Whole grain scones with raisins & walnuts

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Scones! Gotta love´em! I know I do. I´ve said it before, and I´ll say it again: I love scones! I´m not afraid to admit it. It´s a fact, it´s a thing I can´t deny, like the fact that I will love them till I die… Ok – you get the picture.

Why this love of scones you say?
Well first of all – they taste amazing, but secondly, and maybe most importantly, you can start baking and get to the eating-part within 30 minutes! Unlike their yeasty relatives… And may I add that there´s absolutely no kneading involved! Only slight stirring, and even barely so. Which means you don´t have to wait for the dough to rise or to evolve to another stage, which again means there´s no disappointments when your dough doesn´t behave like it´t supposed to. No, no. None of that. Scones are grateful little creatures. At least compared to their yeasty cousins, which seem to live a life of their own. And that can be interesting at times, but other times, you want to be in charge, you want to be the master in your own kitchen. And then, my friend – scones are your friends.

And, like many other things I guess, you can play around with them, mixing them up with different kinds of flour or addings to suit your liking that day. You can go all in with full cream, butter and sugar and chocolate, or you can add berries or fruits for freshness, or you can substitute some of the ingredients to make a sweet, yet slightly healtiher scone. That´s what I intended to today. Sweet – yes. Always sweet to suit my sweet tooth, but also trying to make them a little less fatty and sugary, so that I can gobble on more of them, and eat them like a sweet substitute for bread.

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Like I may have mentioned before, I´m on an everlasting search for a scone recipe that will resemble, or ideally copy – (but I don´t aim that high any longer) – the scones from my time working at the Lie Nielsen bakery. And judging by the photos, and list of ingredients, these seemed to be fitting.´ve actually made these once before, but that was a long time ago. I couldn´t really remember how they turned out last time – so it was time to make them again! It was my turn to bring baked goods to my sweet-loving health-concernded classmates this week, and what opportunity could be more appropriate? The recipe is from a book from the Norwegian bakeri Åpent Bakeri. I don´t really know the bakery, since it´s based in Oslo, but from what I´ve heard, it´s one of the best. And their scones are no exeption… And neither are mine – if I dare say so!

Scones (adapted from Åpent Bakeri)
– yield 8 decent sized scones

115 g sugar
100 g butter
1 dl buttermilk or greek yoghurt
2,5 dl milk
375 g flour (I used about 200 g wheat, and 175 whole grain – a mix of spelt/rye flour)
25 g baking powder
50 g walnuts
75 g raisins

The day before baking, soak the raisins.
(Or at least for a couple of hours – if your scones-cravings are urgent!)
Drain the raisins, then set them aside on a paper towel to soak up any external moisture.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter, yoghurt and sugar. Add the (sifted) flour and baking powder mix in stages, then knead lightly till it is smooth and elastic in texture. Slowly add the milk while beating, and stir the mixture till it is smooth and lump-free (don’t worry if it appears curdled, mine did and my scones still turned out beautifully!) Carefully stir in the soaked raisins and walnuts, then shape the dough into a ball. (Be careful not to over-stir! The less you do the better – You just want the dough to hold together and be somewhat lumpfree) If the dough turns very wet, add a little more flour.

Place on a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7- to 8-inch circle about 3/4-inch thick. Sprinkle withe chopped almonds. Use a sharp knife to cut into 8 triangles. I like to pull them apart too, just to make sure they bake more evenly. Place on a cookie sheet (preferably lined with parchment paper), about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden, about 15 to 17 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature with butter. Simple as that! And that´s why I love scones!

