Lets face it-there are certain fruits or foods which given their name do not exactly evoke a tasty image. Case in point, the blood orange. I mean….how could one get excited over something with the word blood in it if you’re going to be shoving it in your mouth? Well, these little beauties lend the most amazing ruby red color when juiced. You’ll find them used in everything from cocktail recipes to baking. Mix the juice with a little confectioners sugar and you have the most beautiful AND flavorful princess pink icing.
It’s always a surprise when you slice one in half to find how deep in color your prized beauty really is. When picking one out you want to find one that has a good patch of crimson red mixed with deep orange.
Blood Orange Poppy Seed Loaf
1 1/2 C all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 Cup unsalted butter, room temp
1 1/4 Cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
1 tsp. vanilla
zest of 2 large blood oranges
2 Tbsp. blood orange juice
1/3 Cup milk
1 tsp. white vinegar
2-4 Tbsp. poppy seeds
Combine milk with vinegar and set aside for about 10-15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Prepare a standard loaf pan with non stick baking spray and line with parchment paper so the ends are extended over the long side of the pan. Leave at least 2 inches of overhang.
In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and mix until combined. Add the vanilla and combine. Zest the oranges over the mixer bowl and also add the blood orange juice. With mixer on stir setting, stir to combine. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add in half the flour mixture and beat gently to combine. Add in milk mixture with mixer running on slow speed and mix gently to combine. Add in last half of flour mixture and beat gently to combine. Stir in the poppy seeds (Note* this is a matter of preference on how much poppy seeds you like-I add in only 2 Tbsp. but you can much more to your liking).
Pour the batter into the pan and smooth out the top. Bake in preheated oven for about 55 minutes to an hour or until a wooden skewer inserted shows a few moist crumbs.
Make the Blood Orange Syrup by placing ingredients into a liquid glass measuring cup and microwaving until mixture comes to a boil.
Let the cake cool for 30 minutes then gently pour the Blood Orange Syrup over the cake until cake absorbs all of syrup. Let cake cool completely, then apply glaze with a large spoon until top of cake is covered.
For glaze– in a medium bowl place sifted confectioners sugar and blood orange juice and whisk to combine.
Blood Orange Syrup
1/2 Cup water
2 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. blood orange juice
1 1/2 Cup confectioners sugar, sifted
3-4 Tbsp. fresh blood orange juice
Are you as happy as I am that blackberries are in season? I’m seeing them left and right on sale now in the markets and it’s making me oh so happy. My latest greatest find was 3 for a dollar, so I had to strike! Brought these beauties home and made this scrumptious pound cake. It is super duper moist. That’s right- I said super duper. The lemon glaze that adorns the top takes it to the next level. The recipe calls for quite a bit of lavender- but don’t be scared, the flavor does not overpower the cake at all-just make sure you are buying culinary dried lavender. It can be a bit hard to find, but higher end stores like Whole Foods carries it in their spice aisle. The original recipe comes from Miche Bacher from her cookbook “Cooking with Flowers” which now that I took a sneak peak on Amazon, I might have to purchase the book! The recipe is posted on fancy flours website.
Blackberry Lavender & Lemon Pound Cake
2 Tbsp. dried (culinary) lavender buds
3/4 Cup buttermilk (or 3/4 Cup milk + scant Tbsp. lemon juice-see notes in step one).
2 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
zest of one lemon
1 pint blackberries (2 small 6 oz. containers)
1 Cup unsalted butter, softened
2 Cups sugar
4 eggs + 2 egg yolks
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1. Stir lavender buds into the buttermilk and let steep for 30-45 minutes, or if you don’t have buttermilk stir the buds into 3/4 cup of milk and 10 minutes before preparing the batter stir in a scant tablespoon of lemon juice.
2. Preheat oven to 325° F. Prepare a loaf pan (9x5x3) with nonstick baking spray and line with a parchment sling, leaving parchment so it hangs over the long sides of the pan with at least 3 inches, then spray again. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest. Gently stir in the (washed & dried) blackberries.
3. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and yolks one at a time on medium speed until incorporated. Note: the mixture may appear curdled, but don’t worry-it will come together once you add the dry ingredients. Stir in the lemon juice.
4. Gently fold in BY HAND (not with an electric mixer), one third of the flour/berry mixture, then add in 1/2 of the milk/lavender mixture, adding in another third of flour mixture, then the last half of milk mixture, ending with last 1/3 of flour mixture. Gently pour the batter into the pan (Note: only fill the pan 3/4 of the way full- you may have some batter left over), and bake for ~ 40 minutes or a wooden skewer when inserted comes out with a few moist crumbs. Let cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then remove using the parchment sling. Allow the cake to cook completely on a wire rack, then glaze with lemon glaze.
2 Cups confectioners sugar
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
In a small bowl whisk together sugar and juice until glaze is smooth and free of any lumps.
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.
A few years ago I used to work around the corner from a Starbucks. Yes, seriously right around the corner. It was a dangerous thing- and yes, I became a little addicted to gingerbread loaf. Okay, a lot addicted. That was in the past and I’ve moved on. Sort of. Okay-I’m still craving that darn bread, but I decided to make my own and it’s pretty smack close. Matter of fact, I don’t think they sell it anymore-but don’t quote me. The bread- I’m satisfied with it. Really satisfied-so much so that I now need to get it out of my house and give some away to friends. Tis the season to get your gingerbread on.
Copycat Starbucks Gingerbread Loaf
1/2 Cup melted unsalted butter
1/4 Cup vegetable oil
1/2 Cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 Cup sugar
1 large egg
finely grated zest of one tangerine “cutie” (or 1 tsp. orange zest)
1 Cup vanilla Greek yogurt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 Cup all purpose flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground mace
Cream Cheese Icing: recipe below
Candied orange peel
1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare a 9×5 inch loaf pan by spraying with baking spray and lining with a parchment paper to cover bottom and long sides of loaf pan with at least a 2 inch overhang. Spray lightly one more time all sides and bottom of loaf pan.
2. In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment combine the melted butter, oil, and sugars. Add in the egg and mix for one minute at medium speed. Combine the yogurt and baking soda well in a small bowl. In a separate bowl whisk the flour and next 5 ingredients. Add the yogurt mixture to the mixer bowl and beat well for about 2 minutes; making sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined. Spread the batter into prepared loaf pan and bake at 350° F for about 45-50 minutes until a wooden skewer comes out clean. Allow gingerbread to cool in pan over a wire rack. Frost with cream cheese icing and sprinkle with finely diced candied orange peel.
Cream Cheese Icing:
4 oz. cream cheese, room temp
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 Cups confectioners sugar
Combine the first three ingredients until smooth. Slowly add in the confectioners sugar and beat until smooth.
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.
I cannot deny a biscuit. A good biscuit, that is. A soft fluffy buttery biscuit. Anytime a choice is given for biscuit or toast; it’s biscuit hands down. How about a biscuit slathered with peach butter. Uhh yeah! These biscuits are moist and tender. The secret is the frozen butter you grate into the flour-it’s a bit time consuming to grate the butter, but worth it. This recipe evokes a definite southern flare. Visions of “Driving Miss Daisy” might dance in your head as you toss back one of these biscuits. All you need is nice weather, a porch, some friends, some sweet tea and perhaps a nice porch swing. They would be amazing if you have some Virginia ham laying around to layer onto a biscuit with a little cheese. Make the peach butter ahead of time or on a rainy day or when you have some extra time as it takes a while to become thickened.
I used Autumn Red variety peaches for my peach butter; but use any variety you like
yield: makes a generous 2 Cups
3 1/4 pounds fresh ripe peaches (about 8 -9 large) peeled and pitted, cut into 1 inch pieces
3/4 Cup water
1 1/2 Cups sugar
juice of one lemon
optional: scant 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Note: to avoid peach chunks turning brown while cutting; work fast, toss with fruit fresh powder, or add some lemon juice to the ice water that you use to shock the peaches in. To remove peels quickly from peaches-score a one centimeter x on the bottom of each peach, drop peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds then shock in ice water, peel off skins.
