Raspberry Apricot Scones

Scones 2 The Curvy Carrot

 

I made some “proper” British-style scones after I saw this recipe in Cook’s Illustrated.  As a devoted fan of Downton Abbey, I felt that this recipe might be a little more appropriate than some of the other “American-style” scones I’ve posted in the past.  I also didn’t realize that the season was wrapping up a couple of weeks ago.  I found it a little odd that I had taped two hours worth of Downton but just figured that it was a special or something like that.

I nestled in, cup of tea in one hand and one of these scones in the other.  Sweatpants, warm fuzzy socks, and a freshly clean blanket wrapped around me.  Somehow, as embarrassing as this seems (and yes, I am telling you this), I feel like a part of the cast in a way.  (Sidenote:  have you ever taken one of those “Who Are You?” quizzes that everyone was posting on Facebook a few weeks back?  I totally took the Downton Abbey one and got Anna.  Which made me happy because I love her.)  All I needed was a dress with some serious intricate beadwork and a beautiful long necklace (those costumes have got to be so beautiful in person.)

Anyways, these scones are incredible.  Not too dense, not too light.  Full of flavor…and perfect with any type of tea.  I had some dried raspberries and apricots on hand so I decided to use these here (the original recipe calls for currants.)  Use whatever kind of dried fruit you like here-and play around with different combinations.

When the last episode ended (with warm fuzzes, thankfully, as compared to last season’s traumatizing and tear-inducing finale), I suddenly realized that the season was over.  As bummed as I was about that, these scones made it a bit better.  And now the wait begins for the next season……

 

Scones 3 The Curvy Carrot

 

Raspberry Apricot Scones

Servings: 12 scones

 

Ingredients

 

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and softened

1/2 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup dried raspberries

1 cup milk (I used skim.)

2 large eggs

 

 

Scones 4 The Curvy Carrot

 

Instructions

 

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  In the bowl of your food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in food processor until combined.

3. Add the butter and pulse until fully incorporated and the dough looks like coarse sand, about 20 pulses.

4. Transfer the dough to a large bowl and add in the apricots and raspberries, stirring until combined.

5.  In a separate small bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs, setting aside 2 tablespoons of the milk mixture.

6. Add the remaining milk mixture to the flour mixture and, using rubber spatula, fold together until thoroughly combined.

7.  Transfer the dough to a clean, flat, and floured surface and gather the dough into a ball.

8. Knead the dough until the surface is smooth and free of cracks, 25 to 30 times, and press gently into a disk.

9. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough disk into a 9-inch round, about 1 inch thick.

10. Using a 2  and 1/2-inch round cutter, stamp out rounds, pressing down directly without twisting the cutter.  Gather up the remaining dough and roll it out again, then cut out rounds.  Repeat until all the dough is used.

11. Arrange the scones on the prepared baking sheet.

12. Brush the tops of the scones with the reserved milk mixture.

13. Bake the scones until risen and golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking.

14. Transfer the scones to a wire rack and let cool for at least 10 minutes. Serve scones warm or at room temperature.

 

Source:  Slightly adapted from Cook’s Illustrated. 

March 4, 2014 - 6:29 am

Lily (A Rhubarb Rhapsody) - My hubby and I are hooked on Downton Abbey too. Coooome on next season! We make scones regularly (we’re Australian). You should try pumpkin scones. :)

March 4, 2014 - 4:21 pm

Katrina @ WVS - Proper scones like this are so good – I love the apricots in them :)

March 4, 2014 - 8:56 pm

Maria Tadic - If these scones are anything like those pumpkin chocolate chip ones, they’ll be amazing! And I’m so sad Downton Abbey is over the for the year – we have to wait til 2015!!! Craziness…

March 5, 2014 - 12:30 am

Joanne - I am TOTALLY in Downton withdrawal! Maybe if I make afternoon tea a daily thing it will help? Only one way to find out!

March 5, 2014 - 11:42 am

Claire @ Simply Sweet Justice - These have been on my list to make ever since I saw this in Cook’s Illustrated! I blogged about vanilla bean scones in January, so I think I’ll make these and do a post soon. :) Love Downton Abbey!

March 10, 2014 - 10:16 am

dina - they sound delightful. i love scones!

March 10, 2014 - 1:23 pm

Coleen @ The Redhead Baker - These sound delicious! But I’ve never seen dried raspberries. Where would I find them?

March 10, 2014 - 3:17 pm

srlacy - Hi Coleen-

How are you? I found them in the bulk dried fruit section of my local Whole Foods. Yum!

July 8, 2014 - 2:16 am

Erin - Are you sure that you mean to put 2 tablespoons of baking powder into the scones? I’ve never used such an amount. I used 2 teaspoons instead, and they baked as expected…

July 8, 2014 - 9:54 am

srlacy - Hi Erin-

Yes, the recipe is correct as written. I wondered that myself, but Cook’s Illustrated (where this recipe is adapted from-see the link at the bottom) actually writes about adding in more than the usual baking powder to get a lighter, fluffier, aka more “British-style” scone. I had to try it for myself. But, it’s great to know that the usual amount worked just fine for you, too!

