that works out in a few weeks. I’ll sweeten that mixture later after filtering out the solids.

Blackberry Scones

 2 c. flour

1/3 c. sugar

1 T. baking powder

¾ t.  salt

6 T. chilled butter

2 c. blackberries -do not defrost if using frozen

1 t. orange zest

2 large eggs

1/3 c. heavy cream or half and half

Mix dry ingredients together in bowl and cut in butter to resemble coarse crumbs. Toss in berries and zest. Beat together eggs and cream and stir into flour mixture. Mix very gently to avoid bruising berries. Use 1/2 cup ice cream scoop to scoop batter onto a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with a little extra sugar, if you like. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 22-24 minutes. Makes 10-12.

 

Blackberry Cinnamon Muffins

 1 c. milk

1 egg

¼ c. oil

2 c. flour

1/3 c. sugar

1T. Baking powder

¾ t. salt

½ t. cinnamon

1 c. blackberries, I used fresh but frozen would work, too.

Topping:

1/2 c. sugar

1 t. cinnamon

4 T. butter, melted

Beat together milk, egg and oil. Combine dry ingredients and add to milk mixture, stirring to just moisten flour. Fold in blackberries. Fill 12 paper lined muffin cups to 3/4 full.  Bake in preheated 400-degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Place melted butter in another bowl. When muffins are removed from the oven carefully dip the top of a muffin in the melted butter and then in the cinnamon sugar. If muffins are too hot to hold wait a few minutes before dipping. Repeat with remaining muffins. Serve warm. Makes 12.

 

 

Blackberry Scones

Blackberry Scones

Blackberry Scones

I was in the mood for scones and was thinking of using some of my frozen blueberries but while looking for them in the freezer I saw the frozen blackberries first and ended up making blackberry scones instead. The end result was pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. Warm from the oven they are  crisp on the outside and moist and tender inside with a lot of juicy blackberries. Think it’s time to put on water for tea.  Here is the recipe so you can make them, too.

Blackberry Scones

 2 c. flour

1/3 c. sugar

1 T. baking powder

¾ t.  salt

6 T. chilled butter

2 c. blackberries -do not defrost if using frozen

1 t. orange zest

2 large eggs

1/3 c. heavy cream or half and half

Mix dry ingredients together in bowl and cut in butter to resemble coarse crumbs. Toss in berries and zest. Beat together eggs and cream and stir into flour mixture. Mix very gently to avoid bruising berries. Use 1/2 cup ice cream scoop to scoop batter onto a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with a little extra sugar, if you like. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 22-24 minutes. Makes 10-12.