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Posts Tagged ‘Maple Syrup’

Oh, I do love a good a scone.  And I’m not too fussy about the style.  I love cake-like scones with a bit of icing on the top just as much as I enjoy the crumbly biscuit-like versions.  This scone falls firmly into that second category.  It’s substantial.  Dense.  Almost ‘heavy’ (in a good way!) because of all those healthy whole grains packed into such a small treat.  But it also has a nice hint of natural sweetness from the maple syrup, which marries incredibly well with those oats.

These scones come together in a flash, so they are perfect for a lazy weekend morning.  Be sure not to overwork the dough, as the irregular cold butter chunks make for a wonderfully textured scone.  When you bake these, the cold butter leaves behind empty air pockets which add a fantastic, flakey texture.  Yes, chunks of butter are a good thing.   I decided to not put any sugar in the scone (aside from the sprinkles on top), and instead let the sweetness of the maple syrup come through.  It worked perfectly.  I like to eat these treats with a smear of butter and a little maple syrup on the side.  Enjoy!

The Recipe:  Oat and Maple Scones

(Makes 7 round scones or 6 wedges)

1 3/4 cups (235 grams) all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (80 grams) whole-wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup (53 grams) old fashioned rolled oats

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 HEAPING tablespoon baking powder

1/4 cup real maple syrup

1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk or milk, (use a bit more, if necessary)

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted, cold butter, cut into small cubes

1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)

About 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar, for sprinkling on the tops

Preheat the oven for 400°F.  Position rack to the middle of the oven.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Add the flours, oats, baking powder, and salt together into a bowl.  Whisk them together.  With a pastry blender, a fork, or your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles small breadcrumbs.  (Note: a food processor can also be used, but I would recommend mixing in the oatmeal by hand at the very end, so it retains it’s shape.)  It’s ok to have some irregular chunks of butter.  In a small bowl, mix the buttermilk and maple syrup together.  Pour them into the flour mixture and either by hand, or with a rubber spatula mix it all together to form a dough.  Do not over mix.  If the mixture feels too dry, add a bit more milk.  This particular dough should not be sticky.

On a lightly floured surface, pat the dough out until it is about 1 1/4 – inches tall.  Using a 2-inch cutter cut the dough into about 7 rounds and place them on the parchment- lined baking sheet.  Or cut them into 6 larger wedges, if you don’t have a 2-inch cutter.  Using a pastry brush, top the scones with the egg wash and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.  Bake them for 15-20 minutes, or until they are golden brown.

These scones are best if eaten on the day they are made.  They will dry out a bit after that, but certainly nothing a little smear of butter and a drizzle of maple syrup can’t help.  Enjoy!

Source:  Adapted from Breakfast, Lunch, Tea: The Many Little Meals at Rose Bakery via Smitten Kitchen

Hope you’re all having a lovely week — thanks for stopping by!

Laurie

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Ah, the evening chill of Fall.  It turns the switch in my brain from wanting the cool, crisp vegetables that I’ve been eating all summer to warm, comforting dishes.  Yes, it’s hard to say goodbye to those fabulous cucumbers for the next several months, but I’m ready to slowly warm my house and enjoy the lingering smell of roasted vegetables.  I’m ready to have Radd come home from work, open the front door, and see him smile when he notices those beautiful aromas.  There is something therapeutic about it.  I get so excited to share this style of warm, homecooked meal with my family.

You already know that (aside from sweets) vegetables are really all I need.  While I love those raw fresh and crisp summer specimens, roasting imparts– or perhaps emphasizes– other flavors entirely.  They develop a bit of a personality and a little more character.  They are both sweeter and more complex.  This recipe really showcases what I’m talking about.

The vegetables are prepared in a large baking dish where they slowly caramelize in the oven.  They take on those fantastic roasted notes, and become oh-so tender.  But there’s more.  This meal has another layer of flavor due to a superb caper vinaigrette.  To be honest, I was a little hesitant to add the dressing at first.  Capers– though I love them– can really overpower a dish.  Adding their salty, briny character struck me a bit odd.  Much to my surprise, the result was brilliant.  The maple syrup accentuates the sweetness of the vegetables.  The Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and olive oil meld to create a beautiful canvas for the punch of those potent little capers.  Rather than compete to overpower your taste buds, the flavors end up nicely balanced, each taking its turn.  They complement each other perfectly, and once you taste these vegetables, you won’t roast them any other way.

