Blackberry~Mint Popovers with Berry Sugar

Next to scones, popovers are probably my next favorite breakfast treat. They are light and don’t leave you feeling so full that you have to dive back into bed for a nap. They are quick to whip up too. I like to rest my batter in the fridge for an hour to let the flour become absorbed into the wet ingredients well. Ideally you can whip up the batter in a few mins then head to the shower or grab a cup of coffee and relax before you head back to the kitchen to pop in the oven. Just like scones, once you’ve made a basic batter the flavor additions are endless. Play around, have fun.

Popover Batter Ingredients:

3 large eggs

1 1/2 Cup whole milk (2% is fine)

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/4 Cup granulated sugar

pinch of salt

1 Tbsp. melted butter

1 1/2 Cups all purpose flour

3/4 C blackberries, rinsed and dried

2 Tbsp. finely (chopped/chiffonade) of fresh mint leaves (cut right before ready to stir into batter so leaves don’t darken).

2 Tbsp. melted butter for brushing after removing from oven

Mixed berry sugar for serving (see recipe below)

**Before you begin or while the batter is resting in the fridge make the mixed berry sugar. (or you can make the day before and store in a small covered container)

**Mixed Berry Sugar

Pulverize in a small food processor some freeze dried mixed berries (I buy the ones from Trader Joes) until you have a powdered consistency; then sieve to remove the excess seeds. Mix 1/4 cup granulated sugar with 1 1/2 Tbsp. of the mixed berry powder in a small bowl. You can save any extra of the mixed berry powder in a separate air-tight container.

Popover Batter

Place everything in a blender except the blackberries and mint. Process until just combined. Set aside in the fridge for one hour. Right before ready to bake. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Take out the batter from the fridge and pour into a 4 cup glass measuring cup if you have one or any other vessel you have where it is easy to pour from, and toss in the fresh mint and blackberries. Place your popover pan in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes to get really hot. Carefully remove with an oven mitt and spray each of 6 wells with nonstick spray. Pour in the batter equally into 6 wells; being careful to distribute berries fairly equally. Bake for 20 mins at 425 degrees, then drop to 350 degrees and continue to bake for an additional 20 mins or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and toss out onto a baking sheet pan and poke the bottom of each popover to release steam. brush all sides/top/bottom with melted butter and sprinkle with the mixed berry sugar.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

(full disclosure I didn’t have any milk so I used full fat coconut milk; which made the batter too thick; and so they didn’t rise as tall as usual, but they should for you if you use 2 % or regular milk).


Gingerbread Scones with Espresso Glaze

I never used to be a gingerbread flavor fan of anything. Something changed a few years ago I guess my taste buds changed and I suddenly flipped in the opposite direction. I now love gingerbread and I had to go about creating a recipe recently one morning. There is something I truly cannot stand when it comes to a scone; it cannot be even remotely dry. I can’t stand a dry scone. I know some people may scoff when they read my recipe and find out I use heavy cream. The cream creates a scone that will still be moist even a few days later (not to mention the butter). The dark brown sugar also helps in creating a moist scone as well as lending that molasses flavor that is needed when making gingerbread flavored treats. We were eating these even up to a week later and they were still moist. Please do not skip on the glaze; it makes these sconces sing! It may sound like an overpowering flavor next to the gingerbread but I assure it is not.

Gingerbread Scones

2 C all-purpose flour

1/4 C lightly packed dark brown sugar

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/8 tsp. ground cloves

8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed and very cold

1/2 Cup heavy cream very cold

1 egg yolk

1/4 Cup molasses (such as Grandmas brand)

In a small bowl combine the cold heavy cream and egg yolk with a small whisk or fork. Stir in the molasses and set the bowl back in the fridge for about 20 minutes to ensure the mixture is cold. In a large bowl combine the first 8 ingredients. Using a pastry blender cut in the butter until it resembles size of peas. Make a well in the center. Add in the wet cream mixture and combine until it becomes almost a cohesive ball. Gently bring the dough together by shaping with your hands just to bring the dough together so there are no stray bits. Tear off a large piece of plastic wrap and dump the scone mixture out and using a bench scraper (instead of your warm hands) shape and form into a long rectangle log with straight sides that measures about 10 1/2inches long x 1 1/4 inches high. You will have a log with straight sides as the picture shows below. Chill the scone “log” in the plastic wrap for about 20 minutes in the fridge or 10 mins in the freezer.


