Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Maple Walnut Scones

I hung this out on my other blog for our photo of the week theme... clouds...but...I think it's just perfect for today's recipe here as well.... 

The Canadian Olympics.... 

would you like a little Maple Syrup to go with that? .. these are my tasty version of this scone recipe I found ages ago.  Of course, after I make them exactly as stated the first time.... I play around with ingredients and they never come out the same twice in a row after that.
This time I used some raisins, dried cranberries and usually less walnuts than called for in the recipe. Oh, and...I never use quite the amount of baking powder either...I hate the residual taste of it in any baked product and usually find I can get away with at least 2 tsps. less with no problem.

  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup (3 1/2 ounces, about 3/4 cup walnut halves) finely chopped walnuts*
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt  ( as usual, I never bother with this when using salted butter)
  • 2/3 cup of butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon Maple flavouring
*The walnuts are tastier if you toast them before chopping. Place walnut pieces in a single layer in a flat pan and toast them in a preheated 350°F oven for 5 to 9 minutes, or until they smell "toasty" and are beginning to brown.  Watch them like a hawk.  Who can afford to ruin $$ worth of nuts!

In a large bowl, combine the flour, walnuts, baking powder and salt. Cut in the shortening and/or butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. ((I cut in the fat before adding the walnuts..it seems easier to me))

In a separate bowl, combine the milk, 1/3 cup (3 3/4 ounces) of the maple syrup, and the maple flavoring. (You can leave out the maple flavoring if you wish, but it really adds a nice touch.) Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until you've formed a very soft dough.

Flour your work surface generously, and scrape the dough out of the mixing bowl onto the floured surface. Divide the dough in half.

Working with one half at a time, gently pat the dough into a 7-inch circle about 7/8-inch thick. Transfer the circle to a parchment-lined or lightly greased cookie sheet or other flat pan; it'll be very soft, and if you have a giant spatula, it's the tool of choice here. Repeat with the remaining half of the dough, placing it on a separate pan.

Using a sharp bench knife or rolling pizza wheel, divide each dough circle into eight wedges. Gently separate the wedges so that they're almost touching in the center, but are spaced about an inch apart at the edges. Pierce the tops of the scones with the tines of a fork, and brush them with some of the remaining maple syrup.

Bake the scones in a preheated 425°F oven for 15 to 18 minutes, or until they're golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and brush them with any remaining maple syrup. Wait a couple of minutes, then gently separate the scones with a knife (they'll be very fragile), and carefully transfer them to a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, with jam or maple butter (or even better, maple cream, an amber-colored, spreadable version of maple syrup).

NB::  This is the original recipe from some old publication ..cut out .. so I'm sorry, but I can't give credit because I can't even tell you from whence it came.  

 ...instead of patting and cutting... I usually leave out just a bit of flour in any original scone recipe until I make sure of the consistency ...I can add a bit more at the end if I want it a bit stiffer... and plop large spoonfuls of the softer dough onto the baking sheet.  As you see from the picture...  .... they are then rustic mounds instead of flat scones.    

Thursday, February 4, 2010

a "first" ...

Believe it or not, I've never eaten Creamed Spinach in my life.  Until a couple of days ago.  Neither has my sweetie.. .. maybe it's not a common thing to Canadians?  Or .. maybe we have both been living under a rock.  It is YUMMY!

However, having said that...it is also one of those dishes that you couldn't actually call heart healthy... so we won't be having it too often.  But, I am definitely in favour of everything in moderation.  So... on occasion.... I'll be making this!

I saw the recipe on Lines from Linderhof and had to give it a try.

I used half and half butter and olive oil, and added some chopped onions, which I softened a bit, then added the garlic to the onions instead of to the spinach.  I also added a bit of mustard and some chopped fresh parsley to the sauce once it got going nicely.  I cooked my spinach in a separate pan while the white sauce thickened a bit; then tossed it into the sauce... stirred it gently and divided it between two gratin dishes.

Linderhof Creamed Spinach
Fresh spinach, sauteed ever so lightly in olive oil with a hint of garlic. Then set aside while you melt butter, add a bit of flour and then milk (or cream if you must -- we must!) until it gets thick. Add just a hint of grated nutmeg -- there is something about cooked greens and nutmeg that just goes together. Add the spinach and pour it all into a gratin dish -- we like individual ones -- sprinkle with a bit of grated Parmesan and pop it into the oven until it is hot, bubbly and the cheese is melted.

I used the parmesan sparingly as I do try not to overdo with cheeses... just a little taste to say I had some because I love it...but, .... sigh...I envy you if you can eat cheese..... 

... served on a bed of couscous.. with orange-y chicken. 

hahahah...okay...listen... there were two totally different sizes of gratin dishes.  This was the bigger of the two...and we shared.  Honest.  But, I almost licked the dish.  The smaller one became lunch the following day... with meatloaf.  If you haven't made spinach lately... try this.  If you never have... like me ... get right on it.  You'll be glad you did.