Cranberry Orange Scones

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At Christmas time I just love baking special treats for family and friends. When I was deciding what special treat to give my mother-in-law Helene and my sister-in-law Mary I remembered how much they loved the cranberry orange scones I made at one of my Christmas tea parties a few years ago. They are so festive and would look just lovely in a holiday treat bag. I was out shopping with my sisters in the beginning of December and I had found the cutest little jars of honey and brandy butter. I new those jars would be perfect to put with my homemade scones and to complete the gift some good tea bags. As most home bakers know scones need to be eaten pretty much within a few hours of being baked to taste their best. They are the best just a few minutes out of the oven for that matter. I knew I couldn’t pull that off on Christmas day as Mom and Mary were coming to dinner at 4:00 pm. So I decided to make this special treat for just after Christmas. I got up early this morning and baked the scones. My husband Joe is braving the rainy weather to deliver the scones to the girls. It’s the perfect day for this special delivery!

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Basket of scones are ready for delivery. I hope it brightens up this rainy day for two really sweet ladies.

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Brandy Nut Cake

DSCF4489 I love reaching into my recipe box at Christmas time. I know whichever recipe I pull out will have years of history and tender memories attached to it. Such is the case with this beautiful fruit and nut cake. The recipe was shared with me by my dear former mother-in-law Janet. The cake is loaded with nuts, cherries, and raisins, and the apricot brandy gives it such a lovely flavor. Janet and I loved baking together on her visits. The Christmas season we made these cakes was an especially happy one for me. Our family lived in Washington State and we didn’t get visits from our family very often. It really lifted my spirit that they were with us for such a special time of year. There would be a few visits from Janet and my father-in-law Bill while lived there. These visits were cherished and all the more at Christmas time. The children were always so happy to see Mom mom and Pop pop. I remember shopping for all the ingredients at our local Costco. We made so many of these cakes that year that we needed to buy in bulk! I enjoyed chopping the nuts and halving the cherries. My fingertips were a lovely shade of red for a day or two! I loved the raisins and I would sneak a few as we were preparing the ingredients. We decided to make the cakes in little loaf pans to stretch the giving to my friends and church family. Mom would take some home with her to enjoy with family and friends who stopped in for a visit. We did lots of baking that year. After the little cakes, we baked all our favorite cookies. Butter spritz, pecan Sandy’s, jam thumb prints, and sugar cookie cut outs. My children couldn’t wait to eat them! I love the smell of the cake baking in my oven today. I couldn’t be more grateful for those precious memories of that special Christmas visit.

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Brandy Nut Cake

3 Cups coarsely chopped walnuts

1 ½ Cups maraschino cherries-halved

1 ½ Cups raisins

¾ Cups all-purpose flour

¾ Cups granulated sugar

½ Teaspoon baking powder

½ Teaspoon salt

3 Extra-large eggs

2 Tablespoons apricot brandy

½ Cup apricot brandy for wrapping

Combine nuts and fruit; sift together flour, sugar, and baking powder, salt. Add to the nuts and fruit tossing to coat well. Beat the eggs till frothy; then add the 2 tablespoons of brandy. Pour the egg mixture over the fruit and nut mixture. Mix well. Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan. Bake at 300 degrees 1 hour and 45 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. When cake is completely cool remove from the pan. Moisten several layers of cheese cloth with the ½ cup of brandy. Wrap the cake in the cheese cloth then wrap in aluminum foil. Store in the refrigerator. I have no way of knowing the creator of the recipe. Janet never mentioned where she had gotten it. But I sure think it’s worth sharing. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Pumpkin Bread

It’s the perfect time of year for my favorite pumpkin bread recipe. These loaves were prepared and baked by my son Timothy. We have been working through some of our favorite family recipes together. I have been baking this pumpkin bread recipe long before he was born. The bread is moist and delicious. A real family favorite. Tim is enjoying cooking as well as baking. His goal is to be able to cook familiar recipes that he grew up with and loves. His beautiful loaves taste every bit as good as mine.

