Maple Scones

Maple SconesMaple Scones are one of my favorite things. They’re so simple and good, and every time I have one, I get nostalgic for the days when I was learning beginner baking basics in a studio apartment I shared with an ex-boyfriend.Maple SconesA lot has changed in seven years, and also very little. I moved into a larger apartment. I got over the boyfriend (finally, and to my great relief). I have a much larger kitchen now. In fact, it’s so big that my work station is in the living room/dining area, and my (second) pantry and a dedicated dairy fridge are in my bedroom. I have a great roommate, who more-than-tolerates my kitchen time and is one of my dearest friends. I’ve taken all those baking basics and built them into more complex things, the way people do when they’re really excited about something.

On that note, I’m still really excited about home baking. I still bake everyday while listening to The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC—I never miss it. And in the fall, I still get nostalgic for Maple Scones which, in turn, make me nostalgic for that terrible, tiny, dark kitchen where I learned how to properly measure flour by volume.Maple SconesMaple SconesThe first scones I ever made were the very good Maple Scones from Dinner with Julie. I made them over and over as-written, but ever so slowly, I’ve experimented with different scone methods and transformed what was once her recipe into mine. Half-and-half has become heavy cream, I’ve reduced the butter and upped the baking powder, I’ve added butter to the glaze. I kept the brown sugar and maple syrup, obviously. The results are mapley, fluffy and flaky with edges that are somehow both nubbly and tender.Maple SconesWhat I’m saying is that I make a hell of a maple scone. And now, seven years into baking and almost five into this blog, you can too. And maybe one day, when this post is seven years old, you’ll look back and realize that my recipe has ever so slowly become yours.Maple Scones

Maple Scones
makes 8 scones

3/4 cup heavy cream + more for brushing, very cold
2 tablespoons maple syrup (I use Grade A dark amber, robust taste)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold, cut into cubes

Glaze:
2 tablespoons maple syrup + more to preference
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt

Make the scones. Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

In a liquid measuring cup, use a fork to whisk together heavy cream and maple syrup. Refrigerate.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, brown sugar, and salt. Add cold butter. Use a pastry blender or clean fingertips to cut the butter into the flour until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Stir in heavy cream mixture until a shaggy dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Pat it to 3/4-inch thick circle. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice circle into 8 wedges. Place scones at least 2 inches apart on prepared pan. Brush with more heavy cream. Bake 15-16 minutes, until puffed and golden at the edges. Let scones cool on the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, or until they can be handled.

Make the glaze. Combine maple syrup and butter in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in 20 second increments, stirring between, until butter is melted. Whisk in confectioner’s sugar and salt. Glaze should be very thick, but drizzlable. Add more maple syrup by the teaspoon until your desired consistency is reached. Drizzle glaze over scones.

Scones may be served warm or at room temperature. They are best the day they are made, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

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Pumpkin Spice Spread & Pumpkin Pie S’mores

Pumpkin Spice Spread & Pumpkin Pie S’moresIt’s fall, y’all! And not a minute too soon. I have been obsessed with these Pumpkin Pie S’mores for weeks and am so excited that I finally get to share them on here today!Pumpkin Spice Spread & Pumpkin Pie S’moresYou read that right: Pumpkin Pie S’mores! As in graham cracker, toasted marshmallow and a little puddle of pumpkin pie all stacked together in one perfect bite. These are absolutely magical, if I do say so myself. And, I do, since I’ve been eating one around midnight pretty much everyday since Labor Day.Pumpkin Spice Spread & Pumpkin Pie S’moresThe key to this whole operation is a homemade Pumpkin Spice Spread. It’s basically a soft-set pumpkin pie filling that can be used anywhere you could use a little pumpkin spice flourish. Toast, biscuits, scones, cookies, swirled through no-churn ice cream, spread on a waffle, used as a fruit dip, or—you know it—stacked into seasonal s’mores! If you’re into pumpkin, this is a total game changer.Pumpkin Spice Spread & Pumpkin Pie S’moresPumpkin Spice Spread & Pumpkin Pie S’moresFor those of you wondering if you can bypass the homemade spread by using pumpkin butter or mixing together some canned pumpkin, spices and brown sugar for your s’mores, the answer is “sure…but it won’t be the same.” While those options both work in a pinch, neither is as rich and decadent as Pumpkin Spice Spread. It’s made with sweetened condensed milk and has some body from egg yolks, so it’s every bit as luxurious as its pastry-wrapped counterpart and far more versatile. You’ll be seeing a lot of this stuff on here this season!Pumpkin Spice Spread & Pumpkin Pie S’moresPumpkin Spice Spread & Pumpkin Pie S’moresPumpkin Spice Spread & Pumpkin Pie S’moresPumpkin Spice Spread & Pumpkin Pie S’moresThe whole Pumpkin Spice Spread process takes 25 minutes, fifteen of which are hands-off. The most “involved” step is caramelizing the pumpkin, and that’s no trouble at all. It’s literally pushing a cup of pumpkin purée around a dry sauté pan for ten minutes until some of its liquid evaporates and it darkens ever so slightly. This is to ensure that your Pumpkin Spice Spread is nice and thick and never one-note. If you’re pinched for time, you could probably get away without this step, but it really makes a difference in the end product.

