Suzi's Blog

Creme Fraiche Scones from Sweet by Valerie Gordon

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I recently blogged Sweet by Valerie Gordon, describing the book as a “goldilocks” gift. That ideal baking book that is not too simple, not too complex, but is just right. Just right for you to succeed and create wonderful baked goods [and candy, too!].

Before we blog a book, Suzen and I do more than just read. We test. And we don’t test the most complicated recipe. We pick something interesting and basic, something like a scone. Because of a book can’t give you a good scone, that great cake on page 75 just might not work out. We want to know that the recipes are true, tested, and geared for the home cook.

So, on a Sunday morning, I prepared coffee and in just about the same time Suzen threw together this lovely, lively scone recipe. It bakes beautifully as the picture shows. It tastes of delightful tartness: crème fraiche and lemon juice and lemon zest all are present to give your Sunday morning a bolting start. These rich scones do not need butter and they surely do not need jam or honey. They are completely self-sufficient.

If you love scones, then here is one with grand taste.

And, with this success, you can proceed with confidence. The recipes in Sweet are well written, well tested, and certainly well enjoyed.

Crème Fraiche Scone

Yield: 12 scones

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup (2.33 ounces) sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons (2.5 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into cubes and chilled
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) crème fraiche
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

 

Preparation:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Line a 13-by-l8-by-1-inch baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter until the butter is in pea-sized pieces, about 4 minutes.

Whisk together the crème fraiche, 1 egg, the lemon zest, and juice in a small bowl, then fold into the flour mixture until just combined; do no over mix—you want to see bits of butter in the dough.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured cool work surface. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough very gently until it is ¾ inch thick; be careful not to overwork the dough. Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut out scones and place them 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Gather the dough scraps together, reroll, and cut out more scones.

Whisk the remaining egg in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the tops of the scones with the egg. Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until the scones are lightly golden. Transfer the scones to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Source: Sweet by Valerie Gordon

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60MM Macro Lens, F/5.6, 1/20th second, ISO-2500

 

Sour Cream Cookies and Frosting

 

Web-2014_02_02_1966Sour cream and chocolate are intimately compatible. The overlay of flavors in your mouth is rewardingly confusing.

Here are two recipes from Mable Hoffman’s Chocolate Cookery, a paperback gem from 1978. The cookie is puffy, but not soft. It bakes to the point of being firm, and the nuts inside provide a crunch. There is some chocolate here, but not the ounces and ounces you see in many recipes. It’s just chocolate. NOT CHOCOLATE!

The subtle cookie is given sparkle with a sour cream chocolate frosting that has more direct sour cream tang. Now, with the frosting, the cookies begin to approach decadence.

If you prefer your caffeine without frosting or through coffee, the unfrosted cookies are beautiful to behold and just fine on your tongue.

Sour Cream Cookies

Yield: 40-48 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • ⅔ cup butter [that 150 grams]
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 ¾ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup chopped nuts

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Melt the chocolate and set aside. Allow to cool to tepid so that it is not “hot” to your finger before using.

Line two half-sheet cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, cream the butter. Gradually beat in the sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Cream well. Add the vanilla and cream for another minute. Add the egg and beat until fluffy.

Stir in the melted chocolate, then sour cream.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Then add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture. Stir in the nuts. Do not over stir.

Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake for about 8 minutes, until just firm to the touch. Cool slightly before placing on wire racks.

Sour Cream Frosting

Yield: enough for this batch of cookies or one 2-layer 8- or 9-inch cake

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces of semisweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup dairy sour cram
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 ¼ cups sifted powdered sugar

Preparation:

In a medium saucepan, melt the chocolate pieces and butter. Cool several minutes. Stir in the sour cream, vanilla and powdered sugar. Beat until smooth. Spread immediately, because it will “firm up” over time. Once firm, the cookies can be stacked on each other for storage.

Preheat Source: Chocolate Cookery by Mable Hoffman

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 18-55MM Macro lens shot at F/2.8 1/60th second, ISO 3200