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Cottage cheese-apple-pancakes

Pancakes are back! Well, where they ever really out? Nahhh, not really. Just took a break after a pancake overdose some time ago. And ironically enough, a holiday in the US, consuming a lot of breakfast-pancakes, was what made me want more! I had a lot of pancakes over there… When I´m in the states (sounds as if I go there regularly – but frankly, this is just my second visit! But I´ll be back, for sure! Love it!) I try to eat as american as possible, and by american I mean all the classic american stuff. And of course local specialites. Well, I try to do this whereever I go. When in Rome, right? (And when I actually was in Rome this summer, I indulged in risotto, pizzas, gelato….need I say more? But that´s another story!) So – I was in the states, and breakfast was not included in our hotel, so we went out for breakfast each day. And pancakes were always appealing to me – speaking to me – choose me, choose me! So I did. Over and over again. By the end of our holiday, I´ve had my decent pancake-share- Some really great, some mediocre pancakes, but most importantly, I remembered how tasty a pancake-breakfast can be. So, one week later, my jetlag was more or less gone, it was weekend, and my pancake cravings began. I gave in. Though, not the typical american classic kind. I tried to make them a little healthier, non-US-style! (But then again, I´m no longer in America, but in healthy whole-grain scandinavia, surrounded by health-freaks from my study. So I adapt, once again!) I bought some cottage cheese for some reason (I never eat it) and decided to use some of it for pancakes. Since I didn´t have blueberries or bananas and was to lazy to get out, and I was beginning to get a cold as a result from 10 days in Miami, and then back to cold Denmark, I had to make them without fruit or use what I had. I had half an apple, and decided to use that. Grated it into the batter. And then I was ready to make some pancakes! They turned out really moist because of the apple and cottage cheese, though the texture was a little different then the usual pancake. I also made them whole grain to make them a little healthier. And then I drenched them in butter and syrup….. Next time, I think I´ll go for the real thing though! But as a less-guilt-free pancake this is really good! And moist!
After a little research online, I had a certain idea of a recipe, and mine went something like this:

Cottage cheese-apple pancakes (about 10)

1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp syrup (I used agave, but maple or honey will do!)
½ cup all purpose flour
¼ cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
Butter/oil for frying.

Puree the cottage cheese and eggs in a food processor for about 30 seconds. Add in the dry ingredients, then and pulse just until combined, and stir in the grated apple.

Preheat a griddle, skillet, or any flat bottomed pan on medium/low heat.

*The pancakes need to be cooked on a lower heat for a little longer than normal pancakes.

Add some butter to the pan if you’re pan isn’t non stick. If it is, you probably won’t need any addition butter to prevent sticking. Scoop the pancakes onto the preheated griddle and use the back of the scoop to spread the pancakes a bit. Cook for about 4 minutes per side.

*The outside of the pancakes will be a deep golden brown when they’re done, not a light golden brown. Serve with syrup and butter, bananas, berries or whatever you fancy!

Tomato salad

There were tomato days in the supermarket the other day. Meaning, they offered more than one kind, and other colours than red. OMG, they do really exist! Yellow, orange and green tomatoes – totally crazy…! Well, not really, but around here, that stuff don´t come around to often. Tomatoes is a neglected buisness in Scandinavia, but it´s slowly improving. But of course, the climate does set certain limits… The season is short, and imported tomatoes are picked before they are ripe, and end up here, tasteless and boring. I know I´ve made my tomato complains before in this previous post, BUT, like I said, tomato days! Many kinds! I had to buy a bag of course. Didn´t know what to do with them initally, but I quickly found out. Tomato heirloom salad is obviously a hit at tastespotting at the moment! And the pictures of that salad really looked good. Really good. And I don´t really know what a heirloom salad is (or what heirloom means for that matter), but I knew what I needed to know: I was gonna make a heirloomish tomato salad. Or at least a tomato salad. Since I was planning this for supper, I needed some more ingredients besides tomatoes. Red onion. I think that´s allowed. Heirloom wise. And basil, of course. And some kind of lettuce. Hmmm, what else could I put into this… Google time! And then I found a recipe for heirloom salad at one of my favourite blogs 101.cookbooks, where Heidi roasted half of the tomatoes. And since I´ve tried her recipe for oven roasted tomatoes before in this delcious pasta dish, I knew this would be good. So off I went to get some rather dull, bigger tomatoes to go into the oven. The other ones, were cherry tomatoes in different colours and shapes, so I wasn´t going to do anything to those pretty little things! And what can I say. It was good. It was very good. And simple. And so perfect for today, which was a very summerly day in september. I spent the afternoon walking around the lakes, meeting up for a friend for some ice cream in the sun, talking, laughing and returning home for a light dinner. A heirloomy tomato salad-dinner with home made sour dough bread. Perfect end to a perfect day.

