Sometimes you just wanna be a little plain, am I right? (Ergo- lazy). It’s a total vanilla kind of day. If attitude were a flavor, it would be vanilla. You don’t want to put makeup on, you want to live in your jammies or sweats all day (same thing-duh!) and not get dressed. Forget about engaging your brain. You just want to exist. The couch is seriously calling your name. Perhaps you even called in sick or you blew off your first hour of class or perhaps the whole shootin’ day for that matter. You are oh so ready to binge watch something good all day while you are lazy as a fat cat on your over stuffed couch. Think Garfield on a Monday.
Yep, you are in a vanilla state of mind boo. The signs are all there….you’ve been needing a serious mental health day. Trust me- I’ve been there. Don’t EVEN feel guilty. No! you NEED THIS!
Enter the vanilla bean scone, dripping with vanilla glaze and coffee in hand. This recipe is so easy, you don’t have to think too much about it. This is what you need babe. I suggest you make these ahead of time through the shape and cut stage and freeze them solid on a sheet pan. Then pop them in a freezer bag and bake off as many as you want for those moments when you are feeling like being a little vanilla.
Vanilla Bean Cream Scones
yield: 8 scones
2 Cups all purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 C sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
5 Tbsp. cubed cold unsalted butter
1 Cup heavy cream
2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
Whisk together one egg and 1 tsp. heavy cream (or milk)
Vanilla Bean Glaze
1 Cup confectioners sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
In a food processor place, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and pulse to combine. Add cold cubed butter and pulse 4 times. Dump into a large bowl. Mix the heavy cream and vanilla bean paste together and pour in the bowl and mix gently with a rubber spatula until combined. Dump out onto a lightly floured board and gently knead about 5 times- just long enough for dough to come together. Pat into a round circle 8 inches wide. Cut into 8 equal triangles. Place onto a parchment lined sheet pan at least 1 1/2 inches apart. Chill for 30 minutes (while you go be lazy for a while). Preheat the oven to 425° F. Make sure the oven rack is in the middle position. Brush each scone with egg wash and bake for 15 minutes. Let scones rest for 10 minutes. Make vanilla glaze and drizzle each scone. I like to double drizzle because I’m kind of a slut when it comes to glaze, but if you want to, you can also totally cover them in glaze.
Note: If you are baking them from frozen state, don’t thaw but just bake them a little longer until golden brown.
Are you tired of pumpkin spice yet? Not me. I’ll find any reason to come up with a new coffee cake recipe. This time of year I always have a can or two of pumpkin puree for when the mood strikes.
The house smells amazing as this bakes, and the cake is divine. That’s all you need to know.
Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake
Pecan & Pumpkin Seed Streusel:
1 Cup all purpose flour
1/2 Cup sugar
1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 Cup), cut into small pieces and kept cold
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 Cup pecan pieces
1/4 Cup pumpkin seeds
In a bowl of a stand mixer place the flour, sugar, spices and salt. Stir to combine. Add the cold butter pieces and mix on low speed for about 5-6 minutes until mixture resembles coarse wet sand. Do not allow to form a dough. Mix in the pecan pieces by hand. Reserve the pumpkin seeds to sprinkle over later. Remove the streusel to a bowl and chill until ready to bake.
1 Cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground mace
3/4 Cup unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 Cup sugar
2 Lg. eggs, room temp
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 Cup pumpkin puree
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray a 9×9 square baking pan with baking spray.
In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and spices and set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and mix until combined. Add in the vanilla and pumpkin and mix until combined; don’t overbeat-note mixture will appear curdled but don’t worry. Add in the flour mixture all at once and mix gently on low until combined. Don’t overbeat. Pour the batter into prepared cake pan and smooth out top.
Remove streusel from the fridge and sprinkle over cake batter evenly (it will seem like a lot but use it all). Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds over the top of the streusel and bake in preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes. Cover with foil for last several minutes if seeds appear too brown.
Note: I finished my cake by placing under the broiler on lowest rack for a couple minutes to brown the streusel a bit further.
Allow to cool over a wire rack and serve warm or at room temp.
Pumpkin season is here! Have you been to Trader Joe’s?! If you have, then you know what I’m talking about- they take it to a whole other level, it’s a PUMPKINpalooza. Crazy. I left there in awe of all the pumpkin things they offer- it got me inspired to make a good pumpkin scone. It had to be moist, it had to have the right amount of spice, and it had to have a great glaze. I did three variations of the recipe before I came up with the right mixture of spice. FYI, pumpkin spice mix you buy in the store did not do it. Trust me on this. Pumpkin needs a lot of spice in order to let it sing. See below also for my tips on getting moist, tall scones.
