Pumpkin Cranberry Scones



I’m sitting and eating and eating and thinking about what to write for a post.
These are good. Even on the second day, but especially just warm from the oven. The amazing thing is that they are perfectly autumn and the moisture hasn’t given way to the little bricks that so many other scones can become.

I may have mentioned my favourite fall outings to the pumpkin patch, my Scottish roots and even my recent vacation. All of which brought me to my current gluttony of scones and tea.

Having arrived home after 2 1/2 weeks in the sun, one of my hoarded pumpkins wasn’t too happy about being hauled inside a little early. With signs of softness starting, I knew it wouldn’t store but since it was one of my favourite Galeux d’Eysines, I didn’t really mind carving in early.
These old French heirlooms are perfect for baking and savoury dishes.
Might be why these thing taste so good!

(That’s her in the middle, my Galeux d’Eysines in all her unspoiled glory.)


PUMPKIN CRANBERRY SCONES

1 1/2 Cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Cold Vegan Butter, cubed
3/4 Cup Pumpkin Purée, I used unseasoned, roasted Galeux d’Eysines, but canned is already drained
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon, ground
Pinch Freshly Ground Nutmeg, about 1/8 tsp.
5 T Clementine or Orange Juice, 2 clementines
1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries

Preheat oven to 450ºF.
Drain any excess water from the pumpkin purée with a fine mesh sieve, if necessary.
Add the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, pulsing to sift.
Add the cold, cubed butter and pulse to a coarse bread-crumbly consistency.
Add the the pumpkin and clementine juice to combine.
Add the dried cranberries and pulse, just to incorporate throughout the dough.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
With clean, floured hands, turn the dough out onto the parchment paper.
Pat the sticky dough into a workable 1″x8″ round and slice, with a floured blade, into 8 wedges.
Bake for 20 minutes or until tops have slightly goldened.

Allow to cool, only slightly, before eating.
Dust with confectioners sugar, if desired.

Ultra Quick Vegan Banana Bread


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Even on vacation bananas go brown. Not like I didn’t think it wouldn’t happen, it’s warmer here plus we’ve been too busy playing to eat them right away. Needless to say, I couldn’t store them in the freezer for another time and I certainly didn’t want to throw them away. Thankfully I have a tried and true recipe for this super quick banana bread that’s the go-to with overripe bananas. With a few pantry items, I was back on the beach in no time.

…And yes, I even bake on vacation….

BANANA QUICK BREAD

3 Bananas, mashed
1/4 Cup (vegan) Butter, softened
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Soft Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Mash the bananas well and combine them with the butter and the sugars to cream.
Add the salt, baking powder and baking soda to combine.
Stir in each of the flours, mixing until just moistened.
Bake in a slightly greased and flour dusted loaf pan for 35-40 minutes of until a cake tester comes out clean.
Let rest for a few minutes before removing from the pan to cool on a wire rack.

For something a little fancier, drizzle over some cooled caramel and serve it for dessert!

Chi Chi Chi Chia


Chia seeds, which used to be mostly known for growing kitchy green hair, is now coveted as a omega-3 rich supergrain.

I always secretly yourned for the terra cotta collectable, so I wanted in on the healthy fun.

With a kid that has just started her career in brown bagging lunches, I’m certainly learning that it’s tough enough getting them to eat, let alone eat well. One food I know will not return home again are bagels and since I usually try to make my own of everything, I thought I’d give them a go.

CHIA SEED BAGELS

1 1/4 Cups Warm Water
1 1/2 teaspoons Instant Yeast Granules
2 Tablespoons Sugar
3 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
1/4 Cup Chia Seeds

Measure off the warm water and add the yeast and sugar, stirring to dissolve.
Leave the yeast mixture to sit, activate and bubble while you add the flour and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer with the hook attachment. (Alternatively, a large bowl and a wooden spoon still works:) Mix to combine.
Once the yeast has begun to bubble turn your mixer on low and continuously pour the yeast mixture over the flour and salt.
Keep the motor going, it should come together into a elastic dough. If you find it’s still sticking to the bottom of the bowl, feel free to toss in a small handful of flour and keep mixing.

