Breads and Breakfast Baking

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Blueberry Scones_57adbase

Wild Blueberry and Lemon Scones
Makes 8

1 cup fresh or frozen wild Maine blueberries
2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
1 cup heavy cream (can substitute lowfat buttermilk)
Turbinado or granulated sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400.

Place blueberries in a small bowl and sprinkle with the 1 tablespoon flour. Toss lightly to coat.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add lemon zest and mix well.

Add butter and use your fingers to incorporate it into the dry ingredients, combining quickly until it is the texture of coarse crumbs. (you can use a pastry blender if you have one, but I find hands are the best tool for this step).

Add cream and mix until the dough just comes together, then add the blueberries and mix to distribute them (again, your hands will work well here).

Pat the dough into a rectangle about 12 inches long, 3 inches wide and 1 1/4 inches thick. Cut it in half, then each half in half again so you have 4 equal pieces. Cut each piece in half on the diagonal.

Place scones on ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle tops with turbinado or granulated sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until tops are golden brown.

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Cranberry-Oat-Pecan Bread
Makes one loaf

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg
1 cup milk (I used low-fat)
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup light brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped (if frozen, don’t thaw them)
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
Demerara sugar for sprinkling on top, if you like

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a loaf pan. Nut toasting tip: while the oven is heating, put the pecans on a flat baking dish or piece of foil to toast for about 10 minutes (they will be done when you begin to smell them, but be careful not to let them burn).

In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking soda and powder, salt and cinnamon.

In a large bowl, beat the egg until white and yolk are combined. Stir in the milk, oats, maple syrup, brown sugar and melted butter, mixing just to blend completely. Stir in the cranberries and pecans.

Scrape the batter into the greased loaf pan. Sprinkle the top with demerara sugar if you wish. Bake the bread for 1 hour, or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool to room temperature before slicing.

For another good way to use fresh cranberries with whole grains, see our post on Cranberry-Cornmeal Soda Bread from the winter of 2010 here.

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Molasses Doughnuts
Makes about 16, plus holes

1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
1/2 cup sour milk (I used whole milk with a few drops of lemon juice)
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
5 teaspoons baking powder
5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted

Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg; gradually add sugar, molasses, milk and melted butter. Add the dry ingredients, beating on low speed until well mixed.  (You can also do all of this by hand.)

Turn the dough out onto a floured board and roll 1/2-inch thick. Cut with a floured doughnut cutter – I didn’t have one but did have a three inch biscuit cutter and tiny round cutter for the holes, so in true Yankee style, made do – and place on a wire rack or sheet pan covered in wax paper while you heat the fat for frying.

Now, about that fat. Cook’s Illustrated says it should be vegetable shortening, because it produces a less-greasy result, and certainly vegetable shortening would be the frying fat of choice in Maine. Cook’s Illustrated specified 6 cups, but that was not nearly enough for the pan we used; you want several inches of depth to allow the doughnuts to rise to the surface. I ended up using two 48-ounce containers of vegetable shortening.

Have two sheet pans lined with a double thickness of paper towels at the ready. Heat the shortening to 375 and be prepared to continually monitor the heat under your frying vessel to keep it that way. Fry the doughnuts in batches, 4-5 at a time, without crowding them. When they rise to the top – which will happen in about a minute – turn them over, using chopsticks or the ends of wooden spoons. Let them cook for about a minute on the other side, then lift them out with a skimmer or perforated spatula and place them on the paper towels. Let the doughnuts sit for a few minutes before tossing them in a mixture of 1 cup sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon.

From “Good Maine Food”

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Hot Cross Muffins

1/2 cup orange juice
3/4 cup currants
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour (you can use 2 cups all-purpose as in the original recipe, but I wanted to add a little more nutrition)
2/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. each ground cloves and allspice
1/2 cup milk (low-fat is fine)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
zest of 1/2 orange and 1/2 lemon

Heat the orange juice in a small saucepan until just boiling; remove from heat, add the currants and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper cups or coat with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, oil, vanilla and zests until well combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry with the orange juice/currant mixture; blend until just combined. As with all muffins – do not over-mix or they will be tough.

Divide the batter between the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool for a few minutes in the muffin tin, then remove to a wire rack.

For the icing:

1 cup powdered sugar mixed with 1 tbsp. lemon juice

When cool, ice the muffins in a cross pattern.

Recipe adapted from the Associated  Press

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Meyer Lemon-Cranberry Muffins
Makes 12

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
3/4 cup  low-fat vanilla Greek yogurt
1/3 cup canola oil
freshly grated zest of 1 Meyer lemon
2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup stone-ground cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen, coarsely chopped (Best way to do this is in the food processor, using the “pulse” button. If you’ve ever tried to chop cranberries by hand you know that they skitter all over the place.)

Preheat the oven to 400. Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray or line with paper liners. Mix 1 teaspoon lemon zest and 2 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl and set aside.

Whisk 1/2 cup sugar, yogurt, oil, egg, remaining lemon zest and lemon juice in a medium bowl until well combined.

Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add the yogurt mixture and fold until almost blended. Gently fold in the cranberries. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Sprinkle the lemon zest/sugar mixture evenly over the tops of the muffins.

Bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and let cool 5 more minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from Eating Well magazine, February 2011

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Apricot Oatmeal Scones (photo by Susan)

Apricot and Oat Scones

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 plus 1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/2 plus 1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup minced dried apricots
10 tbsp. cold butter, cut into bits
1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 400. Butter a baking sheet or use a Silpat or parchment paper.

Place all of the dry ingredients and the apricots in a large bowl and mix well to combine. Using a pastry blender or your fingers (my preferred method) cut in the butter until it is evenly distributed in tiny pieces.

Add the buttermilk and mix until the dough just comes together in a ball. Pat out onto a floured surface into a circle 6 inches in diameter and 1 1/2 inches thick. Cut into 8 triangles and place on baking sheet. Sprinkle the top with a little coarse sugar and bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned and firm. Remove to a cooling rack.

Recipe from “The Earth Bound Cookbook” by Myra Goodman

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Photo by Susan, not Ted

Crumb-Topped Apple-Bacon Muffins

6 strips bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled, 2 tbsp. bacon fat reserved (If you cook your bacon in the microwave, see note on butter, below.)
2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (Or use unbleached white flour; regular whole wheat flour is not recommended – the muffins will be heavy.)
1 tbsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 1/4 cups milk (I used reduced-fat because it’s what I had)
2 tbsp. butter, melted (4 tbsp. if not using bacon fat)
1 large tart apple, peeled, cored and chopped
Oat and Brown Sugar Crumb Topping (recipe follows)

Butter 12-15 muffin cups. Preheat oven to 400.

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Whisk the egg with the sugar and add milk.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in all the wet ingredients, including the butter/bacon fat.

Stir until almost blended, then fold in apple and bacon.

Fill muffin cups to nearly full, then cover each muffin with an equal amount of the crumb topping (use it all). Bake for 22-25 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes before taking out.

Oat and Brown Sugar Crumb Topping

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (see note on flour in above recipe)
1/3 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) cold butter, cut into small pieces

Mix all ingredients except butter in a small bowl. Add butter pieces and mix with your hands until you have uniform crumbs.

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Dr. Weil’s Banana Bread

Dr. Andrew Weil’s Banana Bread (with a few tweaks from the Spoon)

3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup organic honey
3 tbsp. canola oil (I used blended oil, 75% canola, 25% extra-virgin olive – it’s our basic cooking oil)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (We actually had this in the cupboard, but you could use regular whole wheat flour, the bread will just be heavier)
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
3/4 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans, but walnuts are good too)
1 tbsp. flax seeds

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a loaf pan. Combine bananas, honey, oil and vanilla, mix well. Combine dry ingredients, add these to the banana mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in the nuts.  (Do all this mixing by hand; the texture won’t be right if you use an electric mixer – plus it’s more satisfying to use a wooden spoon, don’t you think?) Scrape batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top with flax seeds. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for at least 1/2 before removing the loaf. Dr. Weil would suggest that you enjoy this bread with green tea!

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Apple Popover Pancake
Serves 2 hungry people

Preheat oven to 400

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tart apple, grated
2 large eggs, separated
2 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. milk
3 tbsp. whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
pinch salt
2 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. powdered sugar

In a small bowl, sprinkle the 1 tsp. lemon juice over the grated apple and stir to combine. Set aside.

Beat the egg yolks until light in color (I just do this with a whisk, saving the mixer for the egg whites), then whisk in milk, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the grated apple.

Melt the butter in a 10-inch, cast-iron skillet, tilting to coat the sides.

Whip the egg whites until foamy, then add the sugar and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Fold into the egg yolk mixture.

Pour and spread the batter into the skillet and bake for 15 minutes, until puffed and light brown.

Sprinkle with 2 tsp. lemon juice and sprinkle with confectioners sugar. Return to the oven for 5 minutes or so until glazed.

Cut into wedges to serve.

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Cranberry-Cornmeal Soda Bread
Makes 2 loaves

1 1/2 cup cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup sugar
finely grated zest of one orange
2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
1 teas. baking soda
1/2 teas. salt
1/2 teas. ground nutmeg
5 tbls. cold, unsalted butter cut into bits
1/2 cup sour cream, yogurt or buttermilk (I used sour cream, but I love this flexibility!)
1/2 cup milk
a little extra milk and sugar for the top

Combine the cranberries, orange zest and sugar in a small bowl and set aside for 15 mins. Preheat the oven to 400 and lightly grease a baking sheet. (I used a Silpat.)

Mix the flour, cornmeal, baking soda, salt and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Add the butter and cut it in until it is broken into fine pieces. (I always use my fingers for this.) Combine the sour cream and milk, then make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the liquid all at once. Stir until the dough starts to come together, then stir in the cranberry mixture. When you have a cohesive ball of dough, turn it out onto a floured surface and divide in half. (Work the dough as little as possible, however, or the bread will not be as tender and flaky.)

Briefly knead each half of the dough into a ball, then place on the baking sheet, allowing ample space between them. Brush the tops of the balls with a little milk and sprinkle them with several big pinches of sugar. Bake for 40-45 mins, until the tops are a rich golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.