Don’t you just love Fall? A good cup of hot cider, a great scone, the Sunday paper. What more does a girl need?
Pumpkin Spice Glazed Scones
yield: 8 scones
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup sugar
1 Tbsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. mace (seek this out- it makes all the difference!)
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 stick (1/2 C) cold cubed unsalted butter
1/2 Cup canned pumpkin puree
1 lg. egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3 Tbsp. heavy cream
[Tips for making great scones:]
- Cut the butter first into small cubes, and set back in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to keep cold while you measure out the rest of the ingredients.
- Using a food processor helps to avoid overworking the dough AND keeping the butter cold while mixing.
- Do NOT overwork the dough. Overworking/overmixing the dough results in a drier less moist scone.
- Chill the formed scones to help retain their shape when baking (results in a taller scone).
- Always use an oven thermometer to make sure the oven is calibrated to the exact temp called for in the recipe.
- Place the rack in the mid high portion of the oven rather than the lower portion (prevents bottoms getting too brown)
In a food processor place the flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and salt. Pulse 4-5 times to combine well. Add the cubed cold butter and pulse until mixture resembles a coarse meal with the butter resembling size of peas.
Dump the flour/butter mixture into a large bowl and form a well in the center. In a glass measuring cup whisk together the puree, egg, vanilla, and cream. Add puree mix to the flour mixture and with a rubber spatula fold in the dry ingredients until combined. DO NOT OVERMIX! Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and pat into a 7 inch circle. Cut like a pie into 8 equal wedges and place scones on prepared baking sheet, leaving at least 2 inches space between scones. Chill the scones in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425° F and prepare a sheet pan with either parchment paper or a Silpat liner.
Bake the chilled scones at 425° F for 15-16 minutes. Avoid overbaking to ensure a moist scone.
Let the scones cool before glazing.
To glaze: Prepare the classic glaze and dip the top of each scone into the glaze (some will run down the sides) and set on a wire rack over a piece of parchment. Once set- mix the spiced glaze and drizzle over each scone. FYI: I think they taste better a bit warm, so I nuke mine in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds.
3/4 Cup confectioners sugar + more if needed
2 1/2 Tbsp. milk
In a small bowl whisk together the glaze until smooth. Add a Tbsp. or more confectioners sugar as needed if glaze not thick enough. You don’t want it too thin.
Spiced Drizzle Glaze:
Once the scones are dipped in the classic glaze, use the leftover Classic Glaze in the same bowl and whisk in these spices: 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 1/8 tsp. nutmeg, pinch of ginger, pinch of cloves.
Note: to turn the glaze a more pumpkin color- I add a bit of chocolate brown gel paste food coloring along with electric yellow gel paste to achieve the perfect pumpkin color; using a toothpick of each at a time until desired color. Wait until the classic glaze is set until you drizzle the spice glaze over.
Why do I feel a bit guilty when I eat a pop tart. Like I have to come up with some well thought out excuse why I want one. Maybe I just want a sugar laden rocket launch to head me into the 9 o’clock morning hour. Maybe I want an excuse to have a frosting covered dual slab o’ pastry for breakfast. With sprinkles. Maybe I’m calling out my inner 5 yr. old. Maybe, just maybe, I just kind of enjoy it. I still feel a bit guilty though- as I peel open with my teeth all kindergarten like, into that flimsy foil that houses the sugar slab of love. You know how there is always that one corner that gets super browned by the toaster and you always go for the corner bit to start? That super crispy corner gets me every time. Then you hit the warm oozy jam part and it’s like a guilty pleasure. The devil on the left shoulder is telling you, “Oh yeah, it’s good isn’t it?” and the angel on the right shoulder is telling you “You shoulda had bran flakes”. Forget bran flakes….
one recipe fearless pie crust
blueberry butter (purchased) Note: you can use any filling of your choice such as a thicker jam or preserves; a more tart filling is best to off set the sweet icing.
1 Cup confectioners sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
colored sugar sprinkles
Assembly: Roll out pie crust to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into triangles measuring 3×5 inches. Spread blueberry filling (about 1 Tbsp) into a thin layer; leaving about 1/2 inch border so filling is not too close to edge. Top with second pie crust rectangle and seal edges by pressing together with a fork. Pierce the tops of each tart with the tines of a fork about 6-8 times. Bake in preheated oven at 375° F for about 15 minutes or until crust looks set. Remove from oven and let cool on the tray over a wire rack. Once completely cooled- dip tops into icing and decorate as desired with sprinkles or sugar.