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. F. Line a baking sheet with either a Silpat liner or parchment paper. Unwrap the plastic wrap and using a bench knife/scraper cut into 8 equal sized triangle shaped scones. Brush the scones with a little bit of cold cream or beaten egg white that you have leftover. Space the scones a few inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees then drop the oven temp to 375 degrees and continue baking for another 5-6 minutes until set.

While the scones are baking mix up the glaze as per below. Note: The scones will be very soft so let them set up while still on the tray before attempting to move them.

(In this picture below; you’ll see the white spots; those are actually cold pieces of butter which ensures the scones are moist once baked).

(This is how the “log” will look once you shape it while in the plastic wrap; I also use a bench scraper to shape instead of my warm hands. Shape it into 10 1/2 inches long by 1 1/4 inch thickness x about 3 inches wide)

Allow the glaze to set and serve slightly warm or allow to cool completely.

Espresso Glaze

1 2/3 C confectioners sugar

2 Tbsp. coffee (It does not have to be hot).

1/4 tsp. + 1/8 tsp. finely ground instant espresso powder

In a bowl combine the sugar and espresso powder. Mix in the coffee until the glaze is combined.


Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

 

Are you a pumpkin spice lover or hater? I’m a lover. You haters must have a wee bit of a hard time this year as pumpkinpalooza explodes over everything-showering us with “punkin” delights. Ohhh…me- I love everything spice. Spice is the fruit of life; it’s what makes everything better. Have you ever had a cinnamon roll that just fell flat and didn’t have enough goo or cinnamon between the layers? yeah. I know. It’s a crime. Sooo calorie not worthy. There’s nothing worse than blowing your diet for a non calorie worthy bite. Of anything. This pumpkin roll will not disappoint. This is the roll where you eat salad all week-saving up your calories for just the right moment on a Sunday morning with a cup of Joe for. Promise. I can guarantee you it’s worth every calorie. Truth be told I think I had one roll on the tray that the very inner middle was a wee bit underdone. It was extra gooey and saturated with cinnamon goodness and extra pillowy soft. The Husband exclaimed “Honey, I think it’s a bit underdone” and I retorted; “Yeah, well some people would pay for that inner bite of goo”. He left it on the plate and I’m telling you….I went for that bite and it was pure nirvana. NIRVANA! He was born in Asia; so he didn’t grow up with cinnamon rolls where you know the most coveted bite is that inner piece of cinnamon jackpot bliss. His loss, my gain. Ok, enough of me waxing poetic, and onto the recipe…..

p.s. I cannot tell you how soft and luscious this dough is to work with and roll out. Shout out to Melskitchencafe for her recipe. I doesn’t fight you back when rolling; truth be told I pressed it out almost 80 percent and then just finished by rolling it even. It is that easy to work with. Something to do with that added moistness of the pumpkin makes it a divine dough.

 

Pumpkin Dough

( dough recipe from Mels Kitchen cafe)

3/4 Cup buttermilk, warmed to ~ 110 degrees F

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

1 large egg

2/3 Cup pumpkin puree (I swear by Libby’s it’s the only one I use)

1/4 C granulated sugar

1 Tbsp. instant (rapid rise yeast)

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp. ground ginger

1/8 tsp. ground cloves

4-5 Cups all purpose flour (I use unbleached)

In the stand mixer bowl add the warmed buttermilk and butter and mix together. With the mixter running add in the pumpkin, egg, spices and 1 cup of flour. Switch to the dough hook and add in the flour and add a cup of the flour at a time until the dough collects on the hook and beat/kneed until the dough becomes tacky but not sticky. When you touch the dough it should not stick to your finger when you pull it away from the dough; it will feel tacky but no residue of dough will stay; that’s when you know the dough is ready.

