Sunday, September 20, 2009

And the Geek of the Day Award goes to....

Check out the awesome feat of bakery geekery my friend Katherine of Not by Chamomile Alone shared today. A Han Solo Frozen in Carbonite Birthday Cake!

Click on over to her blog to learn more about the day-long team effort that went into making this cake. And Katherine, mad props on your baking and decorating skills!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Hats Aren't for Every Day...

Sweet baby kitty Juliette learned this lesson the other day when I bought my very first bottle of gin (more on that coming soon). I was standing in the liquor store on Saturday, staring at an entire wall of gin and completely confused, when a liquor store guy took pity on me and offered to help with my selection. He rattled off a few different brands, but when he mentioned that the bottle of Broker's came with a freebie, this Jewish girl knew it was for her. And just what was this free gift, you ask?

A plastic hat!

Doesn't Juliette look posh with her wee plastic bowler hat? Now, I won't name names, but one of us wants Juliette to wear the hat all the time, and one of us thinks her mommy is insane and doesn't want to wear the hat at all. So, we've come to a compromise: hats aren't for every day, just for special occasions.

And whenever her mommy wants her to wear one.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bites: Chocolate Chip Scones with Ginger Glaze

A couple months ago, I wrote about my favorite scone recipe for Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze. I mentioned I was pondering other flavor combinations, and I gave one a try on Sunday afternoon. I replaced the blueberries with mini chocolate chips, and lemon with crystallized ginger in the glaze. They turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself. The chocolate flavor doesn't overpower the buttery richness of the scone dough, and the ginger gives the glaze a subtle spice.

Chocolate Chip Scones with Ginger Glaze (adapted from Tyler Florence's Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze)
Makes 8 scones

For the scones:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into chunks
1 cup heavy cream, plus extra for brushing the scones
1 cup mini chocolate chips

For the glaze:
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

The raw materials.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, sugar). Using 2 forks or a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and pour in the heavy cream. Fold everything together just until incorporated; do not overwork the dough. Fold the mini chocolate chips into the batter.

Light as a cloud and studded with mini chocolate chips.

Press the dough out onto a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 12" long x 3" wide x 1 1/4" tall. Cut the rectangle in half (so that it forms 2 rectangles, each 6" long), then in half again, so that you have 4 (3-inch) squares. Cut the squares in half on the diagonal to give you 8 triangles.

Cut like so.

Place the scones on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush the tops with a little heavy cream. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes (this batch took me about 19 1/2 minutes) until lightly browned. Transfer to a rack to cool slightly.

While the scones are cooling, make the glaze. I've found that this recipe makes about twice as much glaze as I need, and I apply it pretty liberally. While I usually make a half recipe of the lemon glaze when I make the blueberry scones, this time I needed about 2/3 of the full glaze recipe.

Combine the cream and powdered sugar in a microwave-safe bowl, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the crystallized ginger and butter. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Remove from the microwave and whisk the glaze until the butter is melted and glaze is smooth. Spoon the glaze over the scones. Let sit a minute before serving (if you can).

Can I resist the awesome power of crystallized ginger?

No, no I can't resist.

Bon appetit!