Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Rustic Apple Pie Scones with Maple Butter Glaze

Rustic Apple Pie Scones with Maple Butter Glaze

I'm kicking off the autumn baking season this year with an apple recipe I think you'll really enjoy. Whole wheat flour gives these Rustic Apple Pie Scones a nutty flavor that complements the sweetness of the caramelized apples.

Greek yogurt and applesauce help lower the fat content, making these fairly virtuous scones. If you'd like, you can omit the glaze and serve these, buttered, in place of regular biscuits alongside pork or ham entrees.

Apple Pie Scones with Maple Butter Glaze

Rustic Apple Pie Scones with Maple Butter Glaze

Yield: 12 scones

For apples:
1 Tbsp butter
1 large baking apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp brown sugar

For scones:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground allspice
1/2 cup butter, cold (I used Green Valley Organics lactose-free butter*)
1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce

For glaze:
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1. Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; spray lightly with nonstick pan spray. Set aside.
2. For apples: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, diced apple, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Cook, stirring often, until mixture is bubbly and apple pieces are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
3. For scones: In a large bowl, stir together the flours, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Cut in the cold butter using a pastry blender, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the Greek yogurt, applesauce, and cooled apple mixture and stir just until dough comes together.
4. Place dough on floured work surface. Knead 3 or 4 times; do not overhandle. Sprinkle dough lightly with flour and roll or pat dough until about an inch thick. Cut out scones using a biscuit cutter (round) or a paring knife (wedges or squares).
5. Place scones about 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees F until scones are set and golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from baking sheet and let cool on wire rack.
6. For glaze: Combine melted butter, confectioner’s sugar, and maple syrup in a small mixing bowl and whisk vigorously with a fork or small whisk. You can adjust to desired consistency by adding a tablespoon of confectioner’s sugar at a time until thick, or adding a teaspoon of maple syrup at a time until thin. Spoon glaze over cooled scones and let sit until set.

*I received samples of Green Valley Organics' lactose-free butter, which I couldn't wait to try. The flavor of this butter is outstanding. If you have trouble with lactose, this butter is your dream come true! Even if you tolerate lactose just fine, I still recommend this butter for its excellent flavor.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Pumpkin Gingerbread Cookies

Pumpkin Gingerbread Cookies
Sweet and soft, these gingerbread cookies feature the warm fall flavors of pumpkin and spice. Welcome your trick-or-treaters home to a plate of these and some spiced cider.

Store leftover cookies in an air-tight container for up to one week. These ship well and stay soft at the center even after a few days.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Cookies 

 Yield: 4-5 dozen cookies, depending on size 

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened 
  • 1/4 cup molasses 
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree 
  • 1 egg 
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • Turbinado sugar 

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter. Beat in molasses, pumpkin puree, egg, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla extract until well blended. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add in the flour mixture, mixing until completely combined.
2. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment.
4. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface and use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes. Transfer cookies to baking sheets. Reroll and cut out remaining dough.
5. Sprinkle cookies with turbinado sugar and bake for 7-9 minutes at 375 degree F, until the edges are slightly firm to the touch but cookies are not browned (the bottom of the cookies will be golden).
 6. Cool completely on rack and store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Pumpkin Spice Snack Mix

Pumpkin Spice Snack Mix

This delicious sweet-and-spicy snack mix is perfect for the mid-autumn munchies! Make plenty to put out in fun bowls at your Halloween parties—this will disappear fast.

If you like your toffee popcorn on the gooey side, bake for 30 minutes. If you want it to be a bit drier, bake for an additional 10 minutes. It will harden as it cools.

Yield: About 3 quarts

4 cups Rice Chex
4 cups popped popcorn
1 cup pretzel balls or broken pretzel pieces
½ cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)

For the caramel:
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
3 ounces butter
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
Pinch salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1.     In large bowl, combine cereal, popcorn, pretzels, and pepitas.
2.     Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Grease a half sheet pan.
3.     In small saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt over medium heat. Bring to boil; let boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, baking soda (will foam), and pumpkin pie spice.
4.     Gradually pour caramel over cereal mixture, folding gently with spatula to combine. Pour out in a single layer on prepared pan. Bake at 250F for 30 minutes, stirring once midway through.
5.     Let cool completely, break up, store in air-tight container at room temperature.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Beurre Noisette

sweet potato gnocchi, Thanksgiving side dishes, browned butter, pasta recipes, gnocchi recipes

Rich little pillows of deliciousness, these hearty sweet potato gnocchi are spiced with fresh nutmeg and finished simply with beurre noisette (which, I believe, means "drink me" in French. Only kidding..."beurre noisette" is just a pretty word for butter cooked until it's hazelnut brown).

