Maple-Oat Scones w. Glazed Walnuts

MapleScones

I think the test of a great scone is if you can eat it in the afternoon and it’s still just as delicious as when they were baked that morning(except for the warm part, nothing beats that!!). There is a little pastry spot in Portland that I took my friend to, and the maple-walnut scone we got was so good, that when she accidentally dropped a piece on the street, she picked it up and popped it into her mouth without hesitation - now that’s a good scone!! I wanted to make my own version, desperately wanting to avoid ‘maple flavoring’ but needing to capture a deep maple taste. By glazing the walnuts with syrup, you not only add an extra maple element to the scone, but you toast the nuts as well, which accents the nuttiness of the oat flour. The reduced syrup concentrates the deep flavor, and using it in the scone and the icing balances the sweetness. There are a few steps to these scones that make them next-level maple, and they’re totally worth the extra 15 minutes of prep!

MAPLE-OAT SCONES W. GLAZED WALNUTS // MAKES 8

1 ½ c flour

¼ c oat flour

2 ¼ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

6 T unsalted butter

½ c milk

¼ tsp vanilla

½ c pure maple syrup, reduced to 5 T, divided

½ c glazed walnuts (see below)

GLAZED WALNUTS:

½ c walnuts, roughly chopped

2 T maple syrup

Pinch of salt

MAPLE ICING:

½ c powdered sugar, sifted

2 T reduced maple syrup

¼ tsp vanilla

Pinch salt

Turn oven to 400 degrees(ensure your oven rack is in the center) and allow it to preheat for at least 30 minutes. Line a half sheet pan with parchment and set aside. To reduce the syrup, bring the ½ cup to a simmer over medium heat, then allow to bubble and reduce to 5 T, about 13-15 minutes. Allow syrup to cool slightly as you pull together the rest of the recipe. While syrup is reducing, make your walnuts:

Lay a sheet of parchment onto a pan or countertop. Place a dry skillet over medium heat; add walnuts to lightly toast. Increase heat to medium-high and add 2 tablespoons maple syrup (straight from the bottle, not your reduced elixir!) and salt. Stir frequently with a rubber spatula until they’re toasty and caramelized, being careful not to burn, for about 2 minutes. Use the spatula to transfer to parchment in a single layer to cool completely.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter using your favorite method - I use a pastry blender - until some pea-sized amounts remain throughout. Combine milk with 3 tablespoons of the reduced syrup and the vanilla. Pour into dry ingredients; using a fork, mix about halfway, then add the glazed walnuts(you may need to break them up a bit) and mix lightly until just combined. Transfer to a board and knead together lightly; pat into a circle about ¾ inch thick. Cut into 8 wedges and place on prepared sheet, spaced 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes, rotate pan, and bake for another 6-8 minutes, until they’ve popped up and have a golden crust on top. Remove from pan to cool on a wire rack.

To make icing, sift powdered sugar into a small bowl. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of the reduced syrup, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Whisk to combine, adding ½ - 1 teaspoon of milk if the mixture is too thick to drizzle. Place the wire rack with scones on top of the parchment lined pan you baked them on to catch drips and drizzle with the maple icing.

These scones definitely passed my all-day test - I tasted them morning, afternoon and evening!! - as well as fulfilled my quest to bring out the maple flavor naturally. They’re perfect for Fall (move over pumpkin spice!) or any time of year if you’re a maple-loving Canadian like me, I hope you’ll give them a try!

With a full heart and an empty plate,

Katie

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Brunch Cobbler

Brunch cobbler. Get on board.

I have always been crisp gal when it comes to the options for hot fruit casserole-esque desserts. To me, biscuits were biscuits and didn't belong as a topping. Now, if you are currently thinking...ummm what’s the difference, aren’t they all the same really? NO.

They all basically start the same with a mixture of fruit & starch as the base, but here’s a quick rundown of how the toppings determine the variety:

Buckle - cake batter poured over that ‘buckles’ under when baked

Pan Dowdy - topped with a pie crust that is broken open halfway through baking to allow juices to bubble up over top, making the dessert look ‘dowdy’ (not kidding here people)

Brown Betty - layered & topped with leftover bread that’s been tossed with melted butter, sugar & spices

Crumble - topped with a streusel mixture of butter, sugar, flour & spices

Crisp - topped with a streusel mixture of butter, sugar, flour, spices & an ingredient that adds a ‘bite’ like nuts or oats

Cobbler - biscuit dough dropped over, creating a ‘cobblestone’ type pattern when baked

Extra Credit:

Grunt - a base of stewed fruit that has dumplings dropped on top & is steamed to cook through

So, now that you are far more educated on old-school desserts than you wanted to be, let me bring you back to how I decided to release my fear of eating cobbler - by making it for brunch!! Everyone loves a good biscuit, as well as a reason to eat dessert for breakfast. I’m not going to lie though, it’s kind of a crisp-cobbler hybrid as I made oat biscuits - I could only branch out so far my first time.

Brunch Cobbler // Serves 8

Filling:

5 c mixed berries or sliced fruit

2 T flour

¼ c strawberry jam (homemade is best!)

