Miscellaneous


The second course at our lovely tea party was scones. If you follow this blog regularly, you might remember me testing out the scones recipe. (click here)

They turned out great!

scones with clotted cream and jam

scones plate 1

I used Martha Stewart’s recipe for Blueberry-Buttermilk Scones. I just left out the blueberries. This was the only recipe I tested. It was so yummy, I figured, why bother with another one? It was simple enough, too.

First, mix all your dry ingredients together.

Then you are going to cut in your butter. (Cold ingredients will be best.) The butter needs to be cut into small pieces. That is how you get even distribution of butter.

butter, small pieces

cutting butter

I have read that if you don’t have a pastry cutter you can use two knives to cut in the butter. Personally, I have never liked that method. You can pick up a cutter fairly inexpensively.

Next, whisk together your wet ingredients and drizzle over the dry-stirring as you go.

add wet ingredients

After you dough comes together, turn it out on a floured surface. Gently knead a couple of times to incorporate all the flour. Pat it into a 1 inch disk.

pastry disk

Cut into 8-12 wedges, depending on the size you would like. I went with 12 on my trial run. After tasting how yummy they were I decided to make them a little larger for the tea party.

cut in eighths

Transfer the wedges to your parchment-lined baking sheet. (The batch pictured was waiting its turn on the pan.That’s why it is on a cutting board.)

bake on parchment paper

Here you will brush each scone with a beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.

brush with egg wash

sprinkle with sugarI can’t believe I was able to sprinkle sugar while I took the picture!

spilled sugarOkay, maybe not!

Bake ’em up at 375˚ for about 22 minutes. My parchment paper looks kinda nasty because I reused it. I was making 13 batches of scones! Parchment paper costs money! I used each piece two or three times. I scraped the crusty parts off before reusing it each time. Cool the scones on wire racks.

on parchment paper

scones cooling on wire rack

When they are completely cool, you can freeze them. Of course they are best straight from the oven!

I made lots of scones!

lots of scones

pile of scones

scones pile

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour, (not self-rising)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup (1/2 pint) blueberries
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg lightly beaten for egg wash
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Fine sanding sugar, for sprinkling

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together flours, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter, or rub in with your fingers, until mixture has the texture of coarse meal. Stir in blueberries.
  3. Whisk together buttermilk, 1 egg, and the vanilla. Drizzle over flour mixture, and stir lightly with a fork until dough comes together but a small amount of flour remains in bowl.
  4. Turn out dough onto a work surface, and gently knead dough once or twice just to incorporate flour. Pat dough into a 1-inch-thick round. Cut into 12 wedges. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 22 minutes. Transfer scones to wire racks to cool.

Cook’s Note

Scones are best served immediately but can be frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw, and reheat in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes.

The scones were served with “Mock Clotted Cream”. I found the recipe here.

Mock Clotted Cream Recipe


Ingredients:

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup light sour cream
2 tablespoons powdered (confectioners’) sugar, sifted


Preparation:

Using a whisk attachment on your mixer, whip cream until stiff peaks form.

Using a large spoon or rubber spatula, fold in the sour cream and powdered sugar just until combined.

Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.

Make approximately 2 cups or enough to serve 6 to 8.

Don’t know about clotted cream? What’s Cooking America also had this little tidbit of information:

Question:

Could you tell me what the difference is between clotted cream and creme fraiche?  It doesn’t sound like there is much difference, other than country of origin. Thanks – Jim Buffy (12/29/03)

Answers:

clotted cream – Traditionally served with tea and scones in England; it is a 55% minimum milk fat product made by heating unpasteurized milk to about 82 degrees C., holding them at this temperature for about an hour and then skimming off the yellow wrinkled cream crust that forms (until the cream separates and floats to the surface). It is also known as Devonshire cream. It will last up to four days if refrigerated in a tightly sealed container.

