red, white & blue cream scones

Scones never used to be my thing. I'd enjoy them on occasion, but I usually found them dry and lackluster. Why would I make or eat something that left my mouth feeling parched for water? I think being a picky eater has rubbed off on my son. . . if only he was willing to eat vegetables like he eats fruit. . .

One day I was browsing through smittenkitchen.com and found a scone recipe I was willing to try. These had promise that they wouldn't be dust biscuits. I made them, and fell in love. I love them so much that I haven't made a scone from a different base recipe in several years.

What I normally do with this recipe is double it. Not because I could eat a whole batch by myself, but because I can freeze the scones before baking. This way I always have scones on hand for a breakfast (or afternoon) treat, or for drop in company. For potluck breakfasts with friends, I like to bring "sconies," which is this recipe, shaped into smaller scones. I usually end up making these smaller size scones because my 2 year old loves them, and it's easier for him to hold. Now if only I could find some clotted cream in eastern NC. . .

Red, White & Blue Cream Scones
Makes: 8 large scones, or 16 sconies

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 Tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1/3 cup dried cherries, chopped
1/3 cup dried blueberries, chopped
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream

Place oven rack to the middle level and preheat oven to 425°

In food processor, fitted with metal blade, place flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Pulse 6 times.
Remove the cover, and sprinkle butter cubes evenly over dry mixture. Replace cover, and pulse 12 times, with each pulse lasting 1 second. Remove cover and sprinkle the dried cherries, dried blueberries and white chocolate chips evenly over mixture. Replace cover and give the food processor 2 to 3 more pulses.

Pour mixture into a large bowl. With a spatula, stir in the heavy cream until mixture is just moistened, about 30 seconds. Do not over mix or you will have hard scones.

Turn bowl out onto a clean work surface, and make sure to get all the little pieces and excess flour. Give the dough about 5 kneads, while working it into a rough ball (if making sconies, at this point divide the ball in half). Take the dough ball and gently pat down to an 8 inch circle (for sconies, press both balls into 4 inch circles), working so that it has an even top and patting the sides to keep them somewhat structured (you can also press it into an 8 inch cake pan, then flip over to release). Cut circle (or circles) into 8 wedges, using a bench scraper (preferred) or a knife.

Place wedges on a ungreased sheet pan and bake 12-15 minutes (sconies 10-12 minutes), until tops are lightly browned. Remove from pan and allow to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

*If freezing: after cutting wedges from dough circles, place wedges on a lined sheet pan and freeze. Once frozen I place wedges in ziplocs or wrap well in plastic wrap. To bake, just extend bake time a couple minutes.


frosted peach cupcakes

What happens when you leave your in-laws home in Georgia with a giant box of peaches? The original intent was to split the box between us, but as we left our visit, they insisted we take the entire box. As much as my husband, 2 year old and I would love to devour all of these peaches while perfectly in season, realistically the 3 of us could never do it.
So, what could I bake? What could I cook? I began thinking about ideas and cupcakes were the first thing that came to mind. I started with a recipe from smittenkitchen.com, while although tasty, it wasn't what I was craving in my 7 months pregnant-knowing exactly what I wanted state (believe me I was shocked since I love everything that comes from that blog).
I decided to write down a list of ingredients I wanted to use, and tinkered from there. After a couple batches, I finally found what I was looking for. A buttery, slightly tangy, sweet cupcake frosted with a not-so-cream-cheesy cream cheese frosting with the crunch of brown sugar.
Peach Cupcakes with Crunchy Cream Cheese Icing
(original by Meredith)
Makes: 12 cupcakes (this recipe can be easily doubled for 24 cupcakes)

1 1/2 cups Cake Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter, softened
3 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
3/4 cup light Brown Sugar, packed
1 Eggs, large
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 teaspoon Frangelico liqueur
2 fresh Peaches, peeled and pitted
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin tins with liners, or lightly grease tins if not using liners.

Finely chop both peaches, or if you’re lazy like me just whir them in the food processor. Pour the Frangelico on top of the peaches, set aside.

Combine cake flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg in a bowl; whisk to sift.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter, cream cheese, and brown sugar on low-medium speed for 5 minutes. Add egg and scrape sides and bottom of the bowl completely (if you double, add one egg at a time, scraping after each addition). Mix until egg is completely incorporated into the mixture. Stir in vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredient mixture to the bowl, stirring until just combined. Scrape down bowl. Fold in peach and Frangelico mixture, by hand, until just combined.

Fill muffin liners a little over 3/4 full, leaving a little space at the top to prevent overflow. Bake in a preheated oven, 28-30 minutes (in my oven it takes 30 minutes), until tops are slightly golden, a cake tester comes out clean, or when you press lightly on the top of the cupcake, it springs back quickly. Allow to sit in pan for 5 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack. *Because of the fruit and brown sugar, you want to give these cupcakes plenty of time to bake so you don't have mush in the center, which is why this is a longer bake time than normal cupcakes.
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
1/2 cup Butter, Softened
3 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Cream butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add both sugars and allow to mix for several minutes, until light and smooth. Mix in vanilla extract. Spread or pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes (I always pipe).