Maple Raisin Scones

Breads, Muffins and Scones

Yield: 8 large scones
Recipe: 117/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 260

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    The main reason why I decided to do these scones was because I had almond milk in my fridge, a rare event, and thought it was the perfect opportunity use it for a recipe. I must admit that I had serious doubts about how good this recipe would be. Not because I don’t like scones, I love scones, but I thought the texture of the raisins would be very strange in a fluffy crunchy scone. I am a texture person, after all. I was wrong! This dessert took no time at all to make and was delicious! The raisins actually provided a nice texture to the scones and added some sweetness without being overwhelming. Delicious! Who would’ve thought to put raisins in scones?! Anna Olson, that’s who. Great idea. I cannot recommend these scones enough. Easy, tasty, not too sweet and dairy- and egg-free!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon almond or soy milk
  • ½ cup + 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup raisins

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the ¾ cup of almond or soy milk, ½ cup of maple syrup and vegetable oil.
  4. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the mixed liquids. Stir the mixture with a spatula until it becomes too hard to do, then turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, add the raisins on top of the dough and knead it until it just comes together.
  5. Shape the dough into a disc of about 8 inches in diameter and cut into 8 wedges. Place the scones onto the prepared baking tray, leaving two inches between them.
  6. Stir together the remaining tablespoon of almond or soy milk and maple syrup, and use to brush the tops of the scones.
  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops of the scones are golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Valerie

Banana Walnut Bread

Breads, Muffins and Scones

Yield: one 9×5 inch loaf (about 12-16 slices)
Recipe: 105/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 276

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     With a lot of time suddenly freed up after being done teaching a lab course, I took the opportunity during the weekend to bake a couple of things. It had been a while! Since I had some very ripe bananas in my fridge that needed to be used, I started with this vegan banana and walnut bread. It was simple to make, but the first time that I tasted it I wasn’t too impressed. I found it a bit too salty and not sweet enough. I thought that it was perhaps because my bananas were beyond saving (I’m telling you, they were very old and I think they may have started to ferment) and for this reason were not as sweet as normal ripe bananas. However, the second and third time I tried the bread I grew to like it. The banana flavour is not as strong as what I am used to, but you can definitely still taste the bananas. What surprised me most is the texture of this bread. Since there are no eggs, butter or dairy milk, I was not expecting such a fluffy texture. You could never tell that this recipe is egg-free and dairy-free! If you are looking for a yummy banana bread that does not require eggs or dairy, definitely give this a try! Word to the wise, I strongly advise you to use ripe bananas that have black spots on the skin, that is when they will be the sweetest.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium bananas)
  • ⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup almond or soy milk
  • 1 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup walnut pieces

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the mashed bananas, brown sugar, vegetable oil and almond or soy milk.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift and whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. Add the dry mixture to the banana mixture and stir until evenly blended.
  5. Stir in the walnut pieces and mix well.
  6. Scrape the batter into the loaf pan and cook for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the bread comes out clean. Cool the loaf in the pan for 20 minutes, then turn it out to cool completely.

Valerie

Apple Cheddar Walnut Scones

Breads, Muffins and Scones

Yield: 8 scones
Recipe: 64/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 228

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     This weekend I had the good fortune of remembering that scones are delicious: crunchy on the outside yet moist and tender on the inside. As such, I made these apple cheddar walnut scones and was very pleased with the result! The cheddar cheese called for in this recipe adds a tangy kick that is very pleasing. I have found that scones are one of my favorite things to make because they require no eggs, not a lot of butter and they eat themselves! 

Ingredients:

  • 1  2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
  • 60 g (2 oz.) coarsely grated old cheddar cheese
  • 1 tart apple, such as Granny Smith, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 1/3 cup cold milk, plus extra for brushing
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnut pieces, lightly toasted

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, celery salt and cinnamon and stir to combine.
  3. Cut in the chilled butter using your fingers or two knives until the mixture is crumbly. Pieces of butter will still be visible.
  4. Stir in the cheddar cheese and grated apple to coat with the flour mixture.
  5. Add in the milk and stir until the dough begins to come together, then turn it out on a lightly floured work surface.
  6. Sprinkle the walnuts over the dough and work them in by flattening the dough with your hands, folding it over itself, and repeating the process 4-5 times until the walnuts are well incorporated into the dough.
  7. Shape the dough into a disc and flatten it out with your hands until it is about 8 inches across. Cut the dough into 8 wedges and place them onto the prepared baking tray.
  8. Brush the tops of the scones with milk and bake for 14-16 minutes, until they are golden brown.

