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Archive for the ‘Bread’ Category

Bacon-Cheddar Scones

Posted by booksncooks on July 18, 2011

I’ve been in the same office for quite a while now, and to be honest, I can’t see myself leaving any time soon. I work with an incredibly diverse group of people who are a ton of fun. We have “pig-ins” and happy hours. We draw ridiculous pictures on white boards. Some people build enormous Lego creatures and fire Nerf guns (we’re particularly fond of firing rubber bands). We work crazy hours but it’s ok, because we all love what we do.

Did I mention that this fantastic group of people are all guys? Yep, my office is almost 90% male. I’d say that sometimes it’s tough, but really, it’s not. There’s no drama and no fear of offending anyone with my matter-of-fact manner. But the best part? I can try out new recipes on the gang, and no matter how critical I am of outcome… they always love it because it’s homemade and they didn’t have to make it.

At this time, I couldn’t imagine leaving this awesome group of people for anything short of being able to spend my days in the kitchen. One of my best friends and I dream about owning a little bookstore with a bakery attached. Sometimes these sweets are being sold along coffees, lattes, and teas while other times we’re skipping the coffee and adding in a wine bar. Guess it depends on what we’re craving at the time. 😉

On that note, any investors out there?

But why do I bring this up? Because whether they know it or not, my coworkers are getting me started on my little venture. I’m what the single guys fondly refer to as “the bakery,” the cheap and tasty substitute for our awful cafeteria. Yes, my coworkers pay me to bring them lunch and the occasional breakfast. Even a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter and jelly are enthusiastically accepted. Go ahead and laugh. It is pretty funny. But I love these guys and get real pleasure from my time cooking for them as well as their reactions to whatever I bring in. It’s a win-win situation for everyone. I get to test new recipes and to spend time in the kitchen without breaking the bank or going up a pant size. They get to eat something tastier and cheaper than what is offered in the cafeteria.

This scone recipe was one of the new recipes I tried out last week. One of the guys got breakfast and another coworker got a surprise when he came in to work on Sunday to play catch-up. Since the latter requested the recipe, I think I can consider these savory scones a winner. The smokiness (is that how you spell it?) of the bacon (I used turkey bacon) really shines through in these scones, a nice change from some of the sweeter breakfast pastries.

So, as you read this story and recipe, I go to start on this week’s lunch request – chicken cobb pizza. Enjoy!

Serving Suggestions: A great side for eggs, a southwest salad, or chili

Bacon-Cheddar Scones

Adapted from The Pastry Queen (p. 24)

Makes 8-12 Scones

Ingredients:

  • 3 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for counter/board
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced (or 10 chives, minced)
  • 10 slices bacon or turkey bacon, diced
  • 1 to 1-1/2 c. buttermilk (I used 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 c.)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbs. water

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Use a pastry cutter or two forks to cut in butter until mixture is pea-sized. Stir in cheddar, onions/chives, and bacon until combined.

Add 1 c. buttermilk. Use your hands to mix the ingredients together. If mixture is too dry, add more buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time. Be sure not to over mix.

Lightly flour a counter or cutting board. Turn dough onto floured surface and pat into a flat disc. Use your hands (or a rolling-pin if you don’t mind another dish to wash) to flatten dough into a round disc about 1/2-inch thick. Cut into triangle-shaped wedges or use a cookie cutter to shape as desired. If the latter, reroll and cut dough until all used up. Place scones on prepared baking sheet, 2 inches apart (they spread about 1/2-inch each in all directions).

Whisk together egg and water. Brush tops of scones with egg wash.

Bake 18-20 minutes, until golden brown and cooked throughout.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

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Beer Bread

Posted by booksncooks on July 9, 2011

A couple of months ago, a friend of mine brought some Pampered Chef beer bread and dip to a party. The bread was incredibly flavorful – I couldn’t stop popping the little squares all night.

Last night, after working late with a couple coworkers, I came home to an empty house. I had my glass of wine on the table, Harry Potter on the tv, and my igoogle bookmarking my favorite blogs and hundreds of recipes I want to try. Since my coworkers stayed late on my behalf, I thought I’d bake them a treat over the weekend – perhaps cookies or a pound cake. I’ve yet to decide on a recipe for them, but stumbled across this Beer Bread recipe from The Novice Chef. I immediately thought back to that Pampered Chef recipe. Knowing that homemade is always better and having nothing else on my plate, I immediately went into the kitchen to make it.

5 minutes later, I was done. Back to my seat on the couch, starting this blog post, and keeping my fingers crossed that the bread is everything I was hoping it would be. It was. It had that wonderful spongy consistency I had hoped for, with just a slight sweetness from the beer.

Serve as an appetizer with dip (spinach dip or a crab dip come immediately to mind), as a snack with butter, or as an accompaniment with dinner (such as chili, stew, steak).

Beer Bread

Adapted from Ezra Pound Cake via The Novice Chef

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:

3 c. all-purpose flour
3 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
12 oz. (1 bottle) beer
1/4 c. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350F.

Grease a 9-in. loaf pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk dry ingredients until combined.

Switch to a wooden spoon and stir in beer. Be sure to get the bottom! The dough will very sticky.

Pour half of melted butter into bottom of loaf pan, then dough. Top with remaining butter.

Bake 50-60 minutes, until golden brown.

Posted in Appetizers, Bread | Leave a Comment »

Zucchini Bread

Posted by booksncooks on July 10, 2010

One of my favorite types of homemade bread is zucchini bread. Forget about banana bread or sandwich bread or rolls, I cannot tell you how much I love zucchini bread – its super moist and sweet. I love the crunch of walnuts throughout. I could eat this all week long, with just a little bit of butter spread on top.

Last week, I got a little over-excited about zucchini bread, and ended up with more zucchini and squash than I knew what to do with. I had half a dozen little yellow squash from my CSA (which I happily use instead of zucchini in this recipe when I have them on hand)  and two foot long, 6-inch round zucchini, compliments of some unknown, wonderful person at work who had an abundance in their garden. (Now who needs a garden when the break room at work holds everyone’s garden leftovers all summer long?) Anyway, one of those large zucchinis ended up making two loaves of zucchini bread, double the recipe below. (And to use up the rest of the squash, we ate zucchini fritters and grilled squash all week long)

Zucchini Bread

From my Mom 🙂

Makes 1 Loaf

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 c. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 c. shredded zucchini (not peeled)
  • 1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a loaf pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (flour through salt).

In a small bowl, add eggs, oil, and vanilla. Whisk to combine.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until combined.

Press zucchini to remove liquid. (Note that the more liquid that is left in the zucchini, the longer the bread will take to cook.) Add zucchini and nuts to mixture, stirring to combine.

Pour mixture in prepared loaf pan. Bake 55-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

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