Remove the dough, shaping it into a smooth ball and transfer it to a lightly greased, deep bowl to rise, loosely covered it with plastic wrap.
Let your dough rise, doubling in bulk, for about 2 hours or over night in the refrigerator, but bring it back to room temperature before proceeding.
Turn the dough out to a lightly floured surface. Dust a knife in flour and cut the dough in half.
Cover one half and cut the other into 4 or 5 pieces.
Beginning with the first piece, roll out the dough into a long rope, about 1″ (2cm) in diameter, shaping into a ring and secure. Leave it to rest, covered, on a baking sheet while you continue with all of the remaining dough.
Preheat the oven to 400ºF and bring a large pot of water onto boil.
Once the water is boiling, drop 2 – 3 of the bagels in for about 1 minute on each side.
Remove with a slotted spoon and return to a new, parchment lined baking sheet. Carefully sprinkle over the chia seeds and return to boiling the rest of the waiting bagels.
Flick or lightly spritz water into the oven and place the bagels on the center rack. Bake for about 5 minutes and spritz water into the oven again to create steam (and crispier bagels).
Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes more or until golden.

Nice Socca


Eons since I’ve visited the south of France, I was whisked to my memories of the Mediterranean first, by a post by David Lebovitz and again by this book.

The books recipe missed elements, like being tested apparently, but it reinforced this Nice institution.
Chick pea flour, at least within my reach, tends to be bitter but seasoned and sweetened -whoa, this is good stuff.

Go with tradition and eat it while it’s hot, it won’t be hard. Pour a glass of chilly rosé to wash it down and find yourself too, whisked away with an authentic Mediterranean street treat.

SOCCA

1/3 Cup Dried Apricots
1 Cup Chickpea/Garbanzo Bean Flour
3 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil, plus more for drizzling
Pinch Salt
4 Tablespoons Pistachios, shelled and roughly chopped
1 scant Cup of Cold Water

Thinly slice and soak the apricots in warm water.
Preheat the oven to it’s maximum setting (525ºF in my case).
In a bowl, combine the flour, 2 Tablespoons of the sugar, and salt.
Mixing well, add the water, followed by the olive oil.
Let the batter rest for about 20 minutes.
Add enough oil to lightly coat a cast iron pan and heat in the oven as it comes to it’s full temperature.
Shell and roughly chop the pistachios and drain the apricots.
Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven. Pour in the batter in a thin, even stream.
Evenly sprinkle over the apricots and pistachios. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over top and return the pan to the hot oven.
Bake for about 5 minutes or until it is dry, golden and coming away at the edges.
Remove from the oven, sprinkling it evenly with the remaining 1 Tablespoon of sugar.
Serve warm.

Homemade Nutella


The way this homemade stuff pops up and ends up in various pastries and the like, you’d think that  absolutely almost everyone loves Nutella. Almost.

I had hazelnuts on hand and I’ve been itching to use my cocoa nibs in everything, I just had to, I couldn’t resist. Combine the two and what do you get? You guessed it! Plus I figured, I was bound to get my self proclaimed vegetarian kid who won’t eat peanut butter to eat a nut, especially if it’s intertwined with chocolate and it tastes like Nutella.

Warm, buns, still steamy from the oven, homemade Nutella and some thinly sliced banana heaven…

Nope. “This taste-iss like peanut butter is in it. Are there nuts in this?”

Yes friends, I have the only known person who dislikes Nutella living under my roof and she’s a chocolate loving child.

At least they say that little tastebuds change. More for me, I guess.