For Icing: mix together sugar and milk until smooth. If icing is too runny add a bit of extra sugar a teaspoon at a time.
I’ve got a bad case of the winter blah blah blahsss. I’m dreaming of sunny skies, cool night breezes-the kind that beckon sleeping with the windows open, tart red cherries, and sipping cold lemonade on a hot summer day… I thought this coffee cake would lighten the mood with it’s tart burst of cherries and crunchy sugary top it’s just the thing to remind me of summer. I used frozen (thawed) sour cherries. Growing up my Mother used to squirrel away frozen fruit in a huge freezer so we would have any kind of berry or fruit all Winter long for such a baking occasion. I like to squirrel away fruit too- I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…
Cherry Streusel Coffee Cake
1/2 Cup milk
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
3/4 Cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 granulated sugar
1 lg. egg
1 3/4 Cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 Cup (generous) cherry preserves, divided (I like Smuckers)
2/3 Cup frozen tart cherries, thawed (If you can’t find frozen tart cherries- you can substitute 1 Cup of dried tart cherries)
1. Make the streusel as per below and set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Prepare an 8 inch pan by lining with a parchment sling so that all sides have an overhang of about 1 1/2 inches. Spray the parchment with baking spray or lightly butter.
3. In a small bowl combine the milk and lemon juice and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in the egg and lemon zest and combine well. Add the vanilla and almond extract. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients and whisk with a fork.
4. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients alternating with the milk mixture in two additions, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Take 1/2 of the batter (it will be thick) and spread it evenly in the pan. Take 1/4 C of the jam and heat it slightly in the microwave for about 10 seconds. Spread the jam evenly over the batter, then sprinkle 1/3 Cup of the cherries over the preserves. Note: I blot the cherries dry first with a paper towel to prevent too much liquid in the batter. Take the remaining batter and dot spoonfuls of the batter over the first layer, then carefully spread batter, repeat by spreading the other half of the (warmed) cherry preserves, and sprinkle with remaining cherries.
Note: If you can’t find frozen cherries; you can fold in 1 Cup or more of dried cherries into the batter before spreading batter into the pan. (Still spread the cherry preserves onto the batter as called for in the recipe).
5. Sprinkle the streusel on top and bake in a preheated 350° F oven for 50-55 minutes until the streusel is set (doesn’t look too wet or loose) and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. If the top of the cake gets too brown you can cover with tinfoil for the last 5-10 minutes as needed. Let the cake cool in the pan set over a wire rack.
1/4 Cup sugar
1/4 Cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
5 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/3 Cup sliced almonds
1. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment (or in a bowl with a fork) combine all the ingredients except the almonds until appears crumbly. Stir in the almonds.
I don’t know why but for the last 2 weeks I’ve been craving a donut. I pushed it back into the corners of my mind and tried to wage war on it by eating yogurt every day. Then I added granola with berries to my yogurt. That SO did NOT work. On about the 8th day I woke up again and craved a donut. On the 9th day I started fantasizing about what kind of donut exactly it was that I needed. Not just any donut would do. However, I like my donuts simple. Nothing too crazy usually. That does not mean that for time to time I won’t experiment and come up with something outrageous; it’s just that when it comes to a donut craving it’s usually a simple sugar rolled donut or an “old fashioned” donut that calls me. I like my donuts pillowy soft and somewhat plush. I knew that a cake donut would not do. It had to be yeast, soft, and FRESH. The kind of donut you sink your teeth into.
This is that donut-a pillowy soft, fluffy interior kind of donut. When you bite into it, the sides envelope you like a feather bed kind of hug, then the sweet and tangy blackberry filling oozes just enough in contrast to the grainy sugar crystals that dance across your lips. Uh huh. You reach for your slightly bitter coffee to wash it down. Yep, I know. Some things are worth waiting for….
Happiness is a blackberry filled donut; pillowy soft on the inside and rolled in sugar
yield: about 1 dozen
recipe: adapted from “Glazed Filled Sugared & Dipped” by Stephen Collucci
3 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1 1/2 Cups (room temp-slightly warm) whole milk
3 Cups bread flour
3/4 Cup all purpose flour
1/4 Cup sugar + more for rolling donuts in
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/ tsp. nutmeg
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
Vegetable oil for frying
Blackberry seedless preserves for filling (I like Dickensons)
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment combine the milk and yeast on low speed for 2-3 minutes. You should see bubbling on the surface.