Heirloom Tomato Salad a la Malin – for 1
400 g tomatoes

A handful of torn lettuce leaves

1/2 Red onion

Olive oil

1 teaspoon of sugar

Sea salt and fresh pepper

Optional: Cheese of choice, like mozzarella or ricotta for instance. I guess feta would work too.

(Ok, I realize this is hardly a recipe, and instructions are hardly needed, but here we go!)

First, turn the oven to 180 C (375 F)

Cut half of the tomatoes, and toss them with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and sugar.Toss the tomatoes you will be roasting gently (but well) in a bowl along with the olive oil, sugar, and salt. Arrange them in a single layer, cut side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, without stirring, until the tomatoes shrink a bit and start to caramelize around the edges, 45 to 60 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Tear up the lettuce, cut the rest of the tomatoes and the onion, and toss everything together. Mix in the roasted tomatoes, eventually the chunks of cheese and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper after taste. Serve with good bread and butter.

Best. Cookie. Ever.

Ok. So this is it. This is IT. THE COOKIE. The one and only. Well maybe not the only, but definetely the one. The one I´ve wanted to be able to create in my own kitchen, meeting all my criterias for a perfect cookie: Crunchy edges, a chewy interiour, a deep flavour, a buttery texture and of course loaded with decent sized chunks of chocolate and hazelnuts. Ahhhh, what can I say – I`m in Heaven!!!

I´ve been meaning to make this for quite some time, but being the impatient baker I am, I´ve never got around to it until now. Cause this cookie needs some time and patience, my friend, but it´ll be worth it! So worth it… I promise! The reason why I baked them now, was simply to satisfy my chocolate chip cookie-cravings that appeard a few weeks back. But, I was able to resist the instant cravings, so that I wouldn´t give in for just any mediocre cookie. I wanted something more. Since I haven´t had a cookie in God-knows-how-long, this cookie had to be good, or actually better than good. So I searched for the recipe that would give maximum cookie-pleasure!

If I had the time, or the people to feed, I would easily bake cookies every week and try out several different recipes, and it wouldn´t be so bad if some of them turned out just ok. But I don´t get to bake cookies as often as I´d liked to – so when I wanted to bake cookies, I didn´t want to settle for “just a cookie” – I wanted the best chocolate cookie ever. Period. (Don´t we all?) So I put my impatience and cravings aside and got baking. I even followed the recipe precisly, with all the important notes that would influence on the final result. (No, that´s a lie. I didn´t have cake flour…I guess it would be even better with that! Next time! Cause these cookies will be made again, and again…) And boy…..was it all worth it? – Hell yeah!

I mean, with a the title “The Only Chocolate Chip Cookie I Will Ever Need to Know How to Make For The Rest of My Life” – I knew this was a recipe worth trying out. The only thing it requires is a little patience due to the refrigerating, and some planning to get everything at room temperature before you dive in. This is no “I want cookies – NOW” kind of recipe. This is a “I want the best damn chocolate chip cookies that have ever graced this earth and I am willing to practice some patience to get them in my mouth” recipe.
It turned out that this recipe was from Jaques Torres, which I´ve been drooling over, and I´ve heard people raving over claiming it to be the best ccc-recipe, and I´ve been planning to make it forever, but never got around to make due to my impatience. And when this turned out to be that same recipe, just disguised under that promising title, I knew these cookies had to be made…



Chocolate chip cookies (adapted from Jaques Torres)

2 cups minus 2 Tbsp. (8 ½ oz.) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 ½ oz.) bread flour
1 ¼ tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. coarse salt, such as kosher
2 ½ sticks (1 ¼ cups; 10 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
1 ¼ cups (10 oz.) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. (8 oz.) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ¼ pounds bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks, preferably about 60% cacao content, such as Ghirardelli
Sea salt or kosher salt for garnishing

Combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Whisk well; then set aside.

Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until very light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low; then add dry ingredients, and mix until just combined. (Unless you have a plastic guard that sits around the rim of the bowl, this will make a big mess at first, with flour flying everywhere. I found that carefully holding a dish towel around the top of the bowl helped a lot.) Add the chocolate chips, and mix briefly to incorporate. Press plastic wrap against the dough, and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. The dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Remove the bowl of dough from the refrigerator, and allow it to soften slightly. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.

Using a standard-size ice cream scoop – mine holds about 3 fluid ounces, or about 1/3 cup – scoop six mounds of dough onto the baking sheet, making sure to space them evenly. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt, and bake until golden brown but still soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies onto the rack to cool a bit more.

Yield: About 24 cookies (I made over 30, but I guess I don´t make them US-sized!)

No knead bread – in a pot!

Making bread has never been easier! Or better! (Because when is easy not better, really?) Bread is not what it used to be. It´s still delicious, warm from the oven with butter melting into it, and a nice crust that holds it together. That hasn´t changed. What has changed, is the making of the bread. If I only knew what I know now… That all that kneading – is not really necessary! I was taught that when making bread, the most important thing is to knead the dough, for a loooong time. And several times. If you didn´t do that, the bread wouldn´t rise, it´d turn into a compact brick-like-bread-wannebe, and without the light fluffy texture you want from a good bread. So, that was the rule! Knead like crazy!

Still, I must admit, I didn´t always have the patience (or muscle strength for that matter…) to do that. I kneaded for some time, but never as long as the recipe demanded. Maybe I could have if I had, like, a pink or turquoise Kitchen Aid…? (Ahem….someone´s birthday is coming up soon…) And do I need that now that I don´t knead anymore! I do… It has other qualities! Besides, it´s pretty! Anyways, back to the bread. I know the no-knead-thing is kind of yesterday´s news around blogland, or any land, I guess. Even this particular kind is to be found on various blogs and sites around the internet, but to me, it was new! This is my first attempt at baking bread in anything else but a bread-pan. You see. The thing is. You bake the bread in a pot! Yup – that´s right! And doing that you get a crackly crust and a moist and fluffy inside – aka – yummy bread!

The simple method involves mixing all of the ingredients, letting the dough rise for a rather flexible stretch of time (8-20 hours-ish), and baking it at a really high heat after some minimal shaping and some extra rising time in a preheated dutch oven. The steam trapped by the pot’s lid contributes to a crispy, chewy crust, while an extremely hot pot assures a high and fast rising.

And the result: A perfectly symmetric round, beautiful tasty bread!
Looks good, and tastes good. And it´s dead easy! (And no kneading involved!)


No knead bread (1 bread)

250 g wheat flour
175 g spelt flour
3,5 dl water
0,5 ts dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt

1: Mix everything together in a big bowl, using a wooden spoon. There´s no need to get your stand mixer out, but if you want to, go ahead using the paddle attachment. When everything´s throughly mixed, and there are no lumps, cover with plastic wrap and let sit 12-20 hours in room temperature.

2: Shape & preheat: The dough will now be wet, sticky and bubbly. With a wet spatula, dump the dough on a floured surface. Fold ends of dough over a few times with the spatula and nudge it into a ball shape. You can use your hands if you like, just keep your hands wet so that the dough does not stick. Transfer to a bowl, and let it nap for 2 hours. When you’ve got about a half hour left, slip your covered pot into the oven and preheat to 200C/ 450F.

3. Bake: Your dough should have doubled in size. (Mine didn´t though…but it did increase!) Remove pot from oven. Carefully transfer the dough into the hot pot, making sure not to puncture it too much. It doesn’t matter which way it lands, though. Shake to even dough out. Cover. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover – aka remove the lid – and bake another 15-20 minutes or until the crust is beautifully golden. Remove and let cool on wired rack.

4: Enjoy! (Like most breads, it´s best eaten within a couple of days.)


