Apricot White Chocolate Scones

Apricot White Chocolate Scones

I wonder if you are like me. You make grand plans on Saturday night to sleep in Sunday morning. The kids have been given the ” you’re sleeping in tomorrow” talk. Aaah.. we are all set. Until 7 AM Sunday morning rolls around, and you are WIDE awake. That was me yesterday. After staring at the ceiling for half an hour, I started day dreaming about scones. A nice… hot-out-of-the-oven scone. It had to be done. I have a recipe for cranberry orange scones by Ina Garten that I use often, but yesterday, I was in the mood for something new. A quick sweep of my pantry yielded some dried apricots and white chocolate. SOLD! I mean…. everything tastes better with chocolate!

Scones sound really intimidating to make, but they are really not hard at all. Some basic rules apply, though.First, unlike cake baking where you want to use room temperature ingredients, with scones, the colder the better. This helps make them flaky, not dense. The other trick is not to mix in the butter completely. You want pea size pieces in the dough. This also helps make them soft and flaky. The easiest way to make the dough is using a food processor if you have one. A few pulses brings the dough together. A large stand mixer works well too, but since I’m still kicking it old school with a small stand mixer, I chose to use a pastry cutter. It is an awesome tool to have around if you are thinking of making pie crust or scones by hand. It cuts the butter into the flour without warming it, which you would do if you used your hands. (As a side note, I have made the scone dough by hand before. Just use your finger tips not your palms, and work quick. I also put the dough in the freezer for a few minutes before rolling out since I was worried about melting the butter with my hands. It worked out perfectly). Note that the steps I use are for dough by hand using a pastry cutter, so if using an electric mixer or food processor, click the link below for Ina’s recipe.

I’m using Ina Garten’s cranberry orange scone recipe as a base, and just changing some of the ingredients and steps. The dough produced 15 scones, so I cut the shapes out an only baked 7. I lay the other 8 on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze them. Once they are frozen, I transfer them to a ziploc freezer bag. That way, when we need scones in the future, I just thaw them out for about half hour, and then bake them. They actually seem to taste better than the first batch that was never frozen.

Ingredients:

4 Cups, plus 1/4 cup All- Purpose Flour

1/4 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling

2 Tablespoons Baking Powder

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

3/4 Poud Cold Unsalted Butter, Diced

4 Extra Large Eggs

1 Cup Cold Heavy Cream

1 Cup Chopped Dried Apricots

3/4 Cup White Chocolate chips

1 egg beaten with 2 Tablespoons Water or Milk, for eggwash

1. Preheat the oven to 400 Degrees F.

2. In a bowl, mix 4 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the cubed cold butter and use the pastry cutter (or fingertips) to mix until the butter is the size of peas. Lightly beat eggs in a small bowl, and add the heavy cream. Mix egg mixture into the flour mixture until JUST blended. The dough should be lumpy. Combine the apricots and the white chocolate with the 1/4 cup flour (this keeps the pieces fro clumping up when you add to the dough). Add them to the dough and mix until blended.

Pastry Cutter
Add in cold cubed butter to flour mixture
Mix Apricots & Choc with flour. Add to dough

3. Dump the dough onto a well floured surface, and knead into a ball. Flour your hands and a rolling pin, and roll the dough 3/4 inch thick (I actually just patted it out with my hands, and skipped the rolling pin). You should see small bits of butter in the dough. Keep moving the dough around so it doesn’t stick. Cut the dough into desired shapes. (I like triangles and used a pizza cutter, but Ina uses circles). You should get 14-16 scones.

Roll out (or pat with hands) and cut.
Brush with egg wash, and sprinkle sugar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Place the scones on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Brush the tops of scones with the egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are browned and the insides are fully cooked. The scones will be firm to the touch.

Enjoy!

Devotion For the Day.

