All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2025

Friday, July 25, 2014

fresh lemon scones with drizzle icing

You know how crazy I am about lemon by now -  nine times out of ten I'll pick lemon over chocolate.  Yesterday was one of those days, when I woke up with a yearning for a tangy lemon scone.  Even better, how about a lemon icing, sticky and sweet-tart?

Oh, my gosh, these were delicious!  I had them with my newest favorite, seltzer with lemon slices and sprigs of fresh mint from the garden, sitting in the shade and listening to the burble of Moose Brook.  Does that sound like summer or what?

Fresh Lemon Scones (with drizzle icing)

Preheat oven to 375F.
Fit a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

zest from one large lemon (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
2 cups King Arthur all purpose flour
2 pinches kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into tiny cubes
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

The glaze:
1 egg white, beaten until frothy
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
sanding sugar

Place the zest, flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder in mixer bowl and mix briefly.
Add the cold butter and mix until incorporated well, but you can still see tiny pieces of butter.
Add the lemon juice to the buttermilk and add to the flour mixture, mixing briefly again until the dough clumps together. If it's too dry, add a little more buttermilk, a tablespoon at a time.
Remove dough to a clean counter and pat into a circle.  Cut the dough into 8 pieces and arrange on the baking sheet.
Brush each scone with the egg white glaze, then sprinkle on the sanding sugar.
Place in preheated oven on the upper third shelf.
Bake 20 minutes, or until scones are golden.

While the scones are baking, make the drizzle icing:

3/4  cup confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
one drop of vanilla
a tablespoon or so of milk  - enough to make a thick but easy to drizzle icing using a fork or whisk.

Let scones cool completely before icing, then drizzle on as you wish.  You can also serve the icing in little dishes for dunking instead of drizzling on (kids love dunking!).

The blueberries are ripe, peach season coming up, followed by apples -  don't you just love summer?

Monday, July 21, 2014

fresh cherry scones with lemon zest

When it comes to cherries and strawberries, I usually think fresh.  Fresh fruit salads, green salads with a handful tossed in at the last minute,  cottage cheese with mint, basil and cherries or strawberries.  But for some reason I went searching Pinterest very early this morning for a muffin or scone recipe for that last cupful of pitted cherries.  And I found the almost perfect recipe - except I didn't have any sliced almonds nor almond extract.  You know how it is - you plunge ahead merrily anyway, and I'm happy to say it came out just fine, though I would love to try it with the almonds sometime, nice with a little crunch!

I did change a few measurements - a little less baking powder, a little more buttermilk because the batter was so firm, lemon zest instead of almond extract, and a slightly lower temperature since my oven runs a little hot sometimes.  But all in all, a lovely new recipe for those special brunches.  Many thanks to Table for Two!

Fresh Cherry Scones

Preheat oven to 375F
Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.

For the scones:
3 cups King Arthur all purpose flour
zest of half a lemon (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into tiny cubes
1 1/4  cups buttermilk  plus a little more if needed
1 cup halved fresh cherries
sparkling sugar

For the glaze:
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
few drops of almond or vanilla extract

Place the flour, lemon zest, sugar, baking powder and baking soda, and salt into the mixer bowl and mix briefly.

Add the butter and use a pastry blender to break the butter pieces down before using the mixer - I've found the dough gets too tough if I use the beater blade too much.

Pour in the buttermilk and mix just until the dough comes together - if it's too thick, add another 1/4 cup buttermilk and quickly stir again.
Gently stir in the cherries quickly and without staining the dough too much.

Use an ice cream scoop to space out 7 scones per sheet and sprinkle scones with sparkling sugar before sliding into the upper third of the oven.  Bake for 20 minutes, remove to cooling rack,  then bake the other sheet .  Using a spatula if needed, remove the first scones to a cooling rack to cool completely before icing, then do the same with the second sheet.

When scones are completely cool, mix up the glaze with a small whisk and drizzle quickly over cooled scones, using the whisk or a fork to make zig-zag lines.  Let dry completely before placing on a platter.   This made 14 scones.

I just got a new picture of our Izzie - who has grown SO much I can't believe it!  Minnesota seems to be agreeing with all of them  - and they are constantly biking or hiking, swimming or visiting museums, or taking the Light Rail trains, which Frankie is mad about.  And Noah? Mr. Tractor is finally walking and talking!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Normandy style creme fraiche

I first tasted this creme fraiche a few years ago, when my friend Mme. J, who grew up in Normandy, offered me a taste of her cold seafood salad.  It was chilled, fresh, and creamy, with a smooth sauce of some sort, which she identified as creme fraiche - but it was unlike any creme fraiche I had ever tried - and much better than mayonnaise.  When she offered me the recipe I grabbed a pen - she laughed and said it was very simple.  Equal parts heavy cream and sour cream, shaken in a jar and left on the counter overnight.

I make this a lot in the summer months, and actually prefer it to whipped cream on cold fruit salads and shortcakes.  I use it alongside cold poached fish or crabmeat, summer composed salads and pasta salads, as well, sometimes adding fresh minced herbs.  It has a fresh taste , unlike mayonnaise,  which is far saltier.  It has a smooth finish, without an aftertaste of lemon juice.

Normandy style creme fraiche

In a clean Mason jar measure :

1 cup heavy cream (I used Hood's)
1 cup sour cream (Hood's again)

Stir the creams briefly, then screw on the clean lid.  Tighten and shake for a minute or so, then place the jar on the counter.  Write the time you made it on the lid and let sit at least 12 hours.

Unscrew the lid and spoon out a taste - the creme should be very thick.  Store the jar in the fridge for up to a week.

After a lot of rain the last few days, it's a beautiful sunny day today - hooray for summer!