Red pesto pasta with slow-roasted tomatoes

Wow. Why haven´t I made oven-roasted tomatoes before? That´s the question. Holy tomato, that stuff is good! And what a perfect way to turn dull tomatoes into deliciousness. And dull tomatoes are, unfortunately, the rule rather than the exception around here. Of course you can get your hands on some tomatoes that taste at least of something, but they are a little pricey, as most good things are. Actually, I don´t mind paying for quality, when it comes to food (that´s where I really don´t compromise – life´s just too short not to enjoy good food!) but it´s nice to know there´s an opportunity to make something tasty of the cheap stuff too! Especially for a poor student like myself.

I bought some tomatoes last week – more than I could possibly consume before they would start turning into raisin-like creatures. But I feared not! Because I had great intentions for these babies! Fresh or not – it didn´t matter, because they were going to be roasted – shrunken in size but maximized in flavour! (I didn´t know that at the time, but so I´ve had heard. And that´s pretty much the thing with everything: time equals flavour! I mean, just think of cheeses, wine, parma ham, sourdough….it´s the umami that developes. Umami is the fifth flavour, described as a rich savory meat-bouillon-like taste. Umami exists naturally in tomatoes, but roasting the tomatoes intensifies the flavour to the maximum!) And that´s the magic here! Turning tasteless tomatoes into taste-explotion! Allright, let´s get down to buisness:

Like I said, these tomatoes were bought not only with a particular purpose in mind, but with a particular recipe in mind, too. I had read about oven-roasted tomatoes at the Norwegian blog veganmisjonen.com, and the pictures left me drooling and craving wanting to try this! And I don´t know if I searched for a recipe, or if it just appeared, either way, it was perfect! I found it at one of my favourite blogs 101.cookbooks, and like most of Heidis recipes, this sounded and looked delicious. In her recipe she makes her own pesto, which probably is better, but I had a jar I had to finish. And I don´t have a blender. And this wasn´t about pesto. This was about roasting tomatoes. One thing at a time.


Pasta with red pesto and slow-roasted tomatoes (recipe adapted from 101.cookbooks.com)
Serves 1

80 g whole grain pasta
Red pesto
5-6 sundried tomatoes
12-15 cherry tomatoes
A few slices of red onion
1 teaspoon sugar
A handful spinach
5-6 walnuts
Feta cheese
3 tbs Xtra virgin olive oil

Directions:
Cut the tomatoes in half, and arrange them in an oven-proof pan, hollow side up. Sprinkle with sugar. Roast for 1,5 hours on 160 C (320 F) – starting with a cold oven! (Turn on the oven as you put them in!)
When the tomatoes have shrunken, splash over a decent amount of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn up the oven to 225 C/440 F, and roast them for another 5-10 minutes, until they have a slightly grilled look. But keep an eye on them, you don´t want them to be burned after waiting patiently for them for all this time!)

(Eventually – if you´re in a hurry – you can do the speedy version and bake them for 40 minutes on 200 C/400 F)

Coarsely chop the walnuts, and give them a roast on the pan. (Or in the oven I guess! It´s already turned on) Cut some fine slices of red onion, and some bigger slices of sun-dried tomatoes.
Cook the pasta – al dente, of course, and mix with red pesto, onion and sun-dried tomatoes.

Arrange the spinach on a platter, and toss over the pasta. Pour over the oven roasted tomatoes – making sure you get all the juices where all the flavour lies, and sprinkle with walnuts and crumbled feta.
Enjoy! Trust me – you will!

Roasted butternut squash with bulgur and chickpeas – and a yoghurt-cumin dressing!

