Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hello again.

I'm back rather quickly, but I have a reasonable if pathetic reason: since I finally found the key to my universe last night around 11:00pm (said key being the simplest way to get pictures onto my posts) I really need to repeat the process quickly, before my Swiss cheese brain has time to forget it.

So here it is: one of my favorite recipes for chocolate chip scones. Most of my scone recipes call for heavy cream, but this one uses buttermillk, which I never have on hand. However, I substitute regular milk with 2 teasp. of vinegar added to make it go sour. This works like a charm every time.
Being the chocolate fiend that I am, if I omit the fruit pieces, I usually double the amount of chocolate chips to compensate. I have also used mini chocolate chips but found them too small for the big chocolate taste I was looking for. Nestle's chocolate chip chunks work even better.
It's a sickness. I should be pitied, not scorned.

Chocolate Chip Scones

2 C. flour
1/4 C. white sugar
1 1/4 teasp. baking powder
1/4 teasp. baking soda
1/4 teasp. salt
1/2 C. unsalted butter, cold and cut into slivers
1/2 C. milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 C. dried cherries or cranberries (opt)
1 teasp. vanilla
2/3 C. buttermilk

Egg mixture for brushing tops of scones before baking:

1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 Tablespoon milk

Cinnamon Sugar: (opt., I don't usually use this because I prefer the chocolate to be the primary taste focus)

2 T. sugar
1/4 teasp. cinnamon


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. and place rack in middle of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, bakng powder, baking soda and salt. Cut the butter into slivers and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Stir in the chocolate chips and dried cherries (if using). In a small measuring cup whisk together the buttermilk and vanilla and then add to the flour mixture. Stir just until the dough comes together (add a bit more buttermilk if necessary). Do not over mix the dough.

Transfer to a ligihtly floured surface and knead dough gently four or five times and then pat the dough into a circle that is about 7 inches round. Cut this circle in half, then cut each half into 4 pie-shaped wedges. Place the scones on the baking sheet. Make an egg wash of 1 beaten egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk and brush over the tops of the scones. To make the cinnamon sugar, mix sugar and cinnamon together. Sprinkle the tops of the scones with a little of the

Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire cooling rack.

Makes 8 scones.

(adapted from a recipe from The Joy of

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Daring and Delicious Experiment

I'm back.

And this time, I've got pictures! That is, if I can get all my ducks in a row, photograph-wise. I've spent several hours today perusing the software manual of my camera and what the heck! Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? I'm going to give it a go, throw it against the wall and see if it sticks, kick the tires and take it out for a spin, stick a fork in it and see if it's done, etc.

If I can't get the pictures to show up in the blog, well, I'll be the one curled up in the corner rocking back and forth as I bang my head on the wall.

Food Talk

This is one of my favorite recipes from the family archives. I come from a long line of incredible bakers and cooks, as many of you do, and I treasure the recipes I've cajoled out of my relatives over the years. Except for most of my mother's, that is, since she's one of those cooks that, when asked for a recipe, laughs and says, "Oh, I just threw this together. There really is no recipe." It's the answer that always makes me grind my teeth and growl. Then I tell her the next time she makes the coveted cake, cookie, etc. she'd better write down the ingredients and amounts so I don't tear out my hair. And she laughs again, but she complies, and that's the great thing.

This recipe, however, came from my second cousin in Illinois, so it's aptly named---

Lou Ann's Apple Cake


1 1/2 C. vegetable or canola oil ***
2 C. sugar
2 teasp. vanilla
2 eggs
3 C. diced apples
3 C. sifted flour
1 teasp. cinnamon
1 teasp. baking soda
1 teasp. salt


Pour oil and sugar into a large mixing bowl and beat well.
Add the vanilla and eggs and beat well again.
Add the apples. Do not beat again after adding them.

Combine the flour, cinnamon, flour, baking soda, and salt; whisk together and stir into apple/oil/sugar mixture. It will be very thick. Pour or scoop it into a greased 9x13 " pan (you can sprinkle additional sugar on the top of the batter if you like) and bake for 1 hour.

***I know, I know, I had a mild heart attack when I saw the amount of oil used, too. But if ever a cake was justified by such a godawful amount of something so bad for you, this cake is it. I've always thought that someday I'd like to try substituting applesauce or something else in place of at least part of that oil, but have yet to try it. Probably because I would feel obliged to eat it even if the results were sub-par.

This cake works very well as a coffee cake, eaten at breakfast. Or at least that's how I rationalize it in JaneWorld.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Hold On, I'm Coming!

I've got it!

I've got a shiny new Canon digital camera. This baby does things I didn't know a camera could do. I can't believe all the editing you can do to your pictures either. I think I may have taken a bite slightly larger than my mouth this time, but I'm determined to figure this stuff out. I've taken a few pictures already, being the kind that learns best by dicking around until I figure something out, but I promised myself that this time I will read the manual.

It may take a few days to figure out how to take good pictures, and then how to post them, but I'll get there, never fear.

Hold on, I'm coming! (am I the only one hearing Sam and Dave singing?)