Notes from Anna:

  • The scones are best served the day they are baked, but they can be reheated for 5 minutes in a 300°F oven to refresh them.

Valerie

Chocolate Cranberry Sticky Buns

Breads, Muffins and Scones

Yield: 12 sticky buns
Recipe: 58/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 233

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   The third and last dessert I made this past weekend were the scrumptious-looking chocolate cranberry buns. As always, I was craving chocolate when I was baking, thus my primary motivation for making these pull-apart sticky buns. Unfortunately, however, what I obtained was not so scrumptious-looking and definitely not pull-awart gooeyness. I don’t know at what step I could have made a mistake, but something definitely happened with this recipe. Although I re-read it two times, something didn’t add up. When preparing to roll, the dough was extremely wet and soft, not anything that could be folded. I had a feeling at this point that I would not obtain sticky buns, but I went ahead with the recipe anyway since it was mostly done. The dough never raised and was always very soft, wet and sticky. What I achieved in the end were things that looked like muffins and were a bit dry. I am mostly annoyed with this as I have no idea where I went wrong. I triple-checked that I used the correct yeast. The taste itself is not even so good to me, but perhaps I am biased by the unsavoury look of the chocolate muffins. I will undoubtedly add this recipe to the list of those I want to repeat to improve. Perhaps you will have better results (let me know if you do!). 

Ingredients for starter:

  • 3/4 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dry instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Ingredients for base:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1  1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips

Ingredients for filling:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Ingredients for brushing:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons water

Directions:

  1. For the starter, stir all the ingredients together and set aside while preparing the base.
  2. For the base, using a hand or stand mixer cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and blending after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, alternating with the buttermilk. Start and finish with the dry ingredients. Make sure to scrape the side of the bowl after each addition.
  5. Stir in the starter, the dried cranberries and chocolate chips. Mix well to combine.
  6. Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise, refrigerated, overnight. (Note: at this point the dough will be very wet and very sticky).
  7. Prepare the filling by creaming the butter until fluffy, then beat in the icing sugar and cocoa powder. Grease a muffin tin.
  8. On a generously floured work surface, turn out the dough. Flour the surface of the dough and roll it to a rectangle of about 20 inches by 12 inches. The dough will be very easy to roll since it is so soft.
  9. Spread the filing over the surface of the dough and sprinkle it with the dried cranberries. Roll up the dough from the long slide and slice into 12 buns. Place each bun into a muffin cup, cover and let rise for 1 hour.
  10. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  11. Whisk the egg with the water and brush the buns with the mixture. Bake for about 50 minutes until they are cooked though (you can tell by peeking through the layers of dough. Let the buns cool completely in the pan.

Valerie

Currant Scones

Breads, Muffins and Scones

Yield: 16 scones
Recipe: 57/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 226

Currant scones

   The second baked goods I made during my baking day were these cute-looking currant scones. I actually did not know exactly what currants were, but I assumed that they were probably a dried fruit of some sort. They are dried red grapes, as it is (probably everyone except me knows that, oh well). I found out when making the white chocolate and pepper scones that I love scones, and the texture of these were similar: a crusty outside and a moist, warm and flaky inside. Although the texture of these scones were on point, I found the taste to be a bit lacking. Maybe I am not a fan of currants, after all. The scones were missing something sweet for me, personally. 

Edit: I actually find that these scones taste better when reheated the next day! The flavor of the currants come out more, somehow.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut in pieces and chilled
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup cold milk, plus extra for brushing
  • 1/2 cup dried currants

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Using a hand or stand mixer, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, lemon zest and nutmeg to combine.
  3. Cut in the chilled butter using the mixer or using your fingers until the mixture is crumble but pieces of butter are still visible.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the whole egg and egg yolk together. Whisk in the milk.
  5. Add the egg and milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix just until the dough begins to come together. The dough will be a bit wet and sticky, this is normal.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and sprinkle the currants on top of the dough. Work them in the dough by flattening the dough out with your hand and then folding it in half, pressing in the currants at the same time. You will need to fold the dough in two about 4-5 times.
  7. Shape the dough into a square and gently roll it out to an 8-inch square, lightly dusting with flour if needed. Cut the dough into 16 squares and place them onto the prepared baking tray.
  8. Brush the scones with milk and bake for 14-16 minutes, until they are golden brown.

Note from Anna:

  • The scones are best eaten the day they are made, but they can be reheated for 5 minutes in a 300°F oven to refresh them.

Valerie