This was my first encounter with butternut squash. The first date. The make or break. First impression is everything, right? Pumpkins, hokkaidos and butternutsquash(es?) are not regular guests in Norwegian supermarkets. Actually, have I ever seen either one? Well, yeah…I have, now that I come to think about it. Around halloween it´s possible to get your hands on a pumpkin in the bigger supermarkets, but I think that´s pretty much it. And that´s just the last couple of years. Every time some new food arrives, I get very eager to try it. Especially with fruits and vegetables. I don´t wanna miss out on anygthing! What if that weird-looking/ weird-named thing is the new apple? OMG! There´s no time to loose! Even so, I yet have to try a regular pumpkin. They´re so expensive, and like I said, only available during halloween… But now that I´ve moved to Denmark, it´s another story. Vegetables are cheap, and in abundance all year round! Even pumpkins! But the thing is, I´m living alone here, and the pumpkins are too gigantic for one person and my mini-fridge, so I´ve put that on hold. And that´s where the butternut squash comes in! I saw my roomie bake this thing (which I didn´t even know what was), but I imagined it would be really good. So a few days later, I went out to get what appeared to be something called butternut squash. Okeydoke. So far so good. Now – what to do with this thing? I wanted to roast it, and after some googling around the net, I found a tasty-looking recipe from this lovely blog. I replaced the farro with bulgur, but apart from that, I followed it precisely. And what can I say? What a vegetable! So sweet, so nicely coloured and totally perfect in this dish! I´ve already made it about 5 times! So off you go! Whether you´re well acquainted with butternut squash or not, give this recipe a go! It tasty, yummy and makes you feel all good inside.

Roasted butternut squash with bulgur and chickpeas (recipe from thevintagemixer.com)

Ingredients

1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 1/2 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice
3 garlic cloves; 1 minced, 2 thinly sliced
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
4 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled butternut squash
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cups bulgur
2 tablespoons chopped chili
3/4 cup 1/2-inch cubes red onion plus 1/4 cup thinly sliced
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

Toast cumin seeds in small skillet over medium heat until fragrant and beginning to smoke, 4 to 5 minutes. Cool; grind in spice grinder. Transfer 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin to small bowl. Mix in yogurt, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill.
Preheat oven to 400°F. (200 C) Coat large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Place squash in large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons oil; toss to coat. Spread squash out on sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook bulgur in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 5 minutes. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced garlic and 1 tablespoon chile; sauté 1 minute. Add onion cubes and garbanzo beans; sauté 1 minute. Add roasted squash and cooked farro and toss to blend. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin and 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice; toss to blend. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.

Mound farro mixture on 4 plates. Spoon yogurt mixture over. Sprinkle with cilantro, sliced onion, and remaining chile. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve.

Blueberry scones

It´s easter!
That means I´m home back in Bergen, I have some time to kill while everyone´s at work, and later I have some more time because of the holidays which is perfect for some staying in-activities, such as baking. And, I have people to feed, plus room in the freezer for whatever leftovers there might be! Oh, the opportunities! And not to mention, I have a lot of stuff, like berries, in the freezer, so I don´t have to get out buying overpriced supermarket-berries. Or getting wet. And like I said, it´s easter, which means some easter-treats has to be made. Only in case the easter bunny doesn´t show up, of course.

Today is a perfect day for baking. The rain is pouring down, the shops are closed, and although my boyfriend was supposed to start his holidays today, he had to arrange a quick meeting in a café. How rude! Taking clients to cafés instead of me – on our holiday! Well, there´s only one thing to do. If I can´t come to the café, the café must come to me. Which is actually a better option in this weather. Now I only had to choose a café-like snack. Like always I´ve done some baking-research before I got home. The list of recipes to try, I´ve realised is a never-ending project, as people like myself keep adding tempting recipes, and I keep both buying and borrowing cookbooks. I don´t make it easy for myself. So many recipes, so little time! And the fact that I´m on a daily search for recipes – without any other reason than just for the sake of it – well, I better get baking!

Starting with this scone recipe. These scones immediately made it to the top of my baking list, pushing down brownies, pound cake and other things that have been lined up for quite some time – poor things. But sometimes, you see a picture of something so appealing, you can´t get your mind around anything else, and there´s only one thing to do. Bake it. Get it out of the system. See if they taste as good as they looked at the picture. And of course, compare yours to the original. Uglier, prettier? It´s usually the first. But these turned out quite decent, if I may say so.