Remove dough and shape into a ball and place into a large lightly greased bowl. (The paper from the butter wrapper is perfect to grease the bowl with). Place in a warm spot and over with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled. You can speed up the rise if you place in a lightly warmed oven. I turned on my oven to 150 ° F then immediately turned it off; waited 5 mins then parked the bowl in the turned off oven. My dough rose in one hour this way.

When the dough is ready turn it out onto a lightly greased counter and press into a rectangular shape. Roll out gently until it is 16 x 12 inches. Spread the softened butter onto the dough leaving about a centimeter of space on all sides and sprinkle over all the cinnamon filling. It will seem like a lot of filling; but make sure to use it all. Press gently with the hands to allow the filling to adhere to the butter. With the long side in front of you roll up the dough as tightly as possible and pinch the dough together to seal. Cut into 12 equal pieces and place in lightly greased 9×13 inch pan or line the pan with parchment paper.

Cover the pan of rolls and allow to rise one more time in a warm place. (used the oven trick again for this and mine took only 40 mins to rise).

Preheat the oven to 350° F and bake for 22-25 mins or until lightly golden and cooked through. Mine took exactly 22 mins. Check at the 20 min mark though because you don’t want to over bake them. You want them still pillowy soft.

Let the rolls rest for about 6 mins, then pour over the glaze while they are still warm.

 

Cinnamon Filling

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

3/4 C brown sugar ( I used 2/4 and 1/4 dark)

2 tsp. cinnamon ( I use Saigon cinnamon) (use what you have)

 

Cream Cheese Icing  (my recipe)

4 oz. Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

1 tsp. vanilla

3 Cups confectioners sugar

2 Tbsp. whole milk as needed to adjust consistency (depending on how runny you like your icing)

Cream the cream cheese and butter together until combined. Add in the sugar a cup at a time and beat until smooth; (I just do this in a bowl; no need for the mixer). Stir in the vanilla and milk. Adjust the consistency with the milk as needed. Let the rolls rest about 6 mins then pour over the warm rolls.

 

 

 


Sweet Cherry Jam and Cream Cheese~Cherry Jam Crepes

Dark sweet cherries make the most amazing jam. It doesn’t even compare to store bought jam. I just buy fresh fruit a lot of times before I even know what I’m going to make with it. My mind starts swirling with all the possibilities. Last week I made a coffee cake thing with cherry jam filling that I had whipped up. The jam had oozed out a bit and so I didn’t exactly lend itself to a pretty photo, but the cake was still delicious and the Hubs ate it all up for me; which I was glad because I was trying to avoid indulging in more of it. Usually if I park something wrapped in plastic wrap next to the coffee pot it’s fair game. Now the filling or jam I guess you could call it; ended up being amazing. I was dreaming of crepes this morning so decided to whip up this little breakfast treat and boy they are amazing.

The filling consists of taking cream cheese and sweetening it JUST a bit so it’s not too sweet but sweet enough that it pairs beautifully with the dark cherry jam. I love love love crepes. I don’t make them enough. They are so easy to whip up and I find making them one by one in the pan is strangely for me-methodically relaxing in an odd way.

Black Cherry Jam 

2 lbs. fresh dark sweet cherries, washed, pitted and halved

1/2 Cup sugar

pinch of salt

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch

1/4 Cup water

1/3 Cup dried tart cherries (optional)

In a saucepan combine the cherries, sugar, salt, and lemon juice. Heat the cherries over medium heat until they start to soften and break down a bit and the mixture comes to a boil. In a small bowl combine the cornstarch with the water and add to the pan and stir constantly until it becomes thickened. Remove from the heat using an immersion blender until mostly smooth but a little chunky still.  Add in the optional dried sour cherries and allow the jam to cool.

