The BEST Scones You Will EVER Eat

The BEST Scones You'll Ever Eat

These scones are moist and delicious…they melt in your mouth…NOT dry and crumbly …try them, you won’t be disappointed!

2  C Flour
4 Tbsp. Sugar
1 Tbsp. Baking powder
1/4 Tsp salt
1 Tbsp. Orange zest or Lemon Zest
6 Tbsp. Cold Butter, cut into pieces
1 egg, beaten
1/2 C milk (I use half and half)
1 Tbsp. vanilla
2 C Fresh fruit (my favorite is blueberries)
1 Egg, beaten (for “egg wash”)

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and zest. Whisk to combine, and set aside.

In a separate bowl combine egg, milk, and vanilla.

Take bowl with dry ingredients and “cut in” the butter with your hands or you can use a food processor, until it begins to come together.  (try not to “overwork” …you want to still see pieces of butter)  I always use my hands, because I really don’t like to clean appliances,and it’s rather therapeutic:)

-It takes some practice, but super easy once you get the hang of it.

Add the wet ingredients and gently stir until combined. Next add any of the following…
Fresh fruit, dried fruit, cheddar cheese and herbs (for a savory scone) or Chocolate chips.

“Dump” ball of dough out onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Press down with hands to form a circle. (about 10 inches in diameter)

Cut into 8 “pie pieces” – deeply scoring, but left in circle. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with Raw sugar to add a nice crunchy topping.

Bake for about 15-20 min.  Watch for it to get lightly browned.

“Deep Score” it again when you take it out of the oven, and leave it on the cookie sheet to cool.  (It will tend to look under baked in the center, but will set as it cools.)

Serve with

1.)Plain butter

2.) Combined jam, honey, orange zest and butter

3. ) Glaze (Orange zest, juice and powdered sugar) drizzled on top of warm scones…mmm

The BEST Scones You Will Ever Eat

Easy Lime Blueberry Cupcakes

Easy Lime Blueberry Cupcakes

During the summer, fresh fruit desserts are so refreshing…So, what to bake?

Knowing I had my favorite little visitor with me,  (2 year old Annabelle June) I knew I didn’t want to invest a ton of time in the kitchen.

During my last grocery trip a box of Key Lime Cake Mix jumped out at me on an “end cap.”

I guess I just can’t resist anything lime.

I bought it, thinking I might use it in a pinch…and I did!!

The cake mix is easy…mix and bake as directed. I choose mini cupcakes.

I had stocked up on my granddaughter’s favorite foods…one of them being BLUEBERRIES…so, now to incorporate them in “the mix.”

AFTER the cupcakes had baked, I took a tiny “tasting” spoon” and spooned out a bit of the cupcake middle.  Next, I used the “tasting” spoon to insert some Wild Blueberry Jam.

Easy Lime Blueberry Cupcakes

Now for the Lime Icing

3 – 8oz. Pkg. of Cream Cheese, room temperature

1 stick of butter, softened

1-2 Lb. bag of powdered sugar

Juice and zest of 2 limes

Green food coloring (I use AmeriColor soft gel paste)

but, you can use any kind you have on hand.

Cream the Cream Cheese and butter and then gradually add the powdered sugar.

When combined, add juice, zest, and food coloring.

I often refrigerate this for a short time to thicken the consistency for piping.

I placed the chilled icing in a piping bag with a wide round tip, ( you can use a ziplock bag with the corner cut off if you don’t have bags and tips!) iced the mini cupcakes and then topped with a fresh blueberry.

Easy Lime Blueberry Cupcakes

Mmmmm…a good friend recently named these…Alien Nipples:)

Best Ever Butter Cookie Cut-Out Goes to Harvard

Best Ever Butter Cookie Goes to Harvard
Best Ever Butter Cookie Goes to Harvard

One of my Girlfriends  lives “up the hill” from me.  She often sends me texts stating that  she’s headed “down the hill” for some butter cookies and tea…they are her favorite, especially when they are nicely brown.

Today, I’m making cookies for her amazing daughter Emma’s graduation party.  It’s not every day a girl gets into Harvard:)

Best Ever Butter Cut-Outs

* 2 cups butter, softened
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 4 egg yolks
* 2 teaspoons vanilla
* 4 1/2 cups unbleached flour
* 1/2 teaspoon salt

FIRST THINGS FIRST…

My Mom always said…only use the BEST ingredients…so, naturally I only use Land O Lakes butter when baking.

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…and 1 batch takes 1 lb…mmm, buttery.  (I’m actually making 4 today) Make sure the butter is nice and soft. I often set it out at night before I go to bed and then it’s ready to go in the morning.

Next, you’ll need to separate the eggs.  The recipe calls for yolks only.

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Next, I like to sift the flour into a bowl and have it ready to go when needed.

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Ok, so now we are ready to do some mixing.

Cream the Butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy.  Then add the egg yolks and vanilla.

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Mix until combined.