Taste wise – well, I don´t have anything to compare with, but I thought they were pretty darn good! The recipe calls for partly whole wheat flour, which I substituted for rye flour. (That´s what I had) That made them more filling and hearty, without feeling overly “healthified”. They´re still sweet and moist, but just perfectly balanced. You could easily have these for breakfast – or any other time of the day!
I enjoyed mine fresh from the oven with a cup of tea for a late lunch. I couldn´t resist adding some butter (can I ever?) – butter melting into warm baked goods – seriously, how can anyone resist?
Even so, they are flavourful enough on their own, so they don´t necessarily need anything. But I imagine a dollop of whipped cream wouldn´t hurt either. So you can dress it up or down, and serve it as breakfast, afternoon snack or dessert! Or all of the above. Go crazy!



Berry Almond Scones
(slightly adapted from thevintagemixer)

1 stick (8 tbsp)butter, cold, plus 1 Tb melted
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup sliced almonds
½ cup milk
½ cup Greek yogurt
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
1 cup whole wheat/rye pastry flour
½ cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt

Instructions

Yields 8 generous blues-killing scones
Adjust an oven rack to middle position and preheat to 220 C/ 425˚ F.
Grate the frozen butter on the holes of a large box grater.
Whisk together the milk and Greek yogurt in a medium bowl; refrigerate until needed. In another bowl, combine the flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and almonds in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the grated butter to the flour mixture and toss with fingers until thoroughly coated.

Add the milk-yogurt mixture to the dry ingredients and fold with a spatula just until combined. Transfer the dough to a generously floured work surface. Dust the top of the dough with flour, and knead with well floured hands, 6-8 times. Add small amounts of flour as needed to prevent sticking.
Roll the dough into a 12-inch square.

Sprinkle the berries evenly over the surface of the dough, and gently press down so that they are slightly embedded in the dough surface. Fold up the edges of the dough up so that all of the berries are concealed inside the dough. The dough should resemble a ball. Flatten the dough and gently form into a circle (about 7 inches by 7 inches). Using a sharp, floured knife, or a sharp dough scraper/chopper cut the circle into 8 equal triangles (like pie wedges). Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with melted butter and sprinkle lightly with sugar or more sliced almonds. Bake until the tops and bottoms are golden brown, 18-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool at 10 minutes before serving. If you can wait that long!

Nutella rolls


So – finally my family pack of nutella was put to use! Or some of it, at least. That thing is huge! Like I may have mentioned earlier, I have a thing for big food, or food that come in large sizes or packages. I´m drawn to anything supersize when it comes to food. I´m just fascinated by food that goes beyond the usual or ordinary sizes, whether it´s nutella, apples, cinnamon rolls or pepper grinders. Don´t judge me!

This time, it´s about nutella. Once I saw that jar of 1-kg nutella, I knew it was coming home with me. And by US standards, 1 kg probably isn´t all that, but here it is. I´d never seen anything like it! So to me, 1 kg is a-lot, especially considered that I normally don´t buy or eat nutella. So I really didn´t know why I bought it or what to do with it, but I had to have it. Some girls shop for shoes, I shop spreadings. So I got it home and put it away. I googled for recipes, and decided that nutella rolls would be a good way to start. But somehow, I never got around to it. After some time I had to move it from my kitchen into my little pantry of things I seldom use. Probably a bad idea, cause you know, out of sight, out of mind. I would have kept it in my kitchen as a reminder to use that freakin thing, but due to extremely limited storage possibilites in the kitchen, priorities had to be made. But now, finally, the time has come to nutella rolls. We´re going on a foodexpo with my class tomorrow, and I´m bringing these for the 3-hour busdrive. To spread some nutella-joy! Maybe not the most transportable baked goods there is, though. So the verdict: What can I say? They were worth waiting for! Oh my… Sticky, gooey sweet hazelnut bliss!
And if you top it off with some roasted hazelnuts, and some extra nutella (just to glue the hazelnuts, of course) – well, that´s as good as nutella gets! Try it!

Nutella rolls (25-30 rolls)

1 kg all purpose flour
200 g sugar
200 g butter
6 dl milk
12 g dry yeast (50 g fresh yeast)
1 ts baking powder
1 ts cardamom

Melt the butter.
Add the milk and warm it up until it´s lukewarm.
If you´re using fresh yeast, dissolve it in the warm mixture. Set aside.