For the vegetables, most any combination of your favorite root variety will work here.  Some will need longer roasting times, so adjust accordingly.  When choosing parsnips, try to choose medium sized ones.  If you can only find large ones, just make sure to quarter them and cut away the woody center.  This dish would be wonderful paired with a roasted chicken or a braised pork shoulder.  Or make them on their own.  Just be sure to share.  Enjoy!

The Recipe:  Roasted Vegetables with Caper Vinaigrette

(Serves 4)

4 medium parsnips

4 medium red onions

2 medium sweet potatoes, unpeeled

2 -3 medium purple carrots (regular can be substituted)

2/3 cup olive oil, divided

4 thyme sprigs (about 1 teaspoon dried can be substituted)

2 rosemary sprigs (about 1 teaspoon dried can be substituted)

1 head garlic, halved horizontally

handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

salt and pepper

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons small capers

1/2 tablespoon maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Peel the parsnips.  Cut the carrots and parsnips into halves and then into 2-3-inch segments.  Peels the onions and cut each into 6 wedges.

Place the parsnips, carrots, and onions on a roasting pan and toss with 1/2 cup of the olive oil, the rosemary, thyme, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and some pepper.  Spread out evenly and roast for 20 minutes.

Prepare the sweet potatoes by cutting their ends off.  Then cut them into halves. Then each half into six wedges.  Add the potatoes to the dish of vegetables, toss, and return to the oven for a further 40 minutes, or so.

When the vegetables are cooked through and have taken on a golden color, toss in the tomatoes and roast for another 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, whisk together the lemon juice, maple syrup, mustard, capers,  1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Pour the dressing over the roasted vegetables as soon as they are removed from the oven.  Adjust seasonings, if necessary.  Enjoy!

Source:  Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty Cookbook

For more healthy fare inspiration, take a look at these other ideas via womenshealthmag.com   —  Thanks for stopping by!

Laurie

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Notice anything different?  Look at the URL (and blog title) above.  That’s right, my blog is now ‘Relishing It’, with the profanity in my web address (though it provided a few chuckles) now gone.  Let me know what you think.

On to today’s post.  Oatcakes?  No doubt the title of this recipe alone is so inviting that you can’t wait to try it.  Alright, it may not sound exciting, but these little creations are incredible.  I want implore you to make them to prove that even with a title like ‘oatcakes’, these are delicious.  Did I mention that they’re also easy and convenient?   I stumbled across these hearty cakes in another recently published cookbook, Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson.  Heidi authors the blog 101 Cookbooks  , which I’ve been following for some time.  This book is fantastic, with a concentration on healthy and vegetarian foods.  I’ve made these oatcakes several times over the last couple of weeks, as my family (mostly my husband) devours them.  These are most certainly not muffins.  To be honest, I’m not really a muffin fan.  While they’re sweet and cake-like, I find that I always choose something else if given the option.  Yes, these oatcakes have that tell-tale ‘muffin shape’, but the comparison ends there.  These are very dense, hearty, and flavorful, though not particularly sweet.  Even better, they’re filled with ingredients that are nutricious and tasty.  You’ll see that the recipe contains a few items that you may not have on hand.  Don’t let that stop you from making them.  My guess is that once you have the ingredients on-hand, you’ll make this recipe again and again.

Whole grains, oatmeal, and whole wheat pastry flour provide the heft here.  The original recipe also called for whole flax seeds, though my variation relies on flax meal.  Whole flax seeds are too hard for your body to break down.  They simply pass through, without giving you the healthy benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and antioxidants that you get in the ground form.  Whether you use whole seeds or ground meal, store them in the refrigerator once opened.  Heart-healthy walnuts add a nutty crunch to the cakes, and also contain omega-3 fatty acids that are good for you.  The cakes are sweetened with raw cane sugar, honey, and maple syrup– a sublime combination.  Here I deviated from the original recipe as well, as it called for just the maple syrup and sugar.  I was feeling a bit stingy about my dwindling maple syrup supply being depleted by another 3/4 cup, so I substituted half with honey.  It really paid off, as the honey and oat combination is heavenly.  There are also two different oils that keep the cakes moist– butter and extra virgin coconut oil.  The latter is emerging as a healthy alternative oil that’s seeing more use in cooking and baking.  You can read about some of it’s health benefits here.  When you go to purchase it, take note that it will not be a liquid.  It will be white and solid.

These oatcakes are a perfect snack for your busy summer.  They keep well and transport easily.  Take them on walks, bike rides, camping, or for a simple morning breakfast.  They are very filling, and they’ll satisfy your hunger for longer than you think.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

The Recipe: Oatcakes

(makes 1 dozen)

3 cups rolled oats

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or spelt flour

1/2 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/4 cup flax meal

3/4 cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted

1/3 cup extra virgin coconut oil

1/3 cup unsalted butter

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup  (Note:  just to be clear — 3/4 cup total of equal parts maple syrup and honey)

1/2 cup raw cane sugar or natural cane sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the top third of the oven.  Butter a standard 12-cup muffin pan.

