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Homemade Scones

Homemade Scones

It’s neither a muffin nor a biscuit. Homemade scones are an easy grab and go add for your breakfast or snack on the run. I first tried a scone from one of my office cafeterias several years back. It was an overly sweet, overly dry square of dough. I needed more than one cup of coffee to help get the dry dough down and it usually lasted till lunch time rolled around. All of the scones I’ve tried, the fruit was a reconstituted substance with not much flavor and the dough was dry and chalky. I thought any baked fruit flavored dough must be good – but not these bites. There must be something more to the scone. There had to be because I saw them in almost every breakfast bakery section throughout grocery stores and cafes everywhere. I decided to try my hand at a version of my own. The store bought scone was dry, tasteless and expensive. Not to mention a majority of the ingredients were unknown. I tested several recipes, some with more fat some with more liquid. The following homemade scones recipe is a combination of several recipes found over the interwebs, which has become a “country breakfast” staple at our kitchen table.

Originally known as a “Scottish quick bread” and griddle cooked, the scone became an integrated part of English tea time, served everyday at 4:00pm. Now the scone is more likely to be baked in the oven and typically enjoyed at breakfast or during a very late night snack! The scone can be made sweet or savory; cheese, herb, fruit, vegetables, and even custards… a well made scone is a versatile dough ball of goodness.

Variations
Using the basic dough recipe, you can make several variations of the homemade scones. The following are variations I’ve tried all of which have been successful and tasted great!
* = organic
^ = local

– 2 small carrots, shredded & drained + 1 tsp cinnamon *^
– 1 medium zucchini, shredded & drained + 1 tsp cinnamon *^
– 1 large apple, peeled diced & caramelized in sugar or honey + 1 tsp cinnamon *^
– 1 cup shredded raw cheddar cheese + 1 tsp ground pepper *^
– 1/2 preserved lemon, cleaned & diced + 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries *^

The variations are endless. For this particular recipe we’re going to utilize fresh local organic strawberries that I’ve frozen and preserved meyer lemons. Have fun with your homemade scones recipe, the options are endless!

Homemade Scones
yeild: 6 to 8 scones depending on size
425 (f) degrees for 20 to 25 minutes

Basic Dough
– 2 cups unbromated all purpose flour *
– 1/2 teaspoon aluminum free baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
– 1 teaspoon chia seeds * (optional ingredient)
– 1 teaspoon flax seeds * (optional ingredient)
– 1 teaspoon vanilla (corn syrup free)
– 1 egg *^
– 6 tablespoons butter * (or any fat of your liking. You can use lard or tallow, both of which I’ve tested and work great!)
– 2/3 cup whole milk *^ (you can also use buttermilk)

Variation – 6 strawberries, diced *^ (frozen or fresh)
– 1/2 a preserved lemon, washed cleaned & diced *^

Step 1: In a food processor, using a dough blade, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, seeds (optional), and salt – quick pulse to get the ingredients combined. Next add the egg, vanilla, and cut butter. Process till the mixture has a crumbled texture… kind of like sand. Remove the dough crumble from the food processor and place in a bowl. Set aside. {NOTE: if you do not have a food processor you can use 2 butter knives or a dough knife to cut in the butter.}
homemade scones

Step 2: Next wash and chop the strawberries and preserved lemons. Since a preserved lemon is stored in salt, you will remove the lemon from the salt, remove the pulp and wash. Once cleaned make a small dice of the preserved lemon. You can also use the zest of one fresh lemon in replace of the preserved lemon. You can use fresh or frozen strawberries. If frozen, make sure that the berry is semi defrosted before chopping. Mix in the chopped fruit to the crumbled dough mixture.
homemade scones

homemade scones

Step 3: Next slowly mix in the milk. You may not use all of the milk. You want the ingredients to come together but the dough must be sticky and thick. Thick enough to form a ball of dough. You don’t want to add all of the milk or the dough will turn into a batter and you’ll have pancakes instead of scones!
homemade scones

Step 4: Now with a large spoon, scoop out 6 to 8 balls of dough onto a cookie sheet; depending on the size of your scoop. They don’t need to be perfect but should generally be the same size to allow for equal cooking time. You can use a sheet of parchment paper or grease the tray. I do neither because there is plenty of fat in the mixture to keep it from sticking. Place in a pre-heated 425 (f) degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Check at 20 minutes to make sure the scones are not burnt.
homemade scones

Step 5: Once the cooking time is up, remove the scones from the oven and place on a plate to cool for 5 minutes – the inside will be hot and soft and the outside will be golden brown and crisp. Serve with fresh homemade jam or butter and a hot cup of coffee… enjoy!
homemade scones

Apple Cinnamon Scones
homemade scones

Blueberry Lemon Scones
homemade scones

Carrot Cinnamon Scones
homemade scones

Chewy Granola Bars – Oats Nuts & Dried Fruit

Chewy Granola Bars – Oats Nuts & Dried Fruit

“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” ~ La Rochefoucauld

Like any busy family, I look for quick healthy nutrient dense snacks that we can grab on the go. Right now, as hard as we work to slow things down, life is fast-moving and there are times you just need that quick easy snack. Unfortunately those quick easy snacks I see in the grocery stores are laden with unpronounceable, synthetic, bad for the environment, and bad for you & me ingredients. Trying to make a conscious effort to better what my family eats, how my family eats, and where our ingredients come from I look to the back of boxes such as chewy granola bars and other snack like treats and say… “I can make that…!”

