No more dry, dense, rock hard scones! Make buttery, tender scones in about 30 minutes. What’s the secret to a light scone? Use Swan’s Down Cake Flour instead of regular all purpose flour. It’s got a lower protein content, so your scones will be lighter and more fluffy. I love making scones for Sunday brunch because they a fast, easy recipe, and they taste great when they are fresh. Get the full recipe for these Chocolate Apricot Scones with Almond Glaze in the video description here: https://youtu.be/6rNqbedI5f0
I’m back!!! I’m ending a several-month silence by making traditional French crepes with my favorite Frenchman. Check out the video and let me know what you think! Have you ever made homemade crepes? This is an easy recipe – give it a shot!
Traditional French Crepes
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
4 eggs at room temperature
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
4 tablespoons melted butter
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup beer
4 cups half and half or whole milk at room temperature
Put the flour in a large bowl and make a large well (Geoff calls it a pit) in the center.
Whisk the eggs well and pour into the well, along with the melted butter and salt. Begin whisking in the center, very slowly and gently, to start incorporating flour from the sides of the well. Slowly add the milk in small amounts along with the beer, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. The beer helps the crepes to be light and fluffy, but pick something with a mild flavor, like High Life (the champagne of beers – sort of French?) so that you can’t taste it. You’ll whisk for 10-15 minutes total, and the batter will be very thin. The batter can be made a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator.
Get a small nonstick pan very hot over high heat and spread a tiny amount of canola oil in the bottom with a paper towel to prevent sticking. You’ll only have to add oil every 5-10 crepes, not every time. Pour 1/4-1/3 cup of crepe batter into the bottom of the pan and swirl so that it reaches the sides and coats in a very thin layer. The edges of the crepes will be lacy. If your first crepe is too thick because your pan is smaller, just use a little less batter on the next pour.
Cook over a medium-high flame until the edges of the crepe look browned and feel crispy, 1 to 1-1/2 minutes. Run a spatuala underneath the crepe to make sure it doesn’t stick, and flip the crepe to cook on the other side. Afraid of flipping like we do in the video? No problem – you can also use the spatula to turn it like a pancake. Contine cooking until the crepe is set, 1-1/2 additional minutes. Remove from the pan and continue making crepes like a French boss.
This recipe makes a huge stack of crepes – great for a party, or for a crepe cake! If you don’t want to make them all at once, store the extra batter in the fridge for 1-2 days. Whisk it well before using.
I eat almost the exact same thing for breakfast every day of the work week. In the colder months, it’s oatmeal with whatever dried fruit i have in the pantry and a sprinkling of toasted nuts. When the weather warms, I change over to yogurt and granola with fresh fruit, with the occasional change-over from yogurt to kefir, which is…drinkable yogurt. Pretty boring, right? But when I need to get out the door quickly )because I’ve overslept again, and then idled too long in the shower’s warmth, and forgotten that I needed to pack my bag for yoga after work), these breakfast standards are easy and reliable, and I actually really never get sick of eating them.
But on the weekends…I’m a sucker for a good breakfast. In my mind, going out for brunch is the ultimate urban luxury, and I do it as often as possible, but I can’t justify spending $20 for a couple of eggs and a plate of fried potatoes every single Sunday. Even if the eggs are fresh out of the happiest, most organic, free range chicken that ever lived, with yolks the color of sunshine and laughter. It’s just not in my best financial interest to indulge my brunch habit weekly.
So today, I made my own brunch and there wasn’t a fried potato in sight. It cost way less than $20, and I got to eat it sitting on the couch with my favorite guy while watching cartoons for grown ups. It was luxurious in its own way.
Tomorrow, I’m back on oatmeal.
Baked Eggs with Bacon, Squash, and Kale Hash
2 strips bacon, finely diced
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1 large onion, diced
2 cups torn kale leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons fresh minced sage
salt and pepper
6 large eggs
1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until it is crispy. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Reserve 1 tablespoon of bacon grease and discard the rest.
Toss the squash, onion, and kale with the garlic, olive oil, 1 tablespoon of bacon grease, thyme, sage, and a generous amount of salt and pepper until everything is well coated. Divide onto 2 parchment-lined baking sheets and roast, rotating the pans and stirring the vegetables after 15 minutes. Continue roasting until the squash is fork-tender, 10 to 15 minutes longer.
Spray an 7 x 11 baking pan with cooking spray. Transfer the vegetables into the pan and stir in the cooked bacon bits. Press down on the vegetables so they form an even layer. Crack each egg into a small ramekin and pour slowly it over the vegetables so that the yolk doesn’t break. Repeat with the rest of the eggs, cracking and pouring each egg over the hash, one at a time. Sprinkle the eggs with additional salt and pepper and parmesan cheese. Return to the oven and bake until the whites of the eggs are set, but the yolks are still loose, between 12-15 minutes. Sprinkle with additional cheese.
Makes 3-4 servings, depending on how hung over you are from Saturday night.
I’ve had a bag of Hidden Acre Farm’s Southern Snow Biscuit Mix in my pantry for a few months. It was a gift from a test kitchen freelancer whom I’ve worked with a lot. (Whom? Who? Who cares…there are biscuits on the table.) The possibility of a productive Sunday fizzled hours ago, and I’ve wanted to eat nothing but breakfast foods all day long, making it a perfect opportunity to test this stuff.
I don’t purchase many baking mixes. I make most of my baked goods from scratch. It helps me justify the $40K I spent on pastry school, you know? But this one came to me from a food pro whose family owns a pecan farm in South Carolina, where Hidden Acre Farm is located. Plus, I give this woman a paycheck once in a while. She wasn’t going to give me bad biscuit mix.
There are only four ingredients listed on the packaging: winter wheat flour, calcium phosphate (an acid that is a part of baking powder), baking soda, and salt. Winter wheat flour is soft and has a lower protein content than regular all-purpose flour, making it ideal for tender, light biscuits.
Lots of southerners swear by White Lily Cake Flour for making biscuits. It is also made from winter wheat flour, like the Hidden Acre Farm mix. Southerners hoard White Lily though. It’s not sold nationwide, so we Yanks just don’t get it. I’d love to do some test kitchen experiments, using it to make biscuits alongside this Hidden Acre Farms mix to see which flour reigns supreme.
It’s pretty hard to believe that White Lily, or any other flour or recipe, could top this Hidden Acre Farms mix. They came together in mere seconds, with just the addition of heavy cream. I brushed mine with a splash of melted butter before baking because I’m a sucker for a crunchy top that gives way to a soft, delicate inside. These are everything a homemade biscuit should be – tall, golden and irregular outside, and downy inside. They’re perfect in their simplicity.
My Google research isn’t finding Hidden Acre Farms mixes for purchase online, but maybe if we all like their Facebook page, and ask really nicely, that will change. If you’re near Rock Hills, South Carolina, consider yourself lucky. You can get your hands on this mix at Moments In Time and The Peach Stand. Stock up. Send me a few. If you really want to make my day, throw in a bag of White Lily. Biscuits, for all my friends!