Cinnamon sugar (for sprinkling over crepes)

1/4 C sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

pinch of salt

stir together in a small bowl until combined.

 

Sweet Crepe Batter (makes about 10-12,  8 inch crepes)

3/4 Cup milk (2 % is fine) (room temperature)

1/2 Cup water (lukewarm)

2 eggs (room temperature)

3 Tbsp. melted butter (+ more for prepping pan)

2 tsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

pinch of salt

1 Cup all-purpose flour

1. In a blender pulse to combine all the ingredients except the flour. Add the flour then combine for about 20-30 seconds. Cover the batter and let rest in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight.

2. Heat a small (6-8 inch) non-stick pan over medium low heat and add a little smear of butter. Tip: I like to use the cut end of a stick of butter and quickly swipe over the surface of the pan. You’ll want to do this for each crepe.

3. Pour about 3 Tbsp. of batter over surface of your pan, pick up the pan off the heat and immediately swirl the batter (using a circular motion and tilting your wrist) in the pan 3-4 times until pan is coated with your batter. Set the pan back on the heat and heat until lightly browned; about 2 minutes. Use a bamboo skewer or toothpick to pick up the edge of the crepe and flip it over to the other side and heat until browned as well. Move your crepe to a large plate and stack your crepes between pieces of wax paper while you continue making the rest of the crepes.

Sweetened Cream Cheese

6 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 Tbps. + 1/2 tsp. confectioners sugar

In a small bowl smear together with a small spatula or spoon until combined.

 

Assembling the crepes:

Smear a thin layer of the sweetened cream cheese onto a crepe and then spread about a Tablespoon of cherry jam over the cream cheese. Roll or fold over the crepes as desired. I folder mine in quarters. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the crepes right before serving.

*Store any leftover prepared/assembled crepes on a plate wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge.


Cranberry Orange Scones

 

I am a cranberry hoarder. Every Fall/Winter I squirrel away fresh cranberries in my freezer for baked goods all year long. I LOVE fresh cranberries. I love the tart burst in a scone or bread and orange is the perfect flavor pairing. The secret to a scone that “stands up tall” is to allow the dough to become firm and cold before placing in a hot oven, so they rise and then dropping the temperature a bit to allow them to bake further. The scones a delight with a cup of hot coffee or tea and perfect for guests or family for a nice breakfast treat.

 

 

 

Cranberry Orange Scones

1/2 Cup whole milk

1  1/2 tsp. white vinegar

1 large egg

2  1/4 C all purpose flour

1/4 C sugar

zest of one large orange, divided

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 stick (1/2 C) unsalted butter, cut in 1/2 inch pieces and kept cold

1 Cup heaping fresh cranberries, some cut in half

Egg wash: one large egg whisked well

 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl or measuring cup mix the milk with the vinegar and let sit for 10 minutes, then whisk in the egg.

In a large bowl whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and half the orange zest. Using a pastry blender cut in the butter until mixture resembles the butter in size of peas. Add the milk mixture and mix until dough just comes together. Fold in the cranberries. Mixture will be sticky. Turn out the mixture onto a large piece of plastic wrap. With floured hands, flatten the dough into a circle about 1 inch thick. Wrap the round securely with the plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes.

Unwrap the dough and using a pastry cutter, cut in 8 pieces. Place scones onto prepared baking sheet 1 1/2 inches apart.  Brush each of the scones with egg wash. Place the entire baking sheet in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 400° F.

Remove baking sheet from fridge and bake scones in middle of oven for 10 minutes, then decrease oven temperature to 375° F and bake for another 5-6 minutes or until scones are golden brown and set. Remove from oven and let cool on the baking sheet over a wire rack. Let cool for about 10 minutes, then spoon orange glaze over each scone. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Orange Glaze:

1 Cup confectioners sugar

2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice

zest of half the orange

pinch of salt

In a small bowl stir the ingredients together vigorously until no lumps of sugar remain.