Devonshire cream (DEHV-uhn-sheer) – Originally from Devonshire County, England, it is a thick, buttery cream often used as a topping for desserts. It is still a specialty of Devon, Cornwall, and Somerset, as this is where the right breed of cattle is raised with a high enough cream content to produce clotted cream. It is also known as Devon cream and clotted cream. Clotted cream has a consistency similar to soft butter. Before the days of pasteurization, the milk from the cows was left to stand for several hours so that the cream would rise to the top. Then this cream was skimmed and put into big pans. The pans were then floated in trays of constantly boiling water in a process known as scalding. The cream would then become much thicker and develop a golden crust, which is similar to butter. Today however, the cream is extracted by a separator, which extracts the cream as it is pumped from the dairy to the holding tank. The separator is a type of centrifuge, which extracts the surplus cream at the correct quantity so that the milk will still have enough cream to be classified as milk.

creme fraiche (krem FRESH) – It is a matured, thickened cream that has a slightly tangy, nutty flavor and velvety rich texture. The thickness can range from that of commercial sour cream to almost as solid as room temperature margarine. In France, the cream is unpasteurized and therefore contains the bacteria necessary to thicken it naturally. In America, where all commercial cream is pasteurized, the fermenting agents necessary can be obtained by adding buttermilk or sour cream. To make creme fraiche, combine 1 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons buttermilk in a glass container. Cover and let stand at room temperature from 8 to 24 hours, or until very thick. Stir well before covering and refrigerate up to 10 days. It is an ideal addition for sauces or soups because it can be boiled without curdling. It is also delicious spooned over fresh fruit or other desserts such as warm cobblers or puddings.

Now you see why I went with the Mock Clotted Cream! It is not real sweet, so it is perfect with a dollop of jam!

Since I had made the scones in advance and stuck them in the freezer, they needed to be warmed a little before serving. (After thawing, of course.) I was a little nervous about how they would turn out reheated.

Scones

Not a problem! They were excellent! You do, however, lose some of the texture of the sugar sprinkled on top. I think I’m the only one who knew the difference. Well, NOW they know.

scones plate 2

We had strawberry jam with our scones. Mmmmmm!

When the Tea Party was over, we had some of the clotted cream left. My family enjoyed it with French Toast and fresh strawberries.

French toast with strawberries and cream

French Toast with strawberries and cream 1

The scones were easy and tasty. There are so many flavors out there to try–Orange Cranberry, Nutella, Pumpkin, Maple. Oh, yeah! I’ll be trying some of those!

Have you made scones? Do you buy scones? Do you have a favorite flavor?

Is all of this new to you? Are you going to give it a try?

Dr. Seuss’s birthday was the other day. The elementary school always has a “wear your pajamas to school” day on his birthday. I guess the two go together because you think of cuddling up in bed with Mom or Dad and reading a Dr. Seuss book? Anyway, we love Dr. Seuss. So, when I saw an adorable Cat in the Hat treat at the Dollhouse Bake Shoppe I had to give it a whirl.

AAahhh! The cuteness! I know!

Time would not allow me to experiment with the green eggs and ham. But really, how cute?!

Here is our version of the Cat in the Hat goodies…

What you need:

bowl of water

bowl of red sugar

marshmallows

toothpicks

The original recipe used large marshmallows and a lollipop stick. We only had mini marshmallows and toothpicks in the house. It was a spur of the moment experiment.

1. Flatten one marshmallow and thread it on to the toothpick.

2. Dip the second marshmallow in the bowl of water up to the middle of the marshmallow.

3. Dip the wet marshmallow in the red sugar.

4. Slide the marshmallow onto the toothpick with the red side touching the flattened marshmallow.

5. Repeat steps 2-4 for third marshmallow.

OH, the cuteness!!!

We used a block of styrofoam to hold our little hats. They would be great as cupcake toppers!


We had to jazz up the background a little…

Be sure to make enough to share with your family and friends.

This was a fun, fast, and easy project. Thanks, Dollhouse Bake Shoppe for sharing your creativity.