Spinach, Mushroom and Truffled Gouda Quiche

The Curvy Carrot-Quiche

Saying “no” can sometimes be a really hard thing for me.  For a really long time, I said “yes” to everyone and everything: over-committing, over-pleasing, and over-extending.  Which eventually would horrendously backfire, of course.  Because then, inevitably, I would grow resentful, not only of the person/obligation/duty that I had tried to please, but also of myself.

And resenting yourself is probably one of the worst feelings in the world.

And trying to find balance (or sanity) in this over-connected, over-stimulated, and sometimes over-involved world can be a really hard thing (I can simultaneously post to Instagram/Facebook/Twitter my random pictures to ensure that you have seen them at least twice!)  I cannot even imagine the busy lives of my friends who have children, have jobs, but also involve themselves in other activities.  I’m astonished and inspired by these people and wonder how they get enough sleep.   I honestly think I have a much lower threshold for being able to “do it all”.

So I’ve been cutting back on saying “yes” to some of the things that make me feel obligated to others.  At first it was really hard and I felt really guilty, especially if those people continued to want or ask for more committments, even after I had said “no, and this is why….”.  Sometimes even a valid healthy reason to someone isn’t enough, and that’s when it’s time to cut the strings.

I had felt this odd sense of pressure and unbalance for a while, and then I realized that I was letting things get out of control.  I need my days to clean my apartment, fold laundry, and vaccuum instead of feeling pressure to go out to dinner again.  As much as those are “my chores”, I need them-because if my apartment is cluttered and messy, I start feeling angry and pressured to clean it.  I need time to randomly take a bubble bath or maybe read a bit before going to bed each night instead of feeling obligated to run out the door again.  I need time to decompress each night after work before diving in to working on something else.  I need time to Facetime with my family members out of state or have long phone calls with friends from out of town.  In order to do all these things, I have to say “no” sometimes to other things.  And, I’m realizing that not only is it ok, but I feel way better when I do this.  It’s a good feeling.  I kind of have to wonder if this is why so many people are so angry all the time.  Because, believe me, I can totally relate to that sometimes.

One thing that I will say “yes” to, however, would be a quiche like this.  It’s relatively simple to make, freezes extremely well, and also reheats nicely for work week leftover lunches.  And, like all quiches, your creative liberty with ingredients is generous.  Add in what you like, omit what you don’t: it’s all good.   I used a gouda that I found on sale that was truffle-flavored, but you could use whatever kind of cheese you like. Breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner:  a quiche is a mighty good thing.

 Quiche1 The Curvy Carrot

 

Spinach, Mushroom, and Truffled Gouda Quiche

Servings: about 6-8

 

For the crust:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2 tablespoons milk (I used skim.)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 large egg yolk

1 and 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour

For the filling:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup yellow onion, thinly sliced

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (I used baby bellas.)

One 5-ounce package of Earthbound Farm baby spinach

1 cup milk

3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated Gouda cheese

3/4 teaspoon salt

Pinch of grated nutmeg

3 large eggs

IMG_5700

Instructions

 

1. For the crust:  In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a medium bowl using an electric hand mixer)  beat the butter at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, salt, and egg yolk.

3.  Add the milk mixture to  the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition.

4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour; beat just until combined.

5. Press the dough into a 4-inch circle on plastic wrap; cover. Chill for at least 1 hour.

6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

7. Unwrap and place  the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a 10-inch circle.

8.  Using your fingers, gently press the dough into a 9-inch pie plate, and freeze for about 15 minutes.

9. Bake the crust at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool.

10. For the filling:  heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering.

11.  Add the onion; sauté for about 15 minutes or until golden brown and caramelized.

12. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms lose some of their moisture, about 4-5 minutes.

13.  In batches, add the spinach;  cooking until the spinach wilts, another 5 minutes or so.  Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

14.  In a small bowl, whisk together the 1 cup milk, Gouda, salt, nutmeg, and eggs.

15. Add the egg mixture to the cooked spinach, stirring to thoroughly combine.

16. Pour filling into the prepare crust and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, or until the custard is thoroughly set.

 

Source:  Adapted from Cooking Light, as part of my monthly contribution to the Cooking Light Bloggers’ Connection.

February 27, 2014 - 1:36 pm

Katrina @ WVS - Starting to say “no” is hands down the reason why I have any inch of sanity. It’s the piece of advice I would give to any girl in her late twenties!! Also, this quiche? I’m all over it!