Beurre noisette, also called browned butter, is what young, ambitious butter aspires to be. It makes a ridiculously easy and utterly delectable sauce for anything from pasta to fish, and is a fantastic way to elevate any simple protein or pasta dish to "company" status.

Sweet potato gnocchi are perfect for the fall table. Try them alongside roasted ham, chicken, or pork. Consider starting a new tradition and serving these as a side dish with your turkey this Thanksgiving!

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Beurre Noisette 

Yield: 3-4 main dish servings 

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, baked, peeled, and mashed 
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour 
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice 
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten 
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 
  • ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or more, as desired)
  • Fresh herbs; chopped toasted nuts to garnish (optional; see Note below)

1. Place mashed sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Add flour, lemon juice, beaten egg, nutmeg, and paprika, and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Stir with a fork or spatula until mixture is smooth. (You can make this easy by using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.)
2. Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap and spray with nonstick baking spray; set aside. Divide sweet potato mixture into 3 parts. On a flat surface dusted with flour, roll each part out into a rope approximately 1/2” in diameter. Cut into 1” sections and roll out on tines of fork to mark. Place gnocchi on prepared baking sheet and continue with remaining sweet potato mixture.
3. Cover gnocchi with plastic wrap and freeze on the baking sheet at least 30 minutes or until ready to use. (Once gnocchi are frozen solid, transfer to a resealable plastic bag; may be frozen up to 6 weeks.)
5. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet. Cook frozen gnocchi in batches, browning on each side, adding more oil to the pan as necessary. Keep warm.
6. Once all the gnocchi are cooked, place 2 tablespoons butter in skillet over medium-low heat. Let cook till just browned. Pour over warm gnocchi, stir, and serve immediately.

If you want to dress this up a little, add some chopped fresh sage or rosemary to the butter while it's browning. Sprinkle finished gnocchi with chopped toasted hazelnuts or pecans to garnish.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Pumpkin and Stout Soft Pretzels

pumpkin stout pretzels, pumpkin spice, soft pretzelsWe know, we know...everyone is overdosing on pumpkin spice, it's a fall cliche, it's just too hip. But . . . so? We're not ashamed to admit we love pumpkin spice! In fact, we're downright happy to ride the pumpkin-spice tidal wave until it crests sometime next week, following the palate-resetting mini-candy-bar blowout that is Halloween.

Stout is very complementary to pumpkin; the flavors work really well together, especially with the addition of warm fall spices, yeast, and a touch of brown sugar. You can use whatever stout makes your heart sing. (I used our own homebrewed oatmeal stout, which is a damn fine specimen, if I do say so myself.) Canned pumpkin works a treat--but be sure to use plain pureed pumpkin and not pie filling.

Don't skip the boiling process--it takes only a few seconds and is super simple to accomplish. Make sure to let the pretzels cool before buttering and sugaring them. And this is one case where less is more, as far as the butter basting goes. Too much butter (hard to believe there is such a thing), and your spiced sugar will just clump up and fall off. Restrain yourself.

soft pretzels, pumpkin spice, pumpkin pretzels, stout

Pumpkin and Stout Soft Pretzels

  • 1 cup stout
  • 1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 packet dry active yeast
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup baking soda (for boiling)
For topping:
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Combine stout, pumpkin puree, and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring, until very warm but not hot (no hotter than 110 degrees F, please). Remove pan from heat and sprinkle yeast over the pumpkin mixture. Stir and let stand 5 minutes. AT the end of that time, your yeast should be "blooming."
  2. To the bowl of a stand mixer, add all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, salt, and spices. Pour in the pumpkin-yeast mixture, add the oil, and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula to moisten dry ingredients. (If the dough is too dry, add another tablespoon or 2 of stout.) Using the dough hook attachment, knead on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, until dough forms a smooth ball around the hook and doesn’t cling to the sides of the bowl.  If the dough is too sticky, add additional flour a tablespoon at a time. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for about 45 minutes. (The dough won’t quite double, but it should have a decent lift.)
  3. Line baking sheets with parchment and spray with pan spray.  Divide dough into 12 equal pieces (I weighed mine whole, then used a calculator to divide the ounce total by 12 for accuracy; pastry chef habit), and roll each piece into a rope about 18 inches long.  Form each dough rope into a pretzel and place on pans. Cover pretzels with a clean linen cloth and let rise for 25 minutes.
  4. Bring a stockpot or other large pot of water just to a boil.  Add ¼ cup baking soda--careful, it will bubble aggressively for a moment--and stir to dissolve.  Boil the pretzels in batches for about a minute, turning halfway through. Remove pretzels from water bath and let drain for a minute on clean towels.
  5. While you’re boiling the pretzels, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place boiled pretzels on parchment-lined and sprayed baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until deep golden brown.
  6. Transfer the pretzels to a rack to cool completely.  While they’re cooling, combine sugars, spices, and salt in a pie plate or similar rimmed dish.  Brush the pretzels with a very light coat of melted butter, then toss in sugar-spice mixture until coated.