Gradually add Flour (& salt that has been combined with flour)  Try not to over mix…just enough to blend.  When it’s done, place in a zip lock bag and refrigerate for about an hour.  If the dough is not first chilled, it will be too soft to roll out and cut.

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Once firm, you can begin to roll and cut.

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I like to use Powdered sugar on the surface I roll dough on instead of flour.  The reason for this is because as you roll and cut and then “re-roll” the scraps it will accumulate the sugar or flour you are using to keep it from sticking.  Too much flour makes for a dryer more tough cookie.  The sugar helps alleviate this problem.

The firmer the dough, the easier it is to cut and handle, though it will make it a little more difficult to “flatten” and roll out.  Cut half of your dough and place it on a “sugared” surface.  Use the palm of your hand to flatten enough to take over with your rolling pin.

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Roll out so that you have an even thickness across all your dough. (about a 1/4 inch thick)

Cut out with desired cookie cutters. THIS BATCH IS GOING TO HARVARD…so H is the winner.

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Next, take a small metal spatula to transfer cut dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  ( You don’t have to have parchment, but it guarantees they won’t stick, and you won’t have to clean your baking sheet!  Yay!

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Place cut outs about 1 inch-inch apart and bake for about 15-17 minutes @350.  (If you have a friend up the hill, bake until very golden brown)

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They really do taste best with a bit of a brown edge:)

Once they’re all baked and cooled, they are ready to be iced.

If you plan to stack them or package them as gifts, it’s best to use a Royal Icing.

ROYAL ICING (Run sugar)

6 oz (3/4 cup) of warm water
5 Tablespoons Meringue Powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 kilogram (2.25 lbs.) powdered icing sugar
*I like to use 1 – 2 tsp. of almond extract to flavor.  You could also use vanilla, or even lemon.

Place Meringue Powder in mixing bowl with paddle attachment.

Add warm water and whisk by hand for 30 seconds.

Then add Cream of Tarter and whisk again for 30 seconds.

Add the whole 2 pound bag of powdered sugar and mix at lowest speed for 10 full minutes.

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If it is thick, once the 10 minutes is up, you can thin with warm water to desired consistency.

( I do the 10 second test.  Pick up a spoonful and let it drip back into the bowl.  Watch as it hits the rest of the icing.  If it take 10 seconds to spread back out into the icing below it is good to go for piping the outline.)

I will thin just a bit more for the “flooding”.  This is the consistency used to fill in the outlined areas of the cookie.

Piping an outline first, will give you a nice finished edge, and prevent the icing from dripping over the edges.

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For the flood color, I wanted a Harvard Crimson.  This can be a frustration, due to the need for RED.  RED food coloring has a horrible taste.  After many tries of nasty tasting red icing, and much research online, I have found that AMERICOLOR TULIP has no taste…hurrah!!  I used a combination of TULIP RED (it has bit more orange than I wanted) and AMERICOLOR SUPER RED to create the RED I was looking for.

SUPER RED is not suppose to have a taste, but I think it does.  (although it’s not as bad as all the other reds)

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Place several drops of Tulip Red and mix with a spoon.  Add more as needed to get desired color. ( I used about a 4:1 ratio of Tulip Red to Super Red + a tiny drop of black)

Best Ever Butter Cookie Goes to Harvard
Best Ever Butter Cookie Goes to Harvard

I also did an initial cookie for the graduate in her favorite color Pink:)

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The whole recipe is below.  Hope you try them!  This recipe is great for Christmas Cut-outs, Fall Pumpkin Cookies, and Spring Flowers.

* 2 cups butter, softened
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 4 egg yolks
* 2 teaspoons vanilla
* 4 1/2 cups unbleached flour
* 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350°.

With an electric mixer (even the hand-held kind), cream together the butter and the sugar.
Add egg yolks and vanilla and mix well.
Sift flour and salt together.
Beat into the butter mixture until well-mixed.
Chill at least  30-40 minutes.

When ready to bake, use an ungreased cookie sheet (or a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper) placing the cookies about 1 inch apart.
Bake @ 350 for about 15-17 minutes until slightly brown on edges.

Cool then decorate.

Run Sugar/ Royal Icing

6 oz (3/4 cup) of warm water
5 Tablespoons Meringue Powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 kilogram (2.25 lbs.) powdered icing sugar

*** Note; if your meringue powder has no vanilla flavour (vanillin powder) in it, add a teaspoon of clear vanilla to this recipe.

Directions:

In mixer bowl, pour in the warm water and the meringue powder. Mix it with a whisk by hand until it is frothy and thickened…about 30 seconds.

Add the cream of tartar and mix for 30 seconds more.

Pour in all the icing sugar at once and place the bowl on the mixer.

Using the paddle attachment on the LOWEST speed, mix slowly for a full 10 minutes. Icing will get thick and creamy. (Add flavoring sometime during this 10 min)

Cover the bowl with a dampened tea-towel to prevent crusting and drying.

