My kitchen smelled so good recently, and it was all thanks to these beautiful little blueberry banana nut muffins. I honestly can’t remember the last time I baked just for me — not for work or with the intention of bringing it to a party or as a gift — but these muffins looked so delicious when I saw them online that I told myself “but they’re good for you!” and went for it.
The season of tinsel, mistletoe, eggnog, and peppermint has arrived. Also, the season of cranberry and orange, like in these tasty scones.
It’s been awhile, huh? Sometimes life hands us a little more than we can handle day-to-day, and our priorities get shifted around, like pawns on a terrible game board.
But then you start to get back on track.
Today’s post for Carrot Raisin Scones is the perfect excuse for an update, since it’s part of a virtual birthday party for my dear friend, and fellow food blogger, Fiona from A Boston Food Diary.
Fiona and I were friends in high school, but it wasn’t until the power of food blogging reunited us a few years ago in Boston that she became one of my closest friends, and constant source of enthusiasm and support. Both wise and kind, she always knows what to say and looks you right in the eye when she says it. Then she has a beer. This is my kind of person…
When I was trying to decide what to make for her birthday post, I knew it had to be something with carrots in it. I don’t even know if Fiona likes carrots (probably), but when I think about her, I think about how insanely jealous I am of her stunning, shiny, red-blonde hair. Not quite the color of carrots, but enough that I went with it.
You can see in this March 2012 photo of Fiona, me, and Jen from Beantown Baker (who is responsible for the virtual birthday party!) how much her hair steals the show. You can also see me looking terrible and insisting on wearing my coat in a bar in Providence.
But back to the scones, which were terrific.
After grating the carrot, I decided to add some fresh lemon zest and swap out the recipe’s nuts for raisins. The citrus adds the perfect amount of zing, which is nicely complemented by the cinnamon-ginger-nutmeg power spice trio.
The carrot also helps up the scones’ moist-factor (yes…moist-factor), which means nobody can call these scones dry. Even 36 hours after coming out of the oven the texture was great.
Happy birthday to my wonderful friend Fiona. Life is so much better with you in it. I hope you have a terrific day and a great year ahead!
Other posts celebrating Fiona today!
Jen from Beantown Baker made Happy Birthday Cocktail.
Amber from Bluebonnets and Brownies made Sunday Cupcakes with Fleur de Sel Caramel Frosting.
Erica from In and Around Town posted Ocean Views at Legal Harborside’s First Floor.
Carrot Raisin Scones
Adapted from Not Eating Out in New York
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons whole milk
1 carrot, grated fine (about 1/2 cup)
1 lemon, zested
1/3 cup raisins
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, spices, and salt. Add the cold butter and work it into the flour using a pastry blender or your fingers until the pieces are no bigger than peas.
- Make a well in the center and add the egg and 1/4 cup milk, using a fork to combine. Add the grated carrot, lemon zest, and the additional 2 Tablespoons of milk. Mix a few times with the fork, then add the raisins. Mix a few more times until just combined.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead a few times to combine. Shape the dough into a circle and cut into 8 even wedges with a sharp knife.
- Transfer the dough to the baking sheet, leaving the wedges lightly touching for softer scones, or an inch apart for crisper scones. Sprinkle with additional sugar if desired.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until just golden.
Yield: 8 scones
Print the recipe for Carrot Raisin Scones
I think I want to like olives in my breads and scones more than I actually do. This misguided notion led me to believe I would love Tomato-Pesto with Kalamata Olive scones, but I think instead I just liked them.
It’s not their fault. I also probably over-worked the dough.
Despite my so-so feeling about the taste, I loved the aroma of the fresh rosemary in these scones, and it was fun re-hydrating the dried tomatoes. I thought they would be more red, but they stayed pretty dark.
The texture of the scones was plenty moist, and I think for a true olive-lover they would hit the spot. Maybe with some cheese. What actually ended up hitting the spot for me was my semi-shortcut supper…
While I was getting up the ingredients for the scones at Whole Foods, I also picked up a jar of Tikka Masala simmer sauce, a ready-prepared portobella mushroom and pepper strips (4 colors!) pack, a bag of brown basmati rice, and some extra firm tofu. Add to that an onion from home, and I was armed and ready for a big plate of delicious…and a few days worth of lunches, too!
So now that we have talked shop a little…do you want to know more about the lucky good news I mentioned yesterday?
I will be attending the 3rd annual Food Blogger Camp this January in Mexico!
How awesome is it that I get to say I am going to CAMP? I never went to camp and I always had some serious camp envy (thank you Parent Trap and Babysitters Club).
FBC is a 5-day extravaganza hosted by famed food bloggers and/or photography experts David Lebovitz, Elise Bauer (Simply Recipes), Matt Armendariz (MattBites), Jaden Hair (Steamy Kitchen), Adam Pearson, Diane Cu and Todd Porter (White on Rice Couple). This is an amazing roster. Each day there will be sessions on blogging, photography, branding skills, and more…not to mention a whole slew of amenities courtesy of the Grand Velas Riviera Maya resort! And of course, a lot of great food.
I have been long overdue for a vacation and this will be that, but so much more. I have found such delight and satisfaction through working in my kitchen and on this blog for the past 6 months (largely due to interacting with you…I mean it) and I want to continue to grow and learn.
And this is growing and learning from the best…with lots of sunblock!
I can’t wait!
I made these scones yesterday because the heat hadn’t come on yet in my heat-included apartment, and I knew a 400 degree oven would at least warm up the kitchen. I also had leftover pumpkin from the fudge. And the recipe called for brown sugar, which was important since I was out of white sugar.
I kept them simple and didn’t add the raisins or nuts, but they were still tasty and not too sweet.
The scones were important, but the biggest event of the weekend was my leap into the modern age by getting a smartphone. I selected a Droid X. It’s enormous and fancy and I love it. I used it to take the picture of the scones because I wanted to see how it would turn out. I don’t think it’s too bad…I can definitely use it to take impromptu photos of my food in restaurants.
I know some of you do this too and I love you for it.
Naturally, one of the first apps I added was Retro Camera, which allows you to take photos that look…well…old.
Like Polaroid style…
Or Bärbl style.
I love the Bärbl effect. I took this next one of my house yesterday, and found the overall look very spooky…which was appropriate for Halloween.
The heat finally came on this morning. I was half-asleep but when I touched the radiator and it was warm under my hand I almost wept with relief. I hate being cold.
I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween!
My mom and I share a love for scones. Knowing this, she gave me the Nordic Ware Scone Pan for my birthday last month, and I have been just waiting for the chance to use it. That ended up being this weekend, and because I knew I would be seeing my mom, I made apricot scones…her current favorite.
I also got to use my (ahem) new KitchenAid 7-cup Food Processor. It was on sale at Target last week and I just gave in. I have no regrets, just better pie and pastry dough.
Turkish apricots, cut and ready.
Cold butter, ready to pulse.
Circle of dough.
Brushed and generously sugared.
Leftover dough leaves.
I also made a few “munchkin” scones with dough scraps, but I ate them all. Remarkably fast.
They were very good.
I’d share the recipe, but when my mom gave me the pan she also gave me a scone mix from a local fruit farm, so that’s where the dry ingredients came from. Next time there will be no shortcuts!
I did some thirfting today and picked up some cookbooks…surprise surprise. One that I wanted to buy, but didn’t because I knew it would almost be as useless as a microwave cookbook was this one (I know I need a better camera phone):
Unless it’s 100% cocktails, the point of a blender cookbook is lost on me.
Did you cook anything special this weekend?