Mix together the flour with sugar, cardamom, baking powder and eventually dry yeast. Pour the butter-milk mixture into the the dry ingredients, and incorporate. Add more flour if necessary. Once evenly mixed knead the dough in a floured board. Form into a large ball then place in a bowl covered in cling wrap. Place in a warm place and let it rise for 1 hour or until it doubled in size.

Remove the dough from the bowl, deflate and roll into a floured surface. Thickness about 1/2 cm or so, but that depends on how you like the dough vs filling ratio. I like it 1:1 more or less. There must under no circumstances be short on the filling, that´s for sure! Spread on nutella, as much as you like, and get rolling! Cut them into suitable sizes, using a knife or dental floss. (This is a very loose recipe, I´m starting to see…) Mine were about 4 cm in height and 8 cm diameter. Place them tightly if you don´t want edges, or seperately if you do! Bake for about 15 minutes, or until they are golden and irresistible!

And – voilá! It´s served! I do recommend roasting some hazelnuts to go with it. That extra crunch in combination with the soft melting nutella bun is just divine…

Carrot spice muffins

We´re having a group project at school for the moment. It´s not really hard. There´s really not a lot to do. It´s not very time consuming. We just have to get together, from time to time, to figure out what to do next and to plan and divide the tasks between us. Quite frankly, I feel like I´m having a vacation, because there are so little to do, so few lectures, and the ones we have finish before noon, so there´s a lot of time waiting to be filled! It´s not like I have a job, a specific hobby or workout schedule, so what else to do than bake! Wait, I guess that IS my hobby! 😉

I´ve been trying out a few recipes from my beloved Baking from my home to yours, which I feel obliged to, as it was such a hassle to get it. But within the muffin section I have only tried one recipe – the great grain muffins. On the other hand, I´ve baked them a couple of times, cause they are so tasty! But if the rest of the muffins are as good as them, I think I ought it to myself to bake my way through them! I wanted to bring some muffins to school for my group to enjoy, for a day we planned to stay at school finishing our project. And since I and my fellow students study nutrition, I decided the carrot muffins would be appropriate! Slightly healthier, but still with the sweetness and moistness of a regular carrot cake, but without the frosting. Though frosting probably could work out very well too… (Or maybe omitting the frosting is the the health-alibi. Whatever. When you put vegetables into muffins it equals healthy in my world!)

So, the verdict: They were absolutely lovely! I got praises and requests about the recipe from the group, they were a total hit! I loved their moistness, but without that greasy feeling. And they´re just sweet enough, without leaving you with a feeling of going into a sugar-coma. And – believe it or not – I actually didn´t miss the frosting! I did put some butter on, just to try it out, but I guess that´s just me. I butter everything! But there was really no need to. I did cut back a little on the oil and sugar, which wasn´t a problem, and next time I´ll try to substitute some of the flour with whole wheat too. And, before you dig in, I have to say: let them cool. It´ll be worth it. The flavour intensifies and they become so much better! And I loved the different textures provided by the carrots, raisins and walnuts. I didn´t have coconut, so I left that out, but I guess that would be a nice addition texture- and taste-wise! I´ve actually never tried coconut in carrot cake, so I guess it´s time to face that fear! Next time. Because there will certainly be a next time with these!


Carrot Spice Muffins

from Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan
makes 12 muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2/3 cup flavorless oil, such as canola, safflower or corn
2 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup shredded carrots (about 3, peeled and trimmed)
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/3 cup moist, plump currants or raisins
1/3 cup pecans or walnuts, toasted, cooled and chopped

Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan or fit the molds with paper muffin cups. Alternatively, use a silicone muffin pans, which needs neither greasing nor paper cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the brown sugar, making certain there are no lumps. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk the oil, eggs, milk, and vanilla extract together until well combined. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don’t worry about being thorough – a few lumps are better than over-mixing the batter. Stir in the carrots, coconut, currants, and nuts. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold. Or just leave them the way they are!