The second and final step is to whisk the pumpkin together with the sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, a spoonful of pumpkin pie spice and some salt. Set the whole bowl over simmering water for fifteen minutes, stirring when you remember, and…that’s it. I mean, you should definitely let it cool, but…that’s it.Pumpkin Spice Spread & Pumpkin Pie S’moresWell, except for the part where you dig it out of the fridge every night and sandwich some with graham crackers and a toasted marshmallow. Oh yeah, that’s it.Pumpkin Spice Spread & Pumpkin Pie S’mores

Pumpkin Spice Spread
makes about 2 cups

1 cup pure pumpkin purée (I use Libby’s)
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
pinch of Kosher or sea salt

Place pumpkin in a small sauté pan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, until slightly drier and a tiny bit darker in color. Remove from heat.

Fill a small pot with 1-2 inches of water. Set a heatproof bowl over the top, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Remove bowl and bring water to a simmer.

In the heatproof bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Whisk in pumpkin purée. Place bowl over simmering water, creating a double boiler. Let cook, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes (it will thicken further as it cools). Remove from heat and let cool for 20 minute before transferring to a heatproof container. Press a piece of plastic wrap to the surface. Let cool completely at room temperature before storing in the refrigerator.

Pumpkin Pie S’mores
makes 4 s’mores

4 whole sheets honey graham crackers
2 tablespoons Pumpkin Spice Spread
4 large marshmallows

Carefully break each graham cracker sheet in half to produce 2 squares (8 squares total). Place bottom-side-up on a surface.

Top 4 of the graham squares with 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons) each of the Pumpkin Spice Spread.

Toast the marshmallows. Place each marshmallow on a skewer. Turn a gas stove flame (or other heat source) to medium-low. Carefully toast marshmallow over the top before transferring it onto Pumpkin Spice Spread. Repeat with other marshmallows. Turn off stove. If you’d like to toast your marshmallows with another at-home method, see here.

Top marshmallows with the remaining graham squares, top-side-up. Serve immediately.Pumpkin Spice Spread & Pumpkin Pie S’moresPumpkin Spice Spread & Pumpkin Pie S’moresPumpkin Spice Spread & Pumpkin Pie S’mores

Friday Favorites: Pumpkin II

Okay, I give in.

I’m a real stickler for keeping pumpkin (and other fall flavors) off the blog until it’s actually fall—I’m not a year round pumpkin person and you’ll never see me breaking out my stash of Libby’s on August 1st. That said, insufferable as I am, I could really go for a Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookie Square right now. So, there will be no *new* pumpkin content until Wednesday, when it will finally be fall. Pre-existing pumpkin though? Don’t mind if I do.

If you’ve been here a while, you may know that I did a Friday Favorites for pumpkin three years ago, but I’ve made a lot of new pumpkin recipes since then, so let’s call this a companion piece. Enjoy these favorites from the archives! Oh, and come back Wednesday for a new pumpkin recipe, and in three years for Friday Favorites: Pumpkin III.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinPumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles

These soft, chewy cookies have a double dose of pumpkin pie spice! It’s mixed into the pumpkin dough and then whisked into a sugary coating before baking. If you are a pumpkin spice purist, these are for you.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinPumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan}

If, however, you like your pumpkin extra-shareable and with a side of chocolate, go this route. Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies are vegan, due in large part to the fact that pumpkin makes a great egg substitute. From there, I just swapped the usual butter for coconut oil. Easy peasy.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinPumpkin Chocolate Chip Blondies

I love a good blondie recipe! These are quick and easy and studded with chocolate chips. Can’t wait to make a batch in Maine in a few weeks.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinPumpkin Spice Latte Cookie Squares

I’ve never loved Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Lattes, but I will gladly throw pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and granulated espresso into cookie bars and then top them off with a thick layer of vanilla buttercream. What can I say? I’m filled with contradictions.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinPumpkin Babka

This, the one and only babka on this blog, was a labor of love. I made 18 of them before I got this recipe how I want it. This is so delicious, y’all. Buttery brioche dough is filled with pumpkin pie filling, twisted together, baked until golden and made glossy with a pumpkin spice syrup. Enjoy this yeasted cake for breakfast or a snack, or use it for a hyper-seasonal French toast.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinPumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}

Puff Pancakes are my all-time favorite weekend breakfast, so of course I had to make a pumpkin version! Super easy, super delicious. This is perfect for any lazy morning, or as a Thanksgiving breakfast.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinCheesecake Swirled Pumpkin Bread

This quick bread is actually a half-batch of my Pumpkin Bundt Cake swirled with cheesecake and baked in a loaf pan. It’s very simple and a stunner every time.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinPumpkin Pie with Toasted Pecan Crust {Vegan, Gluten-Free}

Everyone needs a great pumpkin pie recipe, and while I have a more traditional one in the archives, I think this vegan, gluten-free version is my favorite. The filling is lightly sweetened with maple syrup and coconut sugar and the crust is made primarily of pecans, cornstarch and coconut oil, and the whole thing is really fantastic. Put it on your Thanksgiving menu, or maybe just make one for the hell of it.
Friday Favorites: PumpkinPumpkin Oat Dog Treats

Yes, I even have pumpkin for pups! These nutritious five ingredient treats come together in a food processor, and though they are for dogs, they are delicious for humans too. That’s right, I have to taste test everything on this blog. Even the dog treats.

Have you made any of these or any of my other pumpkin recipes? What’s your favorite thing to make with pumpkin? Let me know in the comments or on social media!Friday Favorites: PumpkinFriday Favorites: Pumpkin

Oatmeal Puff Pancake {Gluten-Free Dutch Baby}

Oatmeal Puff Pancake {Gluten-Free Dutch Baby}Did you know you can make a Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby} without any flour? And that by swapping in an equal volume of oats, reducing the milk, and getting the eggs extra foamy, you can get just as golden and rumply a result as in every other version you’ve ever had?Oatmeal Puff Pancake {Gluten-Free Dutch Baby}Well, I didn’t. It hadn’t even occurred to me until I made Oatmeal Waffles a few weeks ago. But indeed, just as you can blend whole oats into cookies, graham crackers and linzers, you can swap them for the usual flour in and make one hell of a Dutch Baby.Oatmeal Puff Pancake {Gluten-Free Dutch Baby}Not only is this oven pancake completely whole grain, it’s also naturally gluten-free! If you or a fellow breakfast guest needs to be gluten-free, make sure your oats are certified gluten-free.Oatmeal Puff Pancake {Gluten-Free Dutch Baby}Oatmeal Puff Pancake {Gluten-Free Dutch Baby}Oatmeal Puff Pancake {Gluten-Free Dutch Baby}Oatmeal Puff Pancake {Gluten-Free Dutch Baby}If you’re wondering if this Oatmeal Puff Pancake is more work than the traditional version, the answer is “no.” Just like its gluten-full counterpart, the batter comes together in under 90 seconds in a blender, then goes directly into a super hot, buttery pan, then into the oven for 18 minutes.Oatmeal Puff Pancake {Gluten-Free Dutch Baby}The pancake is ready when the edges are golden brown and the center is beginning to take on color. It will also likely (but not always) have a few large bubbles, which will quickly disappear as the puff relaxes into a smoother bowl shape at room temperature.Oatmeal Puff Pancake {Gluten-Free Dutch Baby}Once it’s deflated, fill your Oatmeal Puff Pancake with your favorite seasonal fruit (I went with the last of the plums and blackberries) and drizzle with maple syrup, or go more traditional with lemon and confectioner’s sugar. Then slice into this custard-centered beauty and behold its crisp-chewy edges.Oatmeal Puff Pancake {Gluten-Free Dutch Baby}Oatmeal Puff Pancake {Gluten-Free Dutch Baby}Like other Dutch Baby recipes, this Oatmeal Puff Pancake can be scaled up or down depending on the size of your pan and how many servings you need. I’ve included times and proportions for four different yields in the recipe notes to make sure that there’s plenty to go around.

Whether you’re a single person or a family of 5-6, this is one heck of a sweet brunch. If you can’t wait for the weekend though, I have it on good authority that it makes a great Wednesday night breakfast for dinner.Oatmeal Puff Pancake {Gluten-Free Dutch Baby}

Oatmeal Puff Pancake {Gluten-Free Dutch Baby}
makes one large puff pancake, about 4-6 servings

4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup old-fashioned oats (use certified gluten-free for gluten-free)
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional, but recommended)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2/3 cups milk of choice (I used whole)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

For serving:
seasonal fruit
maple syrup
lemon wedges/juice
confectioner’s sugar

For smaller pancakes (6, 8 and 10-inch pans), see notes below the recipe for quantities and baking times.

