Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Crooked Scone

If I were to open a bakery, I'd have to call it the Sunken Loaf. Or maybe the Crooked Scone. And if I did open a bakery, it would have a playground for babies to play in so adults could enjoy their baked goods in peace and quiet and babies would have somewhere to burn off some energy during the cold, cold winters (it's below zero here today; boo!). Then maybe people would come for the atmosphere and not notice so much that my baked goods have .... personality?

Assembled ingredients for scones

I'm pretty proud this week. After 2 months (from Halloween to Christmas) of eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted - resulting in an 11 lb weight gain! - I got back on the Weight Watchers band wagon and tracked, tracked, tracked my points. This week I lost 2.8 lbs! Still a long way to go to get rid of holiday weight, and even farther to go to get rid of pregnancy weight (yes, a year later, I'm still toting it around....), but I know from experience that success breeds success.

All stirred up
So, when I had a hankerin' for baking today (did I mention it's below zero with the wind chill??), I knew just what to make. I've followed Gina at Skinnytaste for some time. Made several of her dinner dishes, and only attempted one baked good - and it didn't turn out! So, I swore to stay away from "skinny" baked goods for good. But, this recipe. Looked SO good. Looked like good-sized pieces.  Low points values (for a baked good). All ingredients I had on hand. Perfect!

Skinny Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Scones
recipe from

Ready to knead

  • 3/4 cup cold buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup all purpose flour (Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour (Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp chilled butter (must be cold) cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • cooking spray
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
Preheat oven to 375°. Combine the first four ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.
Combine flour, baking powder, salt, in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Cut in chilled butter with a pastry blender, or you could use 2 knives, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Gently fold in chocolate chips. Add milk mixture, stirring just until moist.
Place dough onto a floured surface and knead lightly four times with floured hands. Form dough into an 9-inch circle onto baking sheet, about 3/4" thick. Using a knife, cut dough into 12 wedges all the way through.

egg white over dough and sprinkle evenly with sugar.
until golden, about 18-20 minutes, depending on your oven.

First of all, I cut scone dough like I cut pizzas - uneven and crooked. Oh well. I guess some days I'll get a big scone and some days I'll get a small one.  It'll all even itself out.

Cut crookedly!

My scones are decent, but I wouldn't say I did a GREAT job making them. I've never made scones before, so I probably need to perfect my method. And probably - once again - follow the recipe a little better. Yes, I messed up again. I pulled my scones out of the oven and they are very flat, whereas Gina's are very raised. Lo and behold - I read the recipe wrong. I put in one TEAspoon of baking powder; it calls for one TABLEspoon. That probably makes a lot of difference, huh?

 Maybe my bakery should be called "Follow The Recipe" instead.

They taste fine; look a little weird. I think I'll try them - or a variation of scones - again someday. After I read and really pay attention to a few more recipes. :)

Hannah loved it, though. And why wouldn't she? She's only had chocolate a very small handful of chocolate a few times in her life. She probably was in baby baked good heaven!

Monday, January 9, 2012

The whole jar of jam!

I'm raising snackers. Seriously. These kids love crackers, string cheese, graham cracker bunnies. Applesauce pouches, Cheerios, and most of all - Nutrigrain bars. They eat at least 1 each per day. I think it's their equivalent of cookies.

So, I thought "why not make some homemade Nutrigrain bars?" After a quick Pinterest search, I found this recipe from a great blog called From Apples to Zucchinis. The recipe looked easy enough. I had all the ingredients on hand (always a plus), so I gave it a go.

Homemade Nutrigrain Bars

1 c butter softened
1 c brown sugar
1 c whole wheat flour
1 c all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups oats or quinoa flakes (or a combination of the two)
1 tsp vanilla
2 c (16-24 oz jar) jelly or jam
See? All the ingredients were from my cupboard!
MIX ingredients together until they form a coarse meal – I mixed mine together with my hands
press one half of the mixture into a foil lined, sprayed 9 X 13 pan
spread jelly over the crust
crumble the remaining mixture over the top and press down onto the jelly lightly
bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes
allow to cool before cutting into bars

 The Verdict:
I loved the bars, babies loved the bars. But, in analyzing the recipe, ingredients, time, etc, I've come to the conclusion that unless you are a fanatic about knowing & having control over every little thing that goes into your babies' mouths, the box bars are quite good enough. In fact, the Trader Joe's brand are cheaper than Nutrigrain, taste better, and are whole grain. These just aren't worth the trouble - or the entire jar of jam! (Which costs more than a box of fruit bars itself!)

Delicious, but too not worth the work!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

We ate our way through Christmas

The holidays are such a wonderful season! Pretty lights on the trees (which B&H called "piddy"), lots of presents to open, TONS of great things to eat. B&H did indulge in the holiday season - cookies, pancakes, monkey bread, etc etc. I have blog posts coming for all those, I promise. But first I need to back track a bit and write about this wonderful banana bread recipe I found.

You might recall that I have trouble with quick breads. They tend to sink, be raw in the middle, and burnt on the edges. It's a curse I've tried to overcome for many years. I've also tried banana bread recipe after banana bread recipe and nothing really works.

Then I got this ceramic bread pan. That seems to help.

And I worked on my patience. Turns out I was taking the bread out before it was done.

Anyway, I did find a good recipe lately that I want to repeat over and over again (which, sadly, could be one of the reasons I'm back on the Weight Watchers band wagon....). There was something about this recipe, which uses buttermilk in it, that made it so tasty that babies barely got any. Whoops.

The recipe comes from a blog called Two Peas and Their Pod, which at first I was so excited about because I thought it had to be another twin family blog. But after investigating a bit more, I think the peas are just a man and a woman who have so much in common that THEY are the 2 peas in a pod. Oh well, they still have great recipes on their site!

Buttermilk Banana Bread
Not sunken!

Cook Time: 50-55 minutes

 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed bananas (3 medium sized bananas)
4 tablespoons buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1. Grease and flour 1 large loaf pan (9 1/4 X 5 1/4-inch) or whatever combination of pans you’d like. I used a mini loaf pan and a 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 loaf pan. You can also make banana muffins with this recipe, if you wish. Set pans aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs, mashed bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla until the batter is well mixed.
3. Add in the flour, baking powder, salt and soda. Mix until well combined. Divide batter into greased and floured pans and bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Perfect, crackly top. Mmmm.

4. Let bread cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Loosen the bread with a knife and carefully remove from pan. Finish cooling on rack. Slice and serve once cooled.

I love the rich, yellow color of this bread. It tasted as good as it looks.

 You will be happy to know that I have decided to save up my money for a nicer camera, so my grainy, unfocused iPhone photos will soon be a thing of the past. Of course, between taking care of B&H, running this household, keeping up on chores, writing two blogs (visit our other one here), Facebooking, and having time for myself and my husband who knows when I'll have time to use the new camera, but I hope somehow the days get an extra hour in them for me to learn. :)