Tim's Pumpkin Bread
Tim’s Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread

2/3 cup of shortening

2 2/3 cups sugar

4 eggs, lightly beaten in a small bowl

1 16oz. can Libby’s pumpkin

2/3 cup water

3 1/3 cups all- purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 ½ teaspoons of salt

½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¾ cup walnuts, chopped

¾ cup raisins

Heat oven to 350 degrees, grease the bottoms of 2 loaf pans.

Mix the shortening and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer, or in large bowl using a whisk

Add the eggs, pumpkin, and water

Blend in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves

Add the nuts, and raisins

Pour into pans about 2/3 full

Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes, cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes. Then turns the loaves out to cool completely before serving. Store in a zip lock bag or air tight container. The bread gets moister as it ages a day or two. You can also safely freeze the bread.

If your not a fan of the nuts and raisins you can leave them out.

Tim used a decorative baking pan for this loaf.
Tim used a decorative baking pan for this loaf.

Thanks for stopping by!

Cream Scones with Currents

Cream scone with lemon curd and whipped cream
Cream scone with lemon curd and whipped cream

Scones are such a pleasure to make. I love that you can change up the liquid to get the taste and richness you would like. I have used whole milk, heavy cream, and butter milk depending on the scone I am making. The different flavors you can add are endless. Who wouldn’t love a moist and delicious  scone? I serve scones at all my tea parties not just because it traditional, but because I love them. At my recent fall tea party I made cream scones with currents and flavored them with vanilla. They were served with homemade lemon curd, strawberry jam, and freshly whipped cream. My favorite topping is the lemon curd with just a dollop of whipped cream on top. It’s so delicious. I always start with ice cold butter and I am careful not to handle the dough to much so I don’t make them tough. Scones need to be moist and tender. I add and egg wash and a sprinkling of sugar to dress them up.

I first assemble all my ingredients.
I first assemble all my ingredients.
I put the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
I put the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
I used a whisk to sift the dry ingredients together.
I used a whisk to sift the dry ingredients together.
I add the butter to the flour mixture.
I add the butter to the flour mixture.
Using a pastry blender I cut the butter into the flour mixture.
Using a pastry blender I cut the butter into the flour mixture.
I then add the currents
I then add the currents.
Toss them in the flour and butter mixture with my clean hands.
Toss them in the flour and butter mixture with my clean hands.
I add the cream and vanilla and gently stir till combine.
I add the cream and vanilla and gently stir till combine.
The dough will come together.
The dough will come together.
Turn the dough out onto floured board.Knead gently for just a few times.
Turn the dough out onto floured board.Knead gently for just a few times.
Form dough into a disk.
Form dough into a disk.
Roll out into a rectangle.
Roll out into a rectangle.
Turn the dough and fold over.
Turn the dough and fold over.
Roll the dough again into a rectangle.
Roll the dough again into a rectangle.
Cut scones with a biscuit cutter.
Cut scones with a biscuit cutter.
Bake at 400 degrees. Cool and serve.
Bake at 400 degrees. Cool and serve.
Scone topped with lemon curd and whipped cream.
Scone topped with lemon curd and whipped cream.
Enjoy!
Enjoy!

Cream Scones with Currents

2 Cups unbleached all-purpose flour

¼ Cup granulated sugar

2 ½ Teaspoons baking powder

¼ Teaspoon fine sea salt

¾ Cup (12 tablespoons) ice cold unsalted butter, diced

¾ up to 1 Cup very cold heavy cream

1 Teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ Cup currents

1 Egg for egg wash

1 Tablespoon of granulated sugar, to sprinkle on tops of scones

In a large bowl add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Use a wire whisk to sift the ingredients together. Add the ice cold butter chunks to the flour mixture and using a pastry knife cut the butter into the flour mixture till it looks like little peas. Add the currents; toss them into the flour mixture with your clean hands. Add the milk and vanilla extract. Stir with a wooden spoon just till combine. Turn dough out on a flour board. Knead just a few times to make a disk. Flour your rolling pin and roll the dough into a 12 inch rectangle shape. Then fold the dough turn it and roll it again you’re looking for a thickness of a ¼   inch thickness. Use a biscuit cutter to cut the scones. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 17-20 minutes.

Thanks for stopping!