¼ c sugar

½ tsp salt

Zest & juice from ½ a lemon (appx. 2 tsp juice)

Topping:

1 ¾ c flour

¾ c oats

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

⅓ c brown sugar

4 oz cold unsalted butter

3/4 c buttermilk

Slightly sweetened creme fraiche or whipped cream, for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 2 ½ - 3 qt baking dish and set aside. Mix together all filling ingredients and pile into baking dish.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking powder and soda, salt, and brown sugar. Cut in butter until it resembles coarse crumbs, then stir in buttermilk gently with a fork. You may need to add one or two additional tablespoons to create the right consistency. Drop the sticky dough by spoonfuls over the fruit, leaving areas for the fruit to bubble up through.

Bake 35-40 minutes, until the crust is browned and juices are bubbly. Allow to stand for at least 10 minutes, or enjoy at room temperature. Serve with sweetened creme fraiche if desired.

Brunch Cobbler

This was my first use of the market berries I froze earlier in the summer, if you don’t have any, just sub in your favorite fresh or frozen fruit. Note that your amount of starch may need to be adjusted based on the juiciness of your fruit.

You can absolutely make this for dessert, but I served it alongside some savory options and mimosas for brunch and it was a real crowd pleaser - give it a try this weekend!


With a full heart and an empty plate,

Katie

Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes w. Fresh Lemon Curd

I was inspired to make these after yet another conversation with my husband about our favorite spots and dishes in New York. I woke up the next morning with ambition and, oddly enough, all the ingredients needed to create a version of the lemon ricotta pancakes from Locanda Verde in Tribeca. Full disclosure: this recipe takes time and quite a few dishes, but it is totally worth it.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes // Serves 4-6

¼ c unsalted butter

1 c milk, whatever kind you keep in your fridge (some fat content is good)

1 1/4 c flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp fine sea salt

3 eggs, separated

2 T sugar

Zest of 2 lemons

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup ricotta

Lemon curd(recipe below)*

Blueberries for serving

*If making both recipes in the morning, make lemon curd first, then warm to serve as needed

Combine milk and butter in a small saucepan placed over medium heat and allow butter to completely melt; remove from heat. Alternatively, microwave in 30 second increments until butter has melted and set aside.

In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and ½ teaspoon of the salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, 1 T sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla. Measure out the ricotta cheese and set aside to come to room temperature while you continue with the recipe. Pour a little of the milk mixture into the eggs, whisking continuously, to temper them. Slowly pour in the remainder of the milk, whisking until completely incorporated. Add the flour and whisk to just combine, but ensuring the batter is smooth; set aside.

Place the egg whites in a bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl if you want to get your arm workout in! Whisk until they start to become solid white and foamy, then add in the remaining 1 T sugar and the ½ tsp salt. Whisk on high until soft peaks form - you want them to be thick enough to hold their shape, but still bend over like a soft serve ice cream cone(I apologize that I now have you thinking about ice cream). Add the whipped egg whites to the batter and gently fold in with a rubber spatula. Add the ricotta and continue to fold in until mostly incorporated, but with some pieces of ricotta throughout - you don’t want a completely smooth batter!

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and coat with whatever you please (butter is always my favorite). Pour about ¼ c of the batter onto the hot pan for each pancake and cook until golden brown and bubbles begin to form and pop on top; flip and cook 2-3 minutes longer.

Serve with warm lemon curd, fresh blueberries, a dusting of powdered sugar...and know that it won't be the last time you make these because your family will not let it be.

Lemon Curd // Makes appx. 1 cup

3 T unsalted butter, softened

½ c sugar

1 egg

1 egg yolk

Juice of 2 lemons (or generous 5 T, depending on the juiciness of yours!)

Zest of ½ lemon

Using either a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until well combined and light. Add in egg and yolk and beat for 1 minute. Mix in the lemon juice to combine; this will make the mixture look curdled and a little icky, but I promise you that it cooks out smooth as the butter melts(I even proved it with the picture below). Place mixture in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until smooth.

Cooking Lemon Curd

Increase the heat to medium, stirring continuously as it cooks and thickens, until the mixture is bright yellow, thick enough that a swipe of your finger leaves a solid line on the back of the spoon and reads about 170 degrees*.

Finished Lemon Curd

Remove from heat and stir in the zest; transfer to a bowl to use right away. If keeping for a later use, transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid, allow to cool slightly, then press a piece of plastic wrap right down onto the curd to prevent a layer of film from forming. Put the lid on and place in the refrigerator and store for up to a week.

*Be careful in this phase as it can start to stick to the bottom(it happened to me!). If this is the case for you, continue to cook until it’s thick, but be careful not to scrape too much off of the bottom. Before stirring in the zest, press the curd through a fine-mesh sieve to create a completely smooth product, then continue with the remaining steps.

Lemon Curd

This is the first time I had ever attempted curd, and it was much easier than I expected, however, it is not a recipe you can make while distracted as it can boil or burn quickly! I have never been much of a lemon person when it comes to desserts, so I am glad the quest to recreate a restaurant dish forced me to step out of that box!  This recipe will work with any citrus you like so go crazy this summer with a fresh take on it - maybe use it to top cheesecake or to add some zip to a strawberry shortcake - whatever you try, have fun and share it with the people you love.

With a full heart and an empty plate,

Katie

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