2. In a medium bowl combine the flours, sugar, salt, and nutmeg with a fork. Add the mixture to the stand mixer bowl and mix to combine. Switch to the dough hook, add the egg and vanilla and mix to combine. Add in the butter and mix on medium speed until well combined. Mix the dough for about 5-8 minutes until the dough gathers on the hook and pulls away from the bowl. The dough should feel mostly smooth but a little sticky. Form the dough into a smooth ball by gently working it with your hands or with a little floured work surface.
3. Grease a large bowl and place the dough in the bowl and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Place bowl in a warm, draft-free place and let dough rise until tripled in size. Line a sheet pan with wax paper- you will use this to place the cut donuts onto. Line another sheet pan with paper towels and place a wire rack over the towels.
4. Turn the risen dough onto a floured work surface and lightly flour the top of dough and roll gently into about 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 3 inch circular shapes or smaller if desired, place on prepared sheet pan lined with wax paper.
5. Fry donuts 1-3 at a time in a 350° F oil for about 1-2 mins per side until donuts are golden brown. Resist the urge to over fry donuts too dark as that will take away from the dough staying pillowy soft. Allow donuts to cool slightly over a sheet pan lined with paper towels over a wire rack. While donuts are still warm poke a hole in the side of each donut. Roll donuts in sugar and allow donuts to cool completely. When cooled then fill donuts with blackberry (seedless) preserves.
6. To fill donuts use a pastry bag fitted with a start tip (I used Ateco 822 size) and gently fill the donuts by squeezing the filling inside the holes of each donut.
If a cinnamon roll and a scone had a baby it would be a cinnamon swirl scone, yes? I know-stay with me (yes-it’s absurd-but just go with it). It’s what you make when your kid, husband or clan wants a cinnamon roll but you don’t want to futz with all the work of making rolls and quite frankly you don’t have the time…and DON’T you DARE whack a can of store bought something or other on the side of the counter. No, just no.
Cinnamon Swirl Scones
yield: one dozen scones
1/2 Cup light brown sugar
1 Tbsp. Saigon cinnamon
3/4 tsp. vanilla powder
1/8 tsp. mace
6 Tbsp. softened unsalted butter
In a small bowl with a silicone spatula mash together all the filling ingredients until well combined, set aside.
2 2/3 Cup self-rising flour
3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla powder
6 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes; kept cold
3/4 Cup cold buttermilk (or if you don’t have buttermilk mix together 3/4 Cup milk with 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice or 1/2 tsp. white vinegar and let sit for 10 minutes)
1 large egg
2 tsp. milk
1. With a fork whisk together the egg and milk and set aside.
1. In a stand mixer bowl place the dry ingredients and using a hand whisk or fork- mix well. Add the cubed cold butter and blend by hand with a pastry blender until mixture has pieces of butter the size of peas.
2. With the paddle attachment and mixer on low; pour in the buttermilk and mix until mixture just comes together. Remove dough and turn out onto floured surface, fold and knead together gently about 6 times until dough is no longer sticky. Pat and shape the dough gently into a rectangle and with a rolling pin, finish rolling dough into a 12×9 inch rectangle. If you don’t have a ruler- use a 1/4 sheet pan as a rough guide for size. Make sure you have ample flour underneath the dough so when you go to roll up the dough it does not stick to the counter. Lift up all 4 edges of dough and place any extra flour to ensure it is not sticking.
3. Smear the cinnamon filling onto the dough and leave about 1/2 inch space at both edges of long sides, and about 1/4 inch of space on borders of short sides. Take the long side of the rectangle that is furthest away from you and gently roll towards you taking about 1/2 inch at a time, rolling into a log as tight as you can. Once the log is completely rolled together- pinch the dough seam with your first two fingers to ensure it is sealed as tight as possible. With a bench scraper, cut log into 12 equal pieces. Place cut side of scones onto prepared pans- (6 scones onto each pan), reshaping into circles gently as needed and place at least 2 inches apart.
4. Preheat the oven to 450° F. Place pans in refrigerator to chill for 20 minutes. After chilling, brush top and sides of scones with egg wash; checking again to make sure the seams on each roll are sealed. Bake in preheated 450° F oven for 14-15 minutes until light golden brown. Note: some of the filling may ooze and seep out (don’t worry-it happens even if you are careful). Let scones cool on sheet pan placed over wire rack until almost completely cooled, then drizzle with icing per recipe below.
1 Cup + 3 Tbsp. confectioners sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
In a small bowl whisk together sugar and milk until smooth. Add additional sugar if needed to adjust consistency. You want a thickness that when pulling a table knife through the mixture; the icing does not hold the line of the knife.