Bad Company Corrupts:
Please don’t glaze over on me. I know you might read this title and go.. DUH! Anyone with kids have told our children a million and one times to pick their friends wisely. We have probably wagged our finger at the trouble making kid on the block and asked our child to stay away from them. If you don’t have kids, just think of the many times as a teenager that you got the “speech” from your folks. Why, because bad company corrupts (I think I heard a few people say it aloud with me). It’s funny though that sometimes as we grow older and (ahem) wiser, we forget that the same truths that apply to our kids also apply to us. I think I have caught myself a few times thinking that even though some “chick” I am hanging out with is probably not the best company, I am mature enough to not let her get to me. Well, today’s bible reading put me in my place. Solomon, son of David was the wisest man in history. When he took over as king from his father David, his love and dedication so pleased God that the Lord asked him to name whatever he wished and it would be granted. Solomon asked God to give him wisdom that he may rule the people of Israel well. In 1st Kings 3:12, God responded “I will therefore give you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has never been anyone like you before, and there will never be again“. Solomon in his lifetime did amazing things that had people coming from far and wide to witness. Israel prospered so much under his reign that other countries were in awe. Even the Queen of Sheba had to travel all the way to Jerusalem to witness for herself this wise king everyone was raving about.
I’m sure you get the picture. This man was out of this world wise. Discerning beyond anything the nations had ever seen. Yet even he is recorded in the bible as having been corrupted by the company he kept. It is recorded in 1st Kings 11 that even after all the years of serving the Lord, in his old age, Solomon became unfaithful to God because of the foreign wives that he had married that were worshiping other gods. Even though God had strictly warned the Israelites not to intermarry with the other pagan worshiping nations, Solomon loved these women and took them as his wives and concubines (700 wives and 300 concubines). 1st Kings 11:4,  these foreign wives “seduced him to follow other gods. His heart was not completely with the Lord his God as his father David had been“. He built alters for these foreign gods, which greatly angered God. As a result, God told Solomon that the kingdom would be torn away from his son’s hands.
Reading this today reminded me that I am not above being influenced by the people I surround myself with. As wise as I may think I am, even the wisest man in the world turned his eyes away from God due to the bad company he kept. It’s a slow fade. Let’s surround ourselves with people that have the same values we hold, and are headed in the same direction we hope to go. Seriously, bad company does corrupt.

Jambalaya

This year for my birthday, my sweetie bought me an enameled cast iron pot. It’s several months later, and I’m still beaming. Many girls want diamonds. Me…. shiny red cookware. Suddenly, I had to find new recipes to showcase my new friend. Jambalaya was one of those recipes that fit the bill. The inspiration to cook jambalaya came from a Cajun party at my church. Our senior pastor being from Louisiana, they went crazy with the theme. It was a blast. One of my favorite things was the Jambalaya that they served. That evening, it became my new goal to find a way to make a good jambalaya at home. I have tried it on the stove top, and using a slow cooker, and have played around with it to suite our tastes. I might get a lecture about it not being totally authentic, but seeing as I did not grow up in Louisiana, it does not hurt my feelings at all 🙂 I have tried it with shrimp and it’s great, but today I have none. I am also using a pretty spicy andouille, but there are some not so spicy ones available. If you can’t find andouille, or do not like a lot of spice, just use any smoked sausage.
For those of you who have not had jambalaya before, here’s a little history. Creole Jambalaya originated in the French Quarter in New Orleans. It came about as a variation of Spanish Paella blended with Caribbean influences. It usually consists of celery, onions, green pepper (referred to as the “holy trinity” ), meat (typically chicken and andouille or some kind of smoked sausage), seafood (often shrimp), vegetables (tomatoes and sometimes okra),rice and stock. And lastly, it is delicious. History class dismissed. Let’s get to cooking.
Ingredients:
3 Tablespoons Oil
14 Ounces Andouille Sausage
3 boneless, skinless Chicken Breast, cubed
1 large Onion, diced
1 Cup Celery, diced
1 Green Pepper, seeded and diced
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 (14 Ounce) Cans Crushed Tomato (or Petite Diced) I used a 28 oz can this time.
2 Teaspoons Cajun Seasoning
4 Cups Chicken Broth
3 Bay Leaves
2 Cups uncooked Rice
1. Heat oil in a large stock pot, or cast iron pot. On medium high heat,brown the sausage. Take out and set aside on a plate. Add a little oil if needed, then brown the chicken. Set aside with the sausage. (The intent is not to cook the meat all the way, just to brown it for flavor).
2. Using the same pan, saute the onion, celery and green pepper until they start to soften. Add in the garlic, and stir for about a minute. Add the tomato, Cajun seasoning, the chicken broth and the bay leaves. Bring to a boil.
3. Add in the rice. Stir a few times. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to medium. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Now add in the sausage and chicken. Stir then cover and simmer for 10 more minutes until the rice is tender.
Enjoy.
I also included a recipe by Emeril Lagasse for a creole seasoning, if you can’t find one:

Emeril’s ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Yield: 2/3 cup
Devotion For the Day:
The Value of Relationships:

A while back, our Pastor Chris Hodges preached on the topic of relationships. I came across my notes, and thought I would share what stuck with me. His title: We are better together. Well anyone who reads this is probably going… Duh! I know that! The truth is that we all know that it is true that we are not an island and we need people. The problem is that what we know in our heads does not always translate to how we live out our lives. Do we really have friends around us that know us well enough and love us enough that we can be real and vulnerable? Are we that kind of friend? One of my hubby’s favorite verses is Proverbs 27:17  “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another”. That is what real friends do. They sharpen us and enrich our lives, as we do the same in theirs. Pastor Chris loves to make the statement “we are all one step away from stupid”. We laugh.. but it’s so true! A good friend can spot the pit you are about to walk right into and stop you in your tracks. Alternatively, they could pull you out of a pit and dust you off when you need a hand.It was just a reminder for me this week to take the time to invest in meaningful.. authentic relationships. This is where real life change occurs. This was God’s vision for the church. I was reminded that church is not what we do for an hour or two on Sunday morning, it is the fellowship and relationships we build day to day that are the foundation for REAL Christian living. 