February 27, 2014 - 11:24 pm

Shannon - Oh, goodness! I can totally relate to everything you just said. My “me” time is SO necessary to my sanity–even if it consists of not-so-fun household chores. Take the time to do these little things away from me, and I turn into a crazy person! Thanks for sharing this AND that amazing looking quiche :)

March 1, 2014 - 3:41 pm

Joanne - I am pretty bad at saying no also, even though I do need a pretty serious amount of alone time in order to feel balanced and okay…and then even when I DO say no, I’m often double guessing myself. I need to own my decisions! And not care so much whether other people will be disappointed.

I love a good quiche…you can always stuff so much cheese and veggies in, and know it will taste good!

Roasted Banana Bars with Browned Butter Frosting

 Banana Bars4

 

Does anyone else out there freeze bananas?  The reason I ask is because I sometimes have a hard time “timing” bananas right, and I’m finding that freezing bananas is a pretty awesome thing.

I like to hit the grocery store right after work on Fridays-it’s not too busy, the aisles aren’t packed, and I can get in and out in a decent amount of time.  (Compare that to the time I decided to just go on a Saturday morning-twice the amount of time, a severe lack of parking in the garage, and a loss of great baking/cooking time.)  This is because I tend to do all my baking and cooking for this blog on the weekends since I work full time during the weekdays.  Which means a lengthy list, a meal plan in place, and a full 48 hours of pacing myself in the kitchen.

So I try to buy a bunch of the greenest bananas in the section to last for the next work week. (They are my favorite go-to work snack since they are portable, don’t require a pre-eating wash, and make me full for the busy mornings.)  But, inevitably, I’ll occasionally end up with some pretty ripe bananas which I would definitely crush somehow in my work bag (wiping banana off my Ipad cover is not very fun).  So I’ve been freezing them when they get like this for future use in a bread or cookies..or bars, like these.  I’ll just let them thaw and bake away.  It gives me a sense of accomplishment, knowing that I’m not throwing them away.   And then I always have an excuse to make something like these bars..oh, and an excuse to make some browned butter frosting.

 

Banana Bars3

Roasted Banana Bars with Browned Butter Frosting

Servings: about 24 bars (depends on how you cut them)

Ingredients

 
 For the bars:
2 cups sliced ripe banana (about 3 medium)
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
2 and 1/4 cups flour (the original recipe calls for cake flour; I used all-purpose flour because that’s what I had on hand)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
For the frosting:
1/4 cup  (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup  reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Banana Bars1

 

 

Instructions

1. For the bars:  preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2.   In an 8-inch square baking dish, combine the bananas, brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon butter. Bake for 35 minutes, stirring about halfway through. Cool slightly.

3. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour,  baking soda, and baking powder.

5. In a separate medium bowl, combine the banana mixture, buttermilk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla, stirring until combined.

6. In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together  1/2 cup of the butter and granulated sugar  on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

7. Add the eggs to butter/sugar mixture; mixing well.

8. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture alternating with the banana mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

9. Spray a 13 x 9–inch baking pan  with cooking spray and evenly pour the batter into the pan.

10. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool.

11. For the frosting: melt 1/4 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly.

12. In a medium bowl (using an electric hand mixer) or in the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the browned butter, powdered sugar, cream cheese, and 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat in medium speed until smooth. Spread frosting over cooled bars. Sprinkle with pecans.

 

Source: Directly from Cooking Light, as part of my monthly contribution to the Cooking Light Bloggers’ Connection.

February 25, 2014 - 2:08 pm

Katrina @ WVS - I am the biggest banana freezer ever!! This is totally the recipe to use them up with!

February 25, 2014 - 6:51 pm

Joanne - Yes! Freezing bananas is the best. I only like to eat them when they’re just past green, so I end up freezing a ton of them. Can’t wait to use some of them up in these bars. That browned butter frosting is genius!

February 28, 2014 - 6:00 pm

Kaitie - This looks so good! I have a questions about the frozen bananas though- whenever I freeze bananas and then thaw them later, they come out pretty mushy and liquidy. Is this okay for the roasting step? I figure I’ll just peel them and let the banana mush slide out into the pan…

February 28, 2014 - 11:32 pm

srlacy - Hi Kaitie-
They should still be ok. They will be really mushy after roasting anyways.

March 3, 2014 - 5:42 am

Helen @ Scrummy Lane - Hello! Fabulous idea to freeze ripe bananas. I knew this, but had forgotten all about this little gem of a trick. So thanks for the reminder and the bars look fabulous, too! I just made a similar frosting with cream cheese for a banana loaf I made yesterday (all ready to ice very soon!)and added some white chocolate. It’s my first attempt at a frosting so I hope it’s OK!

March 3, 2014 - 6:12 am

Elizabeth - Hi Shannon,

Great blog you have here. I was pretty excited to “stumble” across it.
Unfortunately, I cant seem to find the subscribe button. Is it just me or is it hiding somewhere?

Ever your fan,
Elizabeth

March 3, 2014 - 4:22 pm

srlacy - Hi Elizabeth-

I don’t have a subscribe function via email for the blog, but I usually update twice a week. If you use social media, you can also find me on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or Feedly.