Combine the oats, flour, baking powder, salt, flax meal, and walnuts in a large mixing bowl.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine the coconut oil, butter, honey, maple syrup, and sugar and slowly melt together.  Stir just until the butter melts and sugar has dissolved, but don’t let the mixture get too hot.  And if it does, let it cool a bit – you don’t want it to cook the eggs in the next step.

Pour the coconut oil mixture over the oat mixture.  Stir a bit with a fork, add the eggs, and stir again until everything comes together into a wet dough.  Spoon the dough into muffin cups, nearly filling them.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the edges of each oatcake are deeply golden.  Remove pan from oven and let cool for a couple of minutes.  Then run a knife around the edges of the cakes and tip them out onto a cooling rack.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  They are especially good with a smear of butter and a drizzle of honey.  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from Super Natural Every Day Cookbook by Heidi Swanson

Thanks again for stopping by!

Laurie

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I live in Minnesota, where the maple trees are now being tapped.  Yes, its a bit of poetic dreaming, but this makes me long for a little country home with my very own maple trees, big red barn, and sprawling garden.  I conveniently ignore the “back-breaking labor” part of that dream.  While I don’t get to live the bucolic life here in the middle of the city, I’m fortunate enough to have access to the local, delicious maple syrup from nearby (not to mention a few fantastic farmers markets).

I love maple syrup, though this wasn’t always true.  The fact is, for most of my childhood I’d never had the real thing.  I detested the overly-thick, sugary mess that most restaurants labled “maple syrup.”  At home, we usually had a berry syrup, as getting real maple in rural North Dakota wasn’t an option at the time.  Once I finally had a taste, I was hooked.  I couldn’t believe that it was nothing like the gloppy corn syrup-based knock-offs I had been exposed to.  It was thin– delicate almost– and just sweet enough.

A friend recently told me about a fantastic cake recipe by David Lebovitz— one of my favorite accomplished chefs.  This maple walnut pear cake is perfect for this time of year.  It’s one of those desserts that’s simple to throw together and toss into the oven, yet the result is so much more than an ordinary cake.  The flavor-combination is beautiful.  The maple syrup, walnut, and pear build off of one another, while the cinnamon binds them all together.  This is a moist cake that gets better with each passing day.  I think I even prefer it on the second day when the glaze really gets a chance to soak in.  But seriously,who’s going to wait that long for a piece?  Try it– you’ll love it.  And for goodness sakes, don’t forget the whipped cream!

The Recipe: Maple Walnut Pear Cake 

Topping:

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

3 ripe Bosc pears (I used D’Anjou and they worked fine), peeled, quartered, cored, and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices

Cake:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Make the topping:  Combine the maple syrup and 1/4 cup dark or light brown sugar in a 9-inch cake pan or a cast-iron skillet.  Set the pan directly over the heat on the stovetop until it begins to bubble; simmer gently for 1 minute, stirring often.  Remove pan from heat.

Sprinkle walnuts evenly over maple mixture in the pan, then arrange the pear slices over the walnuts.  A pinwheel pattern works perfectly.

Make the cake:  In a small bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt).  In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or by hand, beat together the butter, granulated sugar, and 1/4 cup light brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Add the vanilla and eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated.  Gradually mix in half of the flour mixture, then stir in the milk, then add the remaining flour mixture.  Mix just until combined.

Scrape the batter over the pears in the pan and carefully smooth into an even layer.  Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.  Cool 15 minutes in the pan.

Run a knife around the sides of the cake to loosen it from the pan.  Invert a serving plate, or cake stand, over the pan, and carefully invert cake onto it.  Gently lift the pan off of the cake and arrange any walnuts that may have gone astray.

(Note:  Apples can easily be substituted for the pears in this cake.)

Source:  David Lebovitz’s: Ready for Dessert

One last note…Food Bloggers across the country are uniting on May 14 to help fight childhood hunger.  In Minneapolis/St. Paul the bake sale will be held at 920 East Lake St. Mpls, MN 55407 — in the Midtown Global Market.  The hours of the sale are 11:00am-4:00 pm.  I hope you come out and support this important cause.

Hope you are all well and enjoying a bit of spring!  As always, I appreciate your comments!

Thanks for stopping by,

Laurie

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