  • If you buy your yeast in 1lb packages like I do, the equivalent to a single yeast packet is 2.25 teaspoons. Now you know.
  • These can be frozen before they are coated. Just wrap plain pretzels in plastic wrap and place in a zipper-sealed plastic freezer bag. When ready to serve, thaw, brush with butter, and toss in sugar-spice mixture.
This recipe was originally posted on my craft beer blog, Stop by and visit me there for all things related to craft beer and home brewing. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Spiced Pumpkin Scones with Caramel Browned Butter Glaze

In Las Vegas, the smell of pumpkin spice on the air is pretty much the only indicator that fall has arrived (unless you count the Christmas decorations for sale in Target and Home Depot). With temps in the 90s still, it's too hot for carved jack o' lanterns, and we don't have a "leaf season" to speak of.

So we make do: we throw on shorts and sunblock to go outside and put up our decorations, and we sip frozen pumpkin spice lattes. As a transplant from New York, I like fall. I like a landscape of variegated leaves and apple picking and the promise of dozens of tiny candy bars. 

So here's my contribution to seasonal baking. These Spiced Pumpkin Scones with Caramel Browned Butter Glaze are probably one of my favorite things to make and to eat. The icing is so good, it's worth a day's sugar carbs to eat it straight up, from a spoon. Not that I've done it. I'm just saying. 

Spiced Pumpkin Scones with Caramel Browned Butter Glaze

Yield: 8 servings

Using a blend of all-purpose and whole wheat flours contributes to the flavor and texture of this bread. Be sure to use freshly ground nutmeg if possible; the flavor is superior to that of the off-the-shelf preground variety.
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 11/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, diced
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 tablespoons half-and-half or heavy cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Caramel Browned Butter Icing
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup (one stick) salted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup half-and-half or heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 to 11/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Add cubed butter, and use a pastry blender to work it into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, half-and-half, egg, and vanilla. Pour pumpkin mixture over flour mixture. Use a fork to combine until all the dry ingredients are incorporated and a soft dough forms.
  4. Working in the bowl, knead the dough a couple of times, just until it comes together—do not overwork. Line your work surface with parchment and sprinkle lightly with flour. Turn dough out onto prepared work surface and pat or roll out until it’s about 1 inch thick. If making wedges, form the dough into a circle. If using a biscuit cutter, shape doesn’t matter.
  5. For triangles, cut dough round into 8 wedges. If you prefer round scones, use a biscuit cutter to cut scones out as close together as possible, then gently press dough scraps together and cut again.
  6. Arrange scones on prepared baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10-12 minutes, or until tops and bottoms are golden and scones feel set.
  7. Let cool completely on wire rack before icing.
  8. To make icing: Combine brown sugar, butter, and half-and-half in a saucepan over medium heat. Stirring, bring to boil and allow to boil for 2-3 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Let cool to room temperature. Gradually beat in sifted confectioner’s sugar ¼ cup at a time until desired consistency is reached. Spread over cooled scones. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

What Are You Really Eating?

Author Griffin Smith
Guest Post by Griffin Smith

When it comes to diet, I’m a huge proponent of the phrase “everything in moderation.” A few sweets here and there definitely won’t hinder your progression toward your fitness goals in the grand scheme of things. Unfortunately, it seems that the FDA have taken this expression a bit too literally. To them, everything really means EVERYTHING, including but not limited to: mold, maggots, bugs in food, and even *shudder* rat poop. Yup, rat poop.
Apparently, in limited quantities, these elements are perfectly safe for human consumption. If you’ve got a stomach of steel, read on to find out about 10 unsavory things that the FDA will allow in the food that you buy.
Click here to read the complete article.



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