COCOA NIB HAZELNUT SPREAD

1 cups Hazelnuts, toasted & skinned
1/2 cup Cocoa Nibs
1/2 cup Confectioners Sugar
2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder

Preheat oven to 250ºF.
Toast the hazelnuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet for about 10 minutes. Give the pan a good shake about half way through to toss.
Remove the nuts from the oven and cool slightly.
Tightly wrap the hazelnuts in a clean kitchen towel. Twist and rub until most of the skins have come off.
Place the nuts and the cocoa nibs in a food processor, and pulse on high until they have broken down.
Add the coconut oil and continue to blend until they become smooth and buttery; about 5 minutes.
When the nuts are liquified, add in the sugar and cocoa powder, continuing to blend.
Transfer the spread to a jar and store in the refrigerator, leaving it to come closer to room temperature just before using.

Minneolo Marmalade & Muesli Bread: A Confession.


So, I’m guessing there could be worse things do be addicted to, right?

While I’m preparing to admit that I am a marmalade junky, I find this breakfast muesli bread. I’ve suddenly become like a child who only singly eats mac and cheese or pb&j for weeks straight.

Breakfasts, lunches, midnight snacks are spent longing for the next time I can glob juliennes of sticky zest over my raisin stuffed sunflower bread.

As I’m leaving my local unnamed bigbox store with the oversized package of my next fix and realizing I have issues, I decided to stick to my personal claim of not buying what I can quite easily make on my own. I just couldn’t rightfully keep forking out five bucks for a bag of bread.

A little while back, with a few leftover minneolos, a cup of o.j, water and sugar, I had the marmalade covered. So now, it was on to the bread. The store bought, of course, had it’s yummy je ne sais quoi mixed in, so I was left to pick out my favourites, the first of those, being sunflower seeds. The next to impossible task was finding any that weren’t hulled, apparently they are only good for spitting but after an exhaustive search, I found some. They were salted, but beggers can’t be choosers, right? I figured I’d either rinse them or omit the extra salt.
Thanks to my son, I always have raisins, and we’re talking the big fat ones too. He just won’t accept those puny shriveled ones. – Left from the last trip to the health food store, was his half eaten bag of plump organic jumbo flames. They’re about the size of his knuckle, so I was headed for a good start. I had an apple, cinnamon oatmeal and flax, all the good müesli things.

The bread recipe is pretty basic. Taking the knowledge from Mark Bittman and his book How to Cook Everything, I keep my whole wheat bread ratios to 3:1 all purpose flour to whole wheat; doing this keeps a good crust. And that’s just what it needed to keep all the good stuff in and my globs of marmalade on safely top.

MÜESLI BREAD

1/3 Cup Flax Seeds
1/2 Cup Sunflower Seeds
1 Cup Organic Jumbo Flame Raisins
1/3 Cup Steel Cut Oats (precooked), or add 1/3 Old Fashioned Oats, uncooked
3 Cups Water (divided)
4 Cups All Purpose Flour (divided)
1 1/2 teaspoons Yeast (divided)
2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/3 Cup Maple Syrup
1/4 Cup Safflower Oil
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Granny Smith Apple, peeled & finely diced

Cook the steel cut oats as to the package directions, set aside.
Cover the flax, sunflower seeds, raisins and oats with 1 1/2 cups of warm water. Stir to combine and leave 1 hour or up to overnight.
In another bowl, combine 2 cups of the all purpose flour with 1/2 teaspoon of the yeast along with the remaining 1 1/2 cups of warm water. Stir well to combine and leave the sponge to prove 1 hour or refrigerated overnight.
Combine the seed mixture along with the sponge.
Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of yeast granules, maple syrup, oil, salt and cinnamon.
Once well mixed, add the remaining all purpose and whole wheat flours, in stages.
Knead for 5 – 7 minutes or until the dough is springy, soft and elastic.
Transfer the dough to a clean, slightly oiled bowl. Let the dough rest and rise for about 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into two pieces. Shape into two traditional or rustic loaves, placing into two slightly greased loaf pans or onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
Allow the dough about another hour to rise.
Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
Place a pan of hot water on the lowest rack of the oven along with the loaves on the center rack.
Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 400ºF, remove the pan of water and continue to bake for an additional 20 – 25 minutes, until the loaves are golden and hollow sounding when tapped from underneath.