Lemon Yogurt Cake

Today I’m really excited to share one of my favorite cake recipes. The two cake recipes that show up at my house every few weeks would be this cake and my sour cream banana bread. They are both quick breads and do not require a ton of prep time, which is why I love them. I can easily have the batter whipped up and in the oven in less than 15 minutes, unlike most cakes that require more time and effort, and a stand or hand mixer. All you need is a couple bowls, and a whisk to mix this batter up. I also love these two recipes because I can convert the recipe into mini loaves, so we can keep some at home and share the rest.

I stumbled across this recipe watching Ina Garten on Food network a couple years ago, and I am ever grateful for her MAD baking skills. Her recipes never let me down. Her friends seem to have a ball at her beautiful home in the Hamptons, and her recipes are always flavorful yet approachable.I often comment that if she’s ever looking for a new dinner buddy, I’m game! I have considered sending her a message to let her know this, but I figure that might come across as a little weird and blow my chances 😦 I guess I might have to stop at hoping. Sorry for the detour… back to the recipe.

There are a few slight differences in my recipe and execution. I use Greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt, because I like the thicker consistency.   As far as the pan size goes, this time as I mentioned, I am using mini loaf pans. I have a silicone pan that makes 6 mini loaves so I double this recipe and it fits it perfectly. The mini loaves cook in 30 minutes.She uses an 81/2 by 41/2 by 21/2 inch pan, but I have used a 9 by 5 inch pan and it worked out great too. Just cut the cooking time down slightly. I also skip the lemon sugar syrup that she pours over the cake while it’s still warm. I like it less sweet, but that is totally a personal preference. If you want to go all the way with Ina’s recipe, follow this.

Here we go…..

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour

2 teaspoons Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 Cup Sugar

3 large eggs

1/2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)

1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil

Glaze:

1 Cup Confectioners’ sugar

2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease your loaf pan (she uses an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan).

2. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. In another larger bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon zest and vanilla. In 3 batches, add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Using a spatula, fold in the oil into the batter. Make sure it’s all incorporated.

3. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a tooth pick in the center comes out clean.  Place on a cooling rack (with a cookie sheet under it).

4. Combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice for the glaze and pour over the cooled cake.

This is a variation I made a few months ago with a cup of fresh blueberries. YUM! I think raspberries would also work really well. It took an extra 10 min of cook time because of the moisture in the fruit.

Devotion For the Day:

Stepping into the water:
My devotional reading the other morning was from Joshua 3 and 4. I’m just now getting to the point in Joshua where the Israelites were all set to enter Canaan. Their beloved Moses had died, and Joshua was the new appointed leader. After the designated time of mourning for Moses has passed (30 days), Joshua is instructed by God that it is time for the Israelites to pack their belongings and go and occupy their promised land.
I can imagine all the excitement at their camp, as well as the anxiety. Was this really happening? All this generation of Israelites had ever known was wandering in the wilderness, since all the men and women who had left Egypt (except for Caleb and Joshua) had died in the wilderness due to their stubbornness and disobedience. To make things even more interesting, they now have a new leader. A ROOKIE! They had seen Moses perform all kinds of miracles, but could this Joshua do the same ? Was God really with Joshua?
God instructed that the Levites walk a half mile ahead of the group, carrying the ark of the covenant. The final descent has began. Now you know it’s not a coincidence that once they get to the Jordan River, they find the banks overflowing. It was harvest season, and the river is at it’s highest point. I like to see this moment as the final test, because God gives a simple, but powerful instruction. Have the Levites step into the Jordan, and He will cut off the water up stream. Note how God doesn’t say to stand on the river banks and He will cut off the water. They had to STEP into the water for Him to perform this miracle. It was an active step of faith. They had to do their part, all the while trusting that God was going to do His part, and not let them get swept away by the water. How God works!
This passage was such a challenge to me today. When God calls us to do something, we need to trust Him and step into the water. Canaan was ahead, but the Israelites could not reach it until the Levites took that step into the raging waters. The best part? God kept His end of the deal! He ALWAYS does. Joshua 3:15-16 NIV
15 Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho.