Afternoon Tea Scones

Warm scones - the best and most homely tea time treat!

Warm scones – the best and most homely tea time treat!

Has anyone been watching Mary Berry’s new cooking programme, Mary Berry Cooks? The episodes are quite short and sweet, with a different occasion to cook for every time and the recipes are quite simple and family-orientated. The afternoon tea episode instilled an instant craving in me for a lovely fluffy scone, so I whipped some up that very afternoon, and had afternoon tea on my own (in the afternoon, in case you didn’t get that) just to fulfill that craving.

Ingredients ready to go.

Ingredients ready to go.

I prefer my scones with sultanas in, but of course you can leave them out – in fact Mary’s recipe is for plain scones – and I think they probably rise a little better without the fruit weighing the dough down. That’s not to say these aren’t light; they are, and so delicious still warm out the oven with a bit of butter and strawberry jam. IN the episode Mary makes her own jam to go with the scones; feel free to do that if you have a lot of time and strawberries on your hands!

Ingredients

  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1 heaped tsp baking powder
  • 40g softened butter
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • about 100ml milk

Step 1. Pre-heat your oven to 220C/Gas Mark 7. Sift the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.

Step 2. Break an egg into a measuring jug, beat together and make it up to 100ml with milk. Set aside a tablespoon of the milk and egg mixture to glaze the scones later.

Step 3. Gradually add the liquid to the dry ingredients, stirring until you have a soft, slightly sticky dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and pat out to a thick round (I think mine were a couple of cm deep). Cut rounds out of the dough, being careful not to twist the cutter or the scones won’t rise evenly. Keep gently pressing the trimmings together and cutting out rounds until the dough is used up.

Step 4. Pop the scones on a non-stick or greased baking tray, brush the tops lightly with the egg and milk glaze and bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes until light golden on top and well risen. TIP: when glazing the scones, don’t let the liquid drip down the sides of the scone – it stops them rising as well.

Step 5. Cool on a wire rack then serve with jam, butter, cream and a lazy sunny afternoon!

Mmmmm.

Mmmmm.

 

**Notes**

This is such a simple recipe, I don’t really have any notes! Ooh, except if you want to add glace cherries or sultanas, I put in about 100g I think (a couple of small handfuls) and make sure you wash the syrup off glace cherries and pat them dry before including in a mixture so they don’t all sink to the bottom. Catch ya later alligator x

Source: Mary Berry Cooks…Afternoon Tea (written recipe on BBC Food, ‘Mary’s tea time scones’)

Banana Chip and Chocolate Chunk Cookies

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Firstly, let me apologize for the radio silence – its been almost a week since my last post! – for which I can only excuse myself by saying I’ve been very busy… I have an ominous feeling that this summer just gone will have been the last lengthy period of absolute nothingness I’ll have been able to indulge in for a very long time. Probably until retirement.

I do enjoy having lots to do, generally; I’m really getting into most of the material for my course at the moment, the aforementioned musical I’m a part of this semester is going fantastically, and paying for a monthly gym membership means I’m hoiking myself out of bed for two or three fitness classes a week and some occasional swimming sessions. N.B: everyone should go to Zumba, I went today for the first time in yonks and had a ball!! So far, so active, healthy and productive. But… here’s the rub. I find that having to squeeze baking into the melee of everyday uni life, rather than wafting around in the holidays taking hours over a simple batch of biscuits (or attempting lemon meringue three times over just because I can) , reduces the quality of my bakes. I’m a firm believer that, unless you train yourself to work in such an environment, like they must have to on Bake Off I suppose, stress has a big impact on how your food turns out. Unless I have lots and lots of time without a certain cut-off point, I find it hard to switch off whilst I’m baking, and not let opticians appointment times, Childe Harold’s pilgrimage, and career prospects invade my headspace. I don’t doubt that this is the case for almost all the other food bloggers I follow, bakers, chefs and fellow students around the world, but that knowledge doesn’t mean getting the balance right is any easier, unfortunately.

However, I do have a recipe for you, finally. I have pinched it ever so cheekily from a really interesting food blog I like to follow (with really lovely photography too) called ‘Pastry Affair’, by Kristin Rosenau. I did read the copyright rules on Kristin’s site, and I think, I hope, it doesn’t count as infringement if I direct my readers to her site, which is what I’m going to do for the recipe. My cookies fell sadly short of the ones pictured there – I place the blame wholly with the Lurpak I had to use for making them spread ridiculously and consequently become far too thin and crispy. Still, the taste was there, and I liked my small change of dark chocolate chunks instead of chips, because I think biting into a chunk of chocolate in a cookie can be one of life’s greatest pleasure’s if you’re really in need of some comfort. So without further ado, here is the link to Kristin’s recipe – if you ever read this humble article Kristin, I’m indebted to you and also sad that I couldn’t do these cookies proper justice due to the absence of any butter/butter-like substance in my fridge excepting Lurpak, which I can affirm does not do cookies any favours texture-wise; the spread is far too soft and melts really quickly. Now, without any ado, the link:

http://www.pastryaffair.com/blog/chocolate-banana-chip-cookies.html

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Source: ‘Chocolate Banana Chip Cookies’, Pastry Affair by Kristin Rosenau. Do check out her blog, its lovely and well-written and much more established and exciting than mine. 

   

Fruit ‘n’ Oat Cookies

So, I had some fruit to use up this weekend – a banana and some Gala apples which I’m not particularly fond of to eat raw – and was determined to stay away from my go-to using up fruit recipe; banana cake. So I made banana cookies! With apple. And oats. And cinnamon, and nutmeg…all of these ingredients sounded a promising combination to me, so I was hoping when I put them together in dough form they would come out as little baked rounds of gooey, sweet but slightly spiced deliciousness. And I’m pleased to report that they pretty much did. They have quite a soft crumb (may add slightly more flour next time) and spread quite a bit on the trays, but I was really pleased with the texture – the banana kind of melts and goes gooey but not runny, whereas the apple holds its shape and has a bit of resistance still when you bite into it. The oats add a nice healthy chewiness too, and if you wanted to counteract that completely I think sprinkling granulated brown sugar on top of these before they’re baked would be fantastic.

It felt like the first time I’d baked in ages when I made these last night; I think its because I’m so busy again and the days are so full I forget what I’ve done and when. It was good to get round to making these, and to experiment a bit and have that anticipation when they’re in the oven and cooling when there is a possibility that they might actually taste like the worst thing you’ve ever made. Its nice when that doesn’t happen 🙂 Think I will definitely be making these again, leftover fruit recipes have a new addition to their collection!

Ingredients

  • 125g butter
  • 100g soft light brown sugar
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 banana
  • 1 apple
  • good pinch of cinnamon 
  • 1/4 (approx, or to taste) grated nutmeg bulb (is that what you call them? bulbs? feel free to comment and correct me if not!)

 

Step 1: Cream the butter with both types of sugar. Gradually add the beaten egg, plus the vanilla extract, and mix well. 

Step 2: Sift in the flour and cinnamon, add the salt and grate in the nutmeg. Mix to form a softish dough, scraping all the flour from the bottom of the bowl and incorporating. Now chop up your banana and apple into small cubes – you want bitesize chunks so they’re easy and enjoyable to eat – and fold carefully into the cookie dough. Use a metal spoon and go slowly, trying not to mash up the banana which is easy to do as you’re using fruit slightly past its best so softer than normal.

Step 3: Dollop onto a lined or greased baking tray in tablespoon-sized blobs, spaced well apart to allow room for them to spread, and bake for around 15 minutes at 180C/Gas Mark 4.

Step 4: Important!!! Let the cookies cool on the trays before you move them to a wire cooling rack, otherwise they will fall apart. Cool completely – or eat warm if you fancy it – and store in an airtight tin. Very satisfying and not so rich as a big double chocolate cookie that I’m so fond of. Means you can eat more of these! Enjoy 🙂

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Source: BBC Good Food, ‘Millie’s Cookies recipe’ (I’ve never had a Millie’s cookie so can’t say whether they do resemble them or not, but anyway I tweaked the recipe a bit and they’ve got fruit in and stuff so they’re better 😉 ).  

Littlest (but not so little) Brother’s Peanut Butter Cookies

Let me keep this one short and sweet, just like my youngest brother. He has a fetish for anything peanut-butter related, and actually said to me whilst we were out at the mini-golf yesterday, before I told them about the surprise: ‘Remember those cookies with peanut butter you made for me for my birthday? They were so nice!’ Which was lovely and a good omen for these ones – I heard that they went down well and that my brother wanted to know how they were different from the birthday lot and what ingredients I’d put in. I may have another follower and fellow baking enthusiast soon!

  • 90g crunchy peanut butter (do NOT get the horribly sugary smooth stuff, at least for this recipe. Yes, peanut butter snobbery does have its place)
  • 50g butter
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 45g light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 100g plain flour
  • 10g baking powder (seems like a lot but they won’t rise too much, honest)
  • 1 tsp approx of grated orange zest (optional – I didn’t add this in)

 

Step 1: Cream the peanut butter, sugars and butter together until well combined.

Step 2: Add the egg and beat in well.

Step 3: Sift in the flour and baking powder, and add orange zest is using. Mix til you get a typical cookie dough texture.

Step 4: Using a tablespoon, divide the mixture into even-sized balls on a baking tray lined with baking paper (you can grease it but I always find that cookies especially rarely come off trays as well as they do off paper). Space them quite well apart as they do spread outwards when baking. I got 10 normal sized cookies out of this mixture, Paul Hollywood must like tiny ones as this is his recipe and it says ‘makes 20’!

Step 5: Bake for 25 minutes until set – they will obviously be soft straight out of the oven so do’t leave them in too long. They catch easily around the edges (this is my recurring mistake with cookies) so trust that they will firm up as they cool. Leave them on the trays until cold, then store in an airtight box or tin.

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Source: Good Food Channel, ‘Peanut butter cookies’ by Paul Hollywood. Thanks to my peanut butter-loving youngest brother for being so enthusiastic about my baking 🙂

N.B. Paul’s original recipe calls for 45g of smooth peanut butter and 50g chopped unsalted peanuts, but I can’t really see the point of this to be honest, unless you get a less wet dough by using less peanut butter perhaps. I liked it this way anyway, and its less faff and doesn’t encourage the evil of buying smooth peanut butter. As with the flapjack consistency though, its whatever floats your boat.