Ok, that may be a little extreme. Let me explain myself.

A couple of years ago our church offered Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University

I was able to convince my husband to take the classes with me. Dave encourages couples to take the class together. It’s a team effort!

Dave’s big push is getting out of debt. This is a very good thing. However, we didn’t have any debt.

Dave’s other biggie is budgeting. Ooops-we were not good at this-at all! So, we have been learning. We also learned that I should be the one to keep the books. For one reason, I’m home and have more time to spend on paying bills, etc. Secondly, it bugs me more if the checkbook is not kept just so.

I know, what does all of this have to do with tortillas??

One month our food budget was all gone. There was money in the bank. There just wasn’t any left on that budget line. It’s a game of sorts. So we were doing some adventure eating. You know, getting creative with what you have in the pantry and freezer without zipping to the store.

We were going to have fajitas for supper. The chicken had marinated. The cheese was grated. The tortillas…were at the store. We did not have tortillas! How could I have overlooked this important detail?! You kinda need tortillas with fajitas.

Then I remembered a recipe in my recipe box.

How would I ever find it in that mess?

Victory!!!

I have had this recipe for a long time. In one of my college home ec. classes we had to keep a recipe box for the semester with so many recipes for each category-breads, salads, main dishes, etc. We also shared recipes for dishes we fixed in class. One girl made caudillo and flour tortillas. Seems like the caudillo was a Mexican meat of some sort. I can’t remember the girl’s name, sad. Anyway, she made these tortillas. They were really good. I had made them once upon a time when hubby and I were first married. They did not turn out too great.  This time I was desperate! They HAD to turn out edible.

Fortunately, I had all of the ingredients for the tortillas. They were easy to make. They turned out super yummy, especially with the fajitas. See, no need to run to the store. Dave would have been proud.

Now, any time we are having fajitas the kids beg for homemade tortillas. They really do taste better.

Last night I had a little helper.

First things first!

Thank you Vanna.

Flour Tortillas

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup shortening

approx. 1/2 cup tepid water

oil

1. Place flour and salt in a bowl; combine briefly. With your fingers work in the shortening until it is mixed through evenly.

 

 

 

 

2. While stirring, add enough water to make a soft dough. The recipe calls for about 1/2 cup. This time it took a bit more than that.

I don’t know that my helper really liked this part. This is what her hands ended up looking like:

I did scrape her hands and let her go wash them.

3. Divide the dough into 12-18 equal pieces and roll each piece into a round ball.

4. Coat each ball with oil and allow them to stand for about 15 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Katie really liked this part. She tried to grease the dough faster than I rolled it! We also incorporated a little math vocabulary and skills. She knew that she had made and array of dough balls, 3 x 6 = 18!

5. Set an ungreased griddle or large thick-bottomed skillet over medium heat.

6. With your palm, press each ball into a flat, round cake and sprinkle both sides with flour. Roll each cake of dough on a lightly floured surface to an 8″ round (for 18 tortillas).

7. Lay one tortilla on the preheated griddle and cook until bubbles form on the top side and the bottom is flecked with brown.

OOooooo, bubbles!

Flip the tortilla, pressing down on the bubbles with a spatula, and cook until second side begins to color.

Yes, I did intend for a picture of a heating pad to be in a post about tortillas.

This ideas comes straight from one of my faves, Alton Brown. He uses a heating pad covered with a tea towel on high to keep his tortillas warm! Genius! Hey, if he can do it, I can too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Awwwwe, look at my little tortilla runner on her way to the tortilla warmer! So cute!

 

 

So, I guess I shouldn’t blame Dave Ramsey. I guess I should thank him. Thanks, Dave, for making me inspiring me to make homemade tortillas! I’m livin’ like no one else!

 

Critics’ Corner:

Well, to be honest, I didn’t ask them this time. Their mouths were too full of delicious tortillas to give me a response.

Mmmmmmm is good enough for me.

Megan did say she doesn’t even like store bought tortillas.