Place a large (12-inch) ovenproof cast iron or stainless steel pan in a cold oven. Preheat oven to 400F.

In the a high-powered blender (or food processor), blend eggs for 30 seconds until frothy. Add oats, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and milk. Blend another 30-45 seconds.

Once oven has reached 400F, remove the hot pan and add butter. Place pan back in the oven for 60-90 seconds, until butter has melted. Remove pan from the oven, and swirl the butter so it coats the pan. Pour in batter. Bake 17-18 minutes, until puffed and golden. Do NOT open the oven door during baking.

Let pancake cool 2-5 minutes before slicing. Serve immediately with toppings of choice.

Notes:

For a 6-inch pan (1 serving):
1 large egg, room temperature
1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
pinch of ground cinnamon (optional, but recommended)
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons milk of choice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Bake for 16-17 minutes.

For an 8-inch pan (2 servings):
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
pinch of ground cinnamon (optional, but recommended)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk of choice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Bake for 16-17 minutes.

For a 10-inch pan (3-4 servings):
3 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional, but recommended)
3/8-1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt (based on preference)
1/2 cup milk of choice
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Bake for 17-18 minutes.

Oatmeal Puff Pancake {Gluten-Free Dutch Baby}Oatmeal Puff Pancake {Gluten-Free Dutch Baby}

Coconutdoodles

CoconutdoodlesPeople tell me all the time that they don’t bake because it doesn’t allow for improvising. I’m here to tell you that assumption about baking being all about precision is a big ol’ myth. At least half of the recipes in my archives started from a place of improvisation.

Now, could I have improvised so much when I first started baking? Probably not. The key is developing a few solid base recipes and paying attention to what different ingredients do—after that, it’s trying new things, like working with what you already have and fending off your crippling fear of failure. It’s the same with improvising during “regular” cooking, or in music or in theatre or in musical theatre. You’ve got to know the rules before you can bend them. But then, bend away, and if it doesn’t work, bend another way.CoconutdoodlesThe base recipe for these Coconutdoodles has been on here once already this year. It looks different there, filled with pecans and white chocolate chips, but the recipe is almost *exactly* the same otherwise. Same with last year’s Funfetti Cookies—take out the white chocolate chips and rainbow sprinkles and you have a blank slate sugar cookie recipe.CoconutdoodlesCoconutdoodlesCoconutdoodlesCoconutdoodlesThat’s right, a blank slate. A new start. A place to improvise by adding that random half-bag of coconut you have leftover from…well, I don’t remember what, but that’s beside the point. The point (!) is to load up that dough with as much coconut as it can take, then blitz the rest into a powder with some sugar and roll your cookie dough balls in it, snickerdoodle-style. But it’s coconut, so…Coconutdoodles.CoconutdoodlesCoconutdoodles bake up super thick and puffy, and while the sugary coconut-crusted exteriors don’t really toast, they do get extra crispy. Oh, and the insides are super chewy and loaded with an obscene amount of coconut. Ob-scene. I really thought it might be too much, or that it might make the cookies crumbly, but it‘s the exact right amount and these cookies stay soft for days. I know because I ate this whole batch myself. That was weeks ago and I’m still sad that they’re gone.CoconutdoodlesBut you know what? I have this blank slate sugar cookie dough, and I’ve got another half-bag of coconut, and heaven knows I’ve got time to make cookies this weekend. I’ll save my crippling fear of failure for next weekend.Coconutdoodles

Coconutdoodles
makes about 2.5 dozen cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract (optional, but recommended)
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut

Coating:
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream butter until fluffy and lighter in color. Beat in granulated sugar. Mix in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Add dry ingredients in two installments, beating until combined. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in coconut. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Make the coating. Combine granulated sugar and coconut in a food processor. Pulse 10-15 times or until mixture is snowy (no big pieces of coconut). Do not over-process, as mixture can become a paste. Place coating in a shallow bowl.

Scoop chilled dough in 2 tablespoon increments, and roll into balls. Roll each dough ball in the coating mixture. Place dough balls at least two inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies 10-11 minutes, until puffy. Let cool on baking sheets for five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat process with any remaining dough, letting the baking sheets come back to room temperature between batches.

Cookies will keep extremely well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

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