Tint with food colourings or thin the icing with small amounts of warm water to reach the desired consistency.

Spring Flowers:)

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Mom’s Famous Cheesecake

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In my humble opinion, this Cheesecake cannot be beat. My Mom’s been making this for years and I have carried on her tradition.  My Big Brother has too:)  If I ever order Cheesecake out, (which I rarely ever do anymore) I am always disappointed.  I think  what I like best about this recipe is the topping.  The layer of sweetened vanilla sour cream.  I guess I also like the creamy texture.  It’s not dry like a “New York” style cake.  It melts in your mouth.   You just have to try it!

You start with these…

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*Note that I have Costco vanilla…it’s because this month, I couldn’t afford the good stuff that I’d rather use:(

Preheat oven @300

CRUST
3/4 Pkg. of Chocolate Cookies (Oreos or Gluten Free alternative)
OR- 16 Graham Crackers, crushed
4 Tbs. Melted Butter
3 Tbs. sugar (if using Graham Crackers)

FILLING
3- 8oz. Pkg. Cream Cheese (room temp)
5 Large eggs
1 C sugar
1 Tsp. Vanilla
2 Tsp. Lemon juice
pinch of salt

TOPPING
16 oz. Sour Cream
1/2 C Sugar
1 1/2 Tsp. Vanilla
pinch of salt

Well, actually you start with these… (notice these are CINNAMON.  If I have them, I’ll use them. If I don’t, I won’t.  They  do add a little extra something something to the crust.)

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That’s me grabbing them with kitchen tongs…too short.

You start by making the crust.  Whatever means you have to crush the graham crackers.

(food processor, rolling pin and plastic bag…mallet, wine bottle)

Then you pour them into your Springform pan, add the sugar & drizzle the melted butter on top and incorporate the cracker crumbs and butter until they are all “coated.”  ( I do it right in the springform pan…I just don’t want to clean another bowl)

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Then press them down slightly with your hand, pushing some up the side a bit.                        (over the seam of the pan)

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My boys like me to make the crust with Oreos.  I use the double stuff…cause it has double the stuff:)  I use the same amount of melted butter & NO extra sugar. I don’t use the whole bag, I save about a stack of 10 to eat:)

Place Softened Cream Cheese

(make sure your Cream Cheese sits out long enough to really be soft, if it’s not, it will make the batter lumpy)

in mixing bowl & beat until smooth and combined.

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Add sugar and blend until combined.  Gradually add eggs, one at a time.

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Add lemon and vanilla, stir until combined. Pour into Springform Pan.

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Ps. See the hinge on the pan?  I had a terrible, no good very bad day when I attempted to put cheesecake in the oven to bake and it WASN’T quite “locked”….my husband found me on my knees crying, with cheesecake dripping down the counter, all over and IN the cabinets and puddled on the floor.  PLEASE check the hinge before “lift off!”

Bake @ 300 degrees for 1 hour.

(While it’s baking, mix topping ingredients and place in fridge until ready to use)

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Pull the cheesecake out after an hour and gently pour (spoon) sour cream mixture on top.

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Bake for another 10-15 min to set topping.

Gently cool. Quick extreme temperature changes can cause cheesecake to crack, so don’t be in a hurry to get it in the fridge.  Try to let it cool to room temp. before refrigerating.

After about 10-15 min, I run a knife that’s been held under hot running water, around the edge.  This also helps prevent cracks because as the cheesecake cools it will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.

(The great thing about topping the Cheesecake with shaved chocolate is that it hides a pesky crack if you get one.) *Heath bar’s bits work well too!

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Wrap tightly with foil and place in fridge at least 6 hours. (overnight is best)
Shave Semisweet Chocolate over the top along with a chocolate crust or serve with fruit sauce/glaze + fresh fruit.

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The Chewiest, Crispest, Moistest, Yummiest Chocolate Chip Cookie You Ever Ate

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  • 2 ¼ C flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 C butter
  • 1 C dark brown sugar
  • 1 C white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 lg. eggs
  • 1 ½ C chocolate chunks
  • 2 C toasted coconut

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Lightly toast Coconut on baking sheet at 350 for about 10 min

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Oh, and Before we go any further…2 must haves…DARK brown sugar and LAND O LAKES butter (The good stuff) My Mama always taught me the BEST results start with THE BEST ingredients.
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Whisk together dry ingredients (flour,salt, baking soda) and set aside
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Cream Butter and Sugars
Add Egg, Vanilla & Karo Syrup (stirring until combined…don’t beat it to death)
Add in Dry ingredients and stir until combined…go easy:)
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Stir in Chocolate and Coconut
Drop a small “scoop” (about a heaping TBS.) of dough onto cookie sheet and bake @350 for about 10-12 minutes.
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Mmmmmmmmmm…I have to confess, my 16 year old calls them “the Grease Cookies”
That means they’re delicious:)