The challenge is over the past few months my toddler has gone from eating everything he could get his hands on to a very limited selection of… not much. We’re in the visual stages now… if it looks funny, it’s not going in his mouth. My other challenge is I have an electrician husband. He performs strenuous physical labor daily and the ability to sit down and have a solid meal on the job site is not an easy option. The healthy, nutrient dense snacks I choose for my boys must look appealing, be easy to eat on the go, and of course… TASTE GOOD!

Chewy granola bars are typically a great snack to throw in your backpack, purse, or other carryall on the go. So the first snack I attempted to recreate was the chewy granola bar. In my first test, I used whole wheat flour and stone ground oats. The bars turned out cake like vs. a chewy bar consistency. My toddler gobbled the first test batch up but the bars were a crumbly mess and slightly dry. The second test I used only whole grain oats. Apparently test #2 for the chewy granola bars was a success because my husband woke me up from a deep sleep on the couch to give me a high-five and tell me “those are damn good!”

And the little man seems to agree too…
chewy granola bars

My version of the chewy granola bars are a combination of several recipes I researched on the interwebs. They all held a common theme; dried fruits, nuts, oats, and honey. It is such a versatile recipe. You can use any dried fruit. In this recipe I use cranberries, apples, & plums but you could use anything. Raisins, mangos, cherries, apricots, any dried fruit you could think of. And the same with the nut… almond, walnut, cashew, peanut… any variety. You can grind the ingredients as I did, or leave them chunkier for a bit more texture to the chewy granola bar. It’s up to you. I’m excited because the family loves the bars, they are quick and easy to make, they taste great, and they are good for you. Winner winner!

Chewy Granola Bars – Oats Nuts & Dried Fruit
350 F degrees / 25-30 mins / yield: 2 dozen bars cut 2 in x .5 in
* = organic
*^ = organic/local

■ 2 1/4 cups whole grain rolled oats (quick oats)
■ 2 tablespoons raw wheat germ * (Bob’s RedMill)
■ 2 tablespoons whole ground flaxseed meal * (Bob’s RedMill)
■ 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
■ 1 teaspoon cinnamon
■ 1 cup dried fruit (1/3 c prunes, 1/3 cup apples, 1/3 cup cranberries) *^ chopped
■ 1 cup whole almonds ^ chopped
■ 1/3 cup brown sugar * packed
■ 1/3 cup honey ^
■ 1/4 cup peanut butter *^ (room temperature – I make my own nut butters so the peanut butter used in this recipe is homemade)
■ 4 – 5 tablespoons butter *^ (room temperature)
■ 1 cookie sheet + 1/2 teaspoon olive oil or butter for coating the pan (or a sheet of parchment paper… your choice)

chewy granola bars

Step 1: Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees (f) and prep a cookie sheet with a light coating of olive oil, butter, or a piece of parchment paper. Set aside.
chewy granola bars

Step 2: In a large mixing bowl, combine your dry ingredients (oats, flaxseed, wheat germ, cinnamon, kosher salt) and the brown sugar; set aside.
chewy granola bars

Step 3: In a food processor, combine all dried fruit and chop till you have medium size pieces. At this point add in your almonds and chop the entire mixture till you have a small crumble. {Note: you can hand chop all ingredients, giving more texture to your bars. You can leave some bits larger than others but not too large to make sure your bars will combine with the wet ingredients. End Note}
chewy granola bars

Step 4: Combine the nut fruit mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients, making sure all ingredients are well incorporated with each other.
chewy granola bars

Step 5: Using your favorite mixing utensil (I’ll use my hands) add in, one ingredient at a time, the room temperature butter, peanut butter, and honey. By the end you’ll have a sticky mixture that can easily be pressed together.
chewy granola bars

Step 6: Press the mixture on the prepped cookie sheet. After the mixture has been pressed into the cookie sheet, the layer should be roughly 1/2 of an inch thick and a square 10in x 10in. Place in a pre-heated 350 degree (f) oven for 25-30 minutes. The longer the bake the crisp the texture.
chewy granola bars

Step 7: After the baking time, remove the chewy granola bars from the oven and let cool on the counter for a few minutes before removing the sheet from the pan. Place on a cutting board and with a pizza cutter or sharp knife cut the bars into your desired size. The batch I made turned out 2 dozen, 1/2 in x 2 in bars.
chewy granola bars

Storage: Keep in an air tight container in a cool dry place for up to 2 weeks, but freshest within the first week of baking… if they last that long! ENJOY!
chewy granola bars

Original post written on August 6th, 2012 by The Sustainable Sweet & Savory Gourmet at site: http://thesustainablesweetandsavorygourmet.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/chewy-oat-nut-and-fruit-bars/