January 25, 2012

snow scones

Scones with butter and raspberry jelly, or with bacon and eggs as Zach preferred, are the perfect snow-day breakfast, which is why it's too bad it wasn't snowing and there wasn't any snow on the ground when I made them. Bummer. I was hoping that the scones in the oven would send a signal to the snow that it was time to start falling, but nope, no snow. It's only snowed once this winter, and that was before Christmas. Of course that doesn't mean we've had blue sky and sunshine, no, it's been grey and cold for what feels like ever, a month-full of possible snow days, but still we wait. Thankfully the mountains aren't too far away, but they don't have fresh scones in the mountains, just pots and pots of Fondue, which I guess is it's own kind of wonderful.
These are a few of the pictures I took of our pre-Christmas snow day. This park is right near our apartment. We call it the 'meat-market' because in the summer it's crammed with all of the studly 20-somethings showing off their tans. I almost don't recognize it in the winter, it truly takes on an entirely different character, it's a bit bleak, but certainly peaceful.
Cream Scones - Martha Stewart.

- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/3 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper

Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Cut the butter into the flour using your fingers to rub the butter into the flour, until the largest pieces are the size of peas

Using a fork whisk the cream with the eggs. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the egg/cream mixture. Stir lightly with a fork until just combined, making sure not to overmix.

Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface and shape into a 4 x 8 inch rectangle that is about 3/4 inch high. Using a floured 2inch round cutter, cut out 8-10 rounds and transfer them to the lined baking sheet. Brush tops with cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until the scones are golden brown, about 16-20 minutes.
These scones are really wonderful. I highly recommend making them, especially if you have a snow day lurking in your future. Jelly is a must in my mind, but Zach would tell you bacon, but then again bacon is his favorite food, the bottom of his pyramid.

Here's wishing you some snow....and scones!

January 19, 2012

tartine cookies

I spent $54 at Tartine when we were in San Francisco over New Years. We didn't even sit down, that was just takeout. And Tartine is not expensive, it's just that I bought one of everything. Or at least that is what it felt like. If it was in the case or on the counter I wanted to try it. I basically walked down the line and continued pointing to things and then finished off by adding two cellophane bags full of cookies after the cashier had already rung me up. So let's start with the cookies and work backwards. Wrapped in those cellophane bags were coconut macaroons (coconut is just one way into Zach's heart) and crispy orange-currant-oatmeal cookies. Already packed up in the bag when I grabbed the cookies was a lemon tart, a coconut cream tart, five biscotti, two currant scones and a half a loaf of their famous country sourdough bread. And that's not including what was in my brother's bag - gingerbread, brioche bread pudding and some more cookies. Heaven! It was all absolutely heavenly, especially the chocolate coated crust on the coconut cream pie, oh dear me it was good. The bread, hot out of the oven, was also perfect crusty and wonderfully sour, just as I imagined it would be. If you live in SanFran, I hope you are reading this on your ipad while waiting in line at Tartine. No excuses.
Besides the coconut cream pie crust and the crusty sourdough bread one of the tastiest purchases were the orange currant oatmeal cookies. Before tackling the bread at home (which I've been meaning to do for about a year now) I decided to give the cookies a go. I'm usually a chocolate chip cookie girl, as evidenced by the three or four recipes on this blog, but there was just something about these tangy and crispy oatmeal cookies that I loved.
Tartine Orange + Currant Oatmeal Cookies
adapted from Tartine (adapted only because I didn't have nutmet, corn syrup or molasses)

* a note - this dough needs to sit overnight in the fridge, so a little planning ahead is required.


- 1 1/2 cups currants

- 1 1/2 cups oatmeal
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (recipe calls for nutmeg)

- 1 cup/ 8oz/ 226g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 large whole egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup (recipe calls for 2T corn syrup, 1T molasses)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons orange zest

Place the currants in a bowl and cover them with warm water. Let them sit for about 10 minutes or until they have plumped up a bit. Strain and try them.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon (or nutmeg if using) into a mixing bowl and set aside.

Cream the butter and the sugar. Once light in color and consistency, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the whole egg and then the egg yolk, beating each until incorporated. Follow with the vanilla, maple syrup (or corn syrup and molasses if using), salt and orange zest.

Once the wet ingredient are well mixed add in the flour mixture, the oats and the currants.

Lay out 3 sheets of parchment paper and divide the dough into thirds. Roll the dough into logs about 2 inches in diameter and then wrap them in the parchment paper. Once wrapped press slightly to create an oval shape. Place in the refrigerator over night (or do what I do and place 1 log in the fridge for tomorrow and 2 in the freezer for later).

When ready to bake preheat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Unwrap the logs. With a sharp knife slice the logs into ovals about 1/4" thick. Bake the cookies for about 7-10 minutes or until the edges have lightly browned and the centers remain pale. Transfer the cookies to a wire wrack and let them cool.
These cookies are dangerously bite size. It's kinda like eating Pringles, that crunch and crisp gets addictive and you can't stop. Speaking of Pringles, I have an issue where whenever I eat something sweet I then want something salty. I've been eating this cookies and then digging my hand into the potato chip bag. And before we went to Tartine I had just eaten a massive burrito and wanted something sweet. The same is true when I eat ice cream, I then want french fries - McFlurry and a small fry anyone?
Just a couple final snapshots from our trip. The weather was wonderful, typically San Francisco where one minute we were putting on layers and then the next minute we were taking them off.

One quick note about San Francisco. Whenever I'm there I cannot stop thinking about earthquakes. We're driving over a bridge and I'm just thinking, 'not now, not now, just not now'. Anyone else?

January 16, 2012

clementine yogurt cake

You know how it's almost harder to start things back up after you've been away from them for awhile? It just feels daunting. Like, how to recap and regroup on the past month? Maybe it's easier not to. Eager to get back to it I figured it was better if I didn't try and review the days of my absence, at least not yet, and that it was better to just start with today, specifically with the cake I made this morning. I was really in the mood for a breakfast cake, something to break the Kellogg's Red Berry cereal kick that I've been on for the last week. I searched for coffee cakes and morning cakes and buttermilk cakes, but finally settled on a plain and simple yogurt cake that I spiced up with a bit of clementine zest and juice. This cake references back to one of the first recipes I posted here, almost a year ago (happy almost birthday blog). Today's cake is a bit lighter, more cake-like and less poundcake-like. It is in good company with a mug of coffee and the morning paper. It's also in good company with the photos I took from our weekend in Grindelwald.
I haven't even been back a week, but we ready to get out of town for the weekend. Zürich in the winter can be a bit grey and chilly and although we love to nestle inside, we also love getting to the mountains. We planned our weekend on Friday over dinner and we were off Saturday morning shortly after breakfast. I should also mention that this cake is very simple, one of those pour-in-a-bowl-and-mix type of recipes. There's no creaming, or melting or whipping egg whites.

Clementine Yogurt Cake

- 2 eggs
- 1 cup whole milk plain yogurt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup olive oil (or vegetable oil)
- 1 tsp vanilla (extract or powder)
- zest from 2 clementines
- juice from 1 clementine

- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- good pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC and butter a 9" springform pan.

Mix the top ingredients (eggs, yogurt, sugar, oil, vanilla, zest, juice) lightly in a bowl until incorporated.

All at once add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix until blended together, without over-mixing.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let it cool for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire wrack.
So there we go, over the hurdle of the first-post-back. Phew! It's good to be back in Zürich and on the blog. It's also nice to have a cake sitting in the kitchen again, it's been far too long. I'm already looking forward to breakfast tomorrow....and to dessert tonight!