1. Place peach chunks and water in a stock pot or dutch oven. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until they are soft. Place softened peaches in a Vitamix or food processor and process until smooth.
2. Return peach puree into stock pot and add in rest of ingredients. Simmer puree for about 2-3 hours; stirring frequently until thick and when drawing a wooden spoon through mixture it takes about 10 seconds for the peach mixture to cover bottom of pot. Place in a clean jar or jars. Note: I did NOT sterilize and process as canned-since it is a small batch, but rather stored in the refrigerator; you may choose to sterilize and can if you want to store on the shelf. Recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.
Sweet Potato Biscuits
recipe: from chow.com
yield: 16 small biscuits or 8 large
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 Cup whole or 2 % milk
1 Cup baked, mashed sweet potato (about 1 medium potato) [see note]
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, frozen
heavy cream, for brushing tops
[to bake sweet potato in microwave- pierce with a fork a washed and dried potato on a microwave safe plate and heat on full power for 5 minutes, turn over then heat for 5 minutes more. Wrap potato in tinfoil and let sit for a few minutes].
1. Heat the oven to 400° F and arrange rack in middle of oven. Combine all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and mix with a fork. In a glass measuring cup combine the milk and potato and whisk well with a fork. Grate the frozen butter using a box grater with large holes and combine with the dry ingredients. Add milk mixture to the dry and mix with fork until it forms a shaggy mass.
2. Turn out mixture onto a floured board and knead just until it comes together. Pat dough into 3/4 inch thickness. Cut into rounds or squares. I used a 2 inch square cutter and got 16 squares. Place biscuits onto a baking sheet lined with either a Silpat or parchment paper. Bake for about 12-15 minutes.
I got the inspiration for this recipe by the leftover rose sugar that collects on the bottom of a bag of Turkish delight. Typically you will see both lemon and rose flavored candy in one bag of Turkish delight, and the rose flavor is what I usually pick out to eat. I love anything rose flavored when it comes to sweets. The powdered sugar that coats the candy gets permeated from the rose flavored candy and usually there is quite a bit of it leftover in the bottom of the bag. It’s like a little present waiting for you once you finish your candy. The smell of the sugar is amazing. I certainly did not want to throw it away so I got inspired when I had some fresh raspberries to make muffins. When I’m coming up with new recipes, it usually comes from something in my daily life that awakens my senses or tastes. If you have access to organic roses you can make your own rose infused sugar. Here is a great link I found on how to do that.
Raspberry Rose Muffins
yield: 12 muffins
2 3/4 C all purpose flour
1 C sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Cups (about 12 oz. or 2 pints) fresh raspberries
1 Cup milk
1 Cup sour cream
3/4 Cup melted unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. rose water
3/4 tsp. vanilla
Rose Sugar (optional)*
*To make “fast” rose sugar in a food processor place 1/3 cup granulated sugar and scant 1/3 cup organic dried small rose buds (you can usually find the rose buds in tea shops that sell loose tea) and process until sugar turns into powder. Store leftover sugar in a ziplock baggie or airtight container.
1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Spray a non stick muffin tin with baking spray. (I used a tall European style muffin tin for tall muffins- but you can use a standard American muffin tin-adjust the baking time as needed). If you have a mini popover pan that works too.
2. In large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients. Gently add the raspberries and gently toss with the flour mixture to coat. In a measuring cup whisk the milk, sour cream, eggs, butter and flavorings. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and gently fold together being careful not to break the berries. Using a ice cream style scoop divide the batter evenly into each muffin well. If you have any extra berries- top the muffins with a berry. Sprinkle granulated sugar over each muffin.
3. Bake muffins at 375° for 10 minutes then DECREASE the oven to 350° F and bake for an additional 10-12 minutes, or until a wooden skewer comes out clean.
4. Let the tin cool over a wire rack and after 5 minutes remove the muffins and let them cool the rest of the way on the rack. Once cool dust over a little rose sugar if you like right before serving.