Sunday, December 30, 2012

Apple Cinnamon Scones

      It's the end of the year already, can you believe it?! It seems that whenever I look ahead things seem to take forever, but when I look back time has flown by. But such is life. I guess that just is another reason to appreciate the times that you're in and not wish it away. Anyway, I hope that everyone has passed a great year, remembering the good times and learning from the not-so-good. I made three resolutions this year: one, learn how to french braid my hair, two, use an entire tube of chapstick, and three, lose weight. Well I made 2/3 of those resolutions basically come true so I guess it's a technical success. I succeeded in french braiding my hair twice, but I'm not good at it enough to say I know how to do it. However, I am really good at fishtailing my hair now so I'm going to call this reslution a success. I also used an entire tube of chapstick without washing it or losing it! That is a huge success for me because I always lose or was them. So that's my two out of three. Admittedly, I didn't lose any net weight. I gained a little, but I also re-lost that bit so in the end I'm the same. So, like everybody else, I'm going to try it again next year. Here's to being healthy! Maybe I'll make some more apple-cinnamon scones. I liked these ones better than the pumpkin scones I made earlier, though those were good as well. They're filled with flour, but the apples and cinnamon make them healtheir, right? But I'm not one to care too much about flour in things--it's all about moderation for everything. And in this next year, that's what I'll be practicing again. =)

Apple Cinnamon Scones
recipe slightly adapted from

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 2 cups apple chunks (about two medium apples chopped into 1/2" or so pieces)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup applesauce (I used homemade stuff which was already very cinnamon-y)
  • extra sugar and cinnamon, plus a little bit of milk for brushing

--In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and spice.

--Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter. Having some large chunks is okay.

--Stir in the apple chunks.
--In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and applesauce. Stir the wet mixture in to the dry mixture until everything is moistened and everything is evenly incorporated.

--Separate the dough into two equal parts, forming each into circles, about 3/4" thick and 5" or so in diameter.

Note: The above picture shows a scone made from one large circle instead of two smaller ones. It still tasted great and baked fine, but when I lifted the scones up they wanted to break in half from the extra weight, probably because of the large apple chunks I made. So I would definitely recommend making two small circles.

--Place the circles on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

--Brush the top of the circles with milk and then sprinkle with some coarse sugar and cinnamon.
--Using a cold knife, slice each circle into 6 wedges, then gently pull the wedges away from each other, about 1/2" between each side.
--Place the pan of scones in the freezer for about 30  minutes. This allows for a flakier texture after baking because the butter rehardens, then melts in the oven to create pockets in the scones.

--Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F.

--Bake the scones for 18-22 minutes until they're golden brown. The edges of the scones shouldn't look "wet" still.

--Let cool a minute or two and then serve the scones warm. They're good completely cooled too, but best when fresh. They can be stored in a Tupperware for several days.

Happy Baking and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cranberry Eggnog Bread

       It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas . . .everywhere you go . . . but the prettiest sight to see is the home baked goods that will be . . . made by you and not a store. =) It's true! Even if you're not that great of a baker or are just starting to learn, anything that you take the time to make is doubly appreciated. In my experience, people are more impressed when you take extra time out of your day when you do something special for them than if you buy an ill-thought-out gift. Think about it from your own perspective: do you remember every little thing you've received for Christmas, or do you remember the way people made you feel around the holidays? Myself, I remember certain gifts that I just had to have, and I appreciated getting them for sure, but now I find what is more important was and is the relationships I have with the people I care about. I still want my gifts, though. I'm a selfish hypocrite! Haha.
       But I will still bake of course--it's an addiction. And after all, it is apparently the season meant for baking. Last year I posted Rolo Pretzel Bites and Eggnog Cheesecake Bars. This year I'm putting another Eggnog recipe on the table: Cranberry Eggnog Bread! I don't get a whole lot of baking opportunities this month, so I was sure to search for something that I considered unique and I found it here. I was debating on not adding the cranberries to the dough, but I'm glad I did. Not only did they add pops of pretty color throughout the loaf, but they also add pops of sweetness. This was a good thing because the bread itself was only subtly eggnog-y. If you want a strong eggnog flavor definitely use the glaze, which is fabulous by the way. I used what I had left over for spreading on actual slices of bread. Mmm, it's definitiely starting to taste like Christmas at my house now, too.

I took this picture after I first drizzled the glaze over the bread . . . mmm, puddles of deliciousness.

Cranberry Eggnog Bread
Barely tweaked recipe from Creations by Kara

  • 1 package (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 cups eggnog (alcholic or otherwise)
  • 1/4  melted butter
  • 3- 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (I used Craisins)

       For the Glaze:
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 Tbsp eggnog
  • dash of freshly grated nutmeg

--In a medium or so sized bowl, combine the yeast and a 1/4 cup of warm water (about 110-115 degrees). Let this stand for about 10 minutes while the yeast gets nice and frothy. Then add the sugar, salt, nutmeg, eggnog, melted butter, and 1 1/2 cups of the flour--mix until thoroughly combined. There should be little to no lumps.

--Add the Craisins to the mixture, then add a half cup of flour at a time until a soft dough forms.

--On a lightly floured surface (remember you can always add flour but you can't take any away from your dough) knead the dough until smooth.

--Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover the bowl with a towel. Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 30 minutes.

--Decide how you want your braid to look. I braided mine like a zipper. To find out how, go here. You can either have one large loaf, or two smaller loaves. I opted for a large loaf this time. After you've let the dough rise, separate into strands and braid your bread as desired, making sure to pinch together and tuck under the ends.

--Place the braid on a large, greased baking sheet and let rise until it has doubled in size, about an hour this time.

--Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

--Try and let the bread cool for the most part if you can help it.

--If using the glaze, mix the powdered sugar, eggnog, and some freshly grated nutmeg until completely smooth. Then dizzle it all over the braid. You'll probably have leftover glaze, I did.

Merry Baking!