Archive for the 'bread' Category

Maple Scones

Maple Scones 1 Maple Scones

Every once in awhile, I decide I’m only going to do things that are awesome. And I forget that even with superhuman optimism, a lot of things aren’t awesome, and you can’t forgo invoicing and homework and laundry in favour of making things or playing with new projects on the internet.

But I have stuck to my new rule of only eating baked goods that are awesome – life is too short for bad bread. Right? And although I do enjoy a good muffin/scone/cookie/cinnamon bun any time of year, there’s something about cooling weather and crunchy leaves that demands something freshly baked alongside your coffee or tea.

(Related: no kitchen yet. It’s moving at glacial speed. But I have a sink! Update soon.)

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Eons ago, I got to the point where I could mix up a batch of scones from memory, knowing just how much flour/sugar/baking powder/butter/cream would yield a perfect carb vehicle for anything from berries to chocolate chunks. A scone truly is the ultimate blank canvas; if you have the basics on hand, you can wing the rest. They take tasty care of squishy fruit and cheese ends, and scraps of things that might not otherwise add up to much. And even if a rummage through the fridge results in no more than a bottle of gin and maple syrup, you can make maple scones. (Or gin scones?)

Maple Scones 2 Maple Scones

Even though maple syrup runs in the spring, it feels like fall to me. I wish I had seen Joy’s apple pie biscuits before I made these – next time I’ll envelop sugared, spiced apples in maple dough and splatter maple drizzle over them, Jackson Pollock-style. I may go do that now.

Maple Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup half & half
2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup

Drizzle:
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. half & half

Preheat the oven to 425F.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and blend it in with a pastry blender, fork or your fingers until well combined, with lumps of butter the size of a pea remaining.

Add the half & half and maple syrup and stir just until the dough comes together. Turn out onto a parchment-lined sheet and pat into a circle an inch thick. Cut into 6-8 wedges and pull them apart on the sheet. If you like, brush them with a little extra milk and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden. Meanwhile, whisk together the icing sugar, maple syrup and cream, and drizzle it over the warm scones with a fork. Makes 6-8 scones.

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September 27 2014 | bread and breakfast | 9 Comments »

Back to Busy: Bubble Biscuit Pizza

biscuit pizza 2 Back to Busy: Bubble Biscuit Pizza

We’ve been eating a disproportionate amount of pizza these past couple weeks… not only because it’s easy to cook on the grill (we’re currently without a kitchen), but because it’s easy and requires little in the way of dishes – just napkins that can be tossed in the garbage. (Doing dishes in the bathtub tends to make one acutely aware of just how many dirty dishes one generates.)

This particular pizza is not the thin crust variety; it’s made on thickly patted out biscuit dough, making it sort a of quasi-focaccia, but then again not really – it’s more like thick wedges of comfort; dough topped with cheese, served warm. You could, of course, add anything you might add to a pizza – and the dough itself can be stirred up in about a minute, without kneading (a bonus when you currently have no countertops) or the need to let it rise. Which means you can come home from work and have a pizza in the oven in about ten minutes – it’s also easy enough for kids to make themselves, if they’re the sort who come home hungry and like to bake.

biscuit pizza 1 Back to Busy: Bubble Biscuit Pizza

We baked this in the toaster oven – one of the small appliances that has saved our collective bacon since I decided it was a good idea to tear the kitchen out in order to force us to come up with a new one. My toaster oven is old and well-used, but London Drugs asked if I’d curate a short list of small appliances that make life easier during the back to school (and work) end of summer crunch, and the toaster oven is often overlooked, I think, for its ability to do far more than melt cheese on a bagel.

toaster oven 585x361 Back to Busy: Bubble Biscuit Pizza

You can bake a batch of biscuits in a toaster oven, which really is a regular oven, only mini, that sits on your countertop. Most people don’t realize you could bake a pie in a toaster oven. (And you might want to, if another heat wave comes along. Toaster ovens don’t heat up the entire house.) It doesn’t use as much power when you’re baking something small, like a banana loaf, or if you’re cooking or reheating a meal for one. (Sometimes you want crispy bits, which aren’t always possible in the microwave.) And they’re great for students with limited space – I have no idea how dorm rooms work these days, but I know I’d want some sort of kitchen setup, even if it was in a closet.

Like every other appliance, toaster ovens range from the inexpensive to the fancy (this Breville has an LCD screen and convection capabilities), but I’ve worked with many toaster ovens in many makeshift kitchens and on cooking sets over the years, and had success with most of them – I’d choose the Oster or Hamilton Beach (you can toast, bake or broil), or the Breville if you want to go higher end.

Happy long weekend, all! Enjoy this last summer hurrah.

Bubble Biscuit Pizza

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or half all-purpose, half whole wheat)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1 cup tomato sauce or 1/2 cup pesto
2 cups grated mozzarella
ΒΌ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400F.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the cream and stir just until the dough comes together. Turn out onto the countertop, knead once or twice, and pat out about an inch thick.

With a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1-inch squares and place in a large bowl. Pour the tomato sauce and half the mozzarella overtop and gently toss to coat. Scrape out into an 8-inch cast iron skillet, or a greased cake pan or pie plate.

Top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until puffed and golden.

Serve warm. Serves 4-6.

* This post was sponsored by London Drugs to help get through the back to school crunch – and to help me pay my web hosting fees – but all words and thoughts are my own. Thanks, London Drugs!

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August 29 2014 | bread and one dish | 8 Comments »

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