1 Apt. 2B Baking Co.: June 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Honey Oat Scones

If I had to choose, I would say that scones are my favorite jam delivery vehicle. Sure, you could spread it on toast or make it into a sandwich with some peanut butter, but for true jam appreciation, scones win every time. I am partial to simple scones without dried fruit or nuts and these subtly sweet numbers sure fit the bill. I toasted the oats before adding them to the dry ingredients which gave them so much toasty, delicious flavor that I am going to try toasting some oats for my next batch of oatmeal cookies.

Honey Oat Scones
yield, about 8 scones

1 1/2c old fashioned oats
1/4c buttermilk
1/4c heavy cream
1/4c honey
1 egg
1 1/2c flour
2t baking powder
1/4t baking soda
1/2t salt
10T cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

Preheat oven to 375ยบ

1. Evenly spread the oats onto a baking sheet and slide them into the oven to toast until fragrant and light brown (7-9 minutes). After they have cooled, remove 2T to sprinkle on top of the scones. Turn up the oven to 450 degrees.
2. In small bowl or measuring cup, whisk the buttermilk, heavy cream, honey and egg.
3. In a large bowl mix the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using a fork or pastry cutter, cut the cold butter into the mixture until it resembles a coarse meal with a few larger lumps of butter.
4. Make a well in the center of the mixture and pour in the milk mixture, gently stir until a cohesive dough forms, being careful not to over mix.
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and pat 1'' thick. Use a round cutter or bench scraper to cut out your scones. If you have any scraps, gently press them together and cut again.
6. Place the cut scones on a parchment lined baking sheet about 2'' apart, brush the tops with heavy cream, and sprinkle with the reserved oats. Bake the scones until golden (12-14 minutes) and cool slightly before eating.

These are best the day that they are baked, but you can store them at room temperature in an airtight container for a day or two.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Rhubarb Cherry Jam

I know, I know, more rhubarb. More rhubarb! I promise this will be my last barb-centric post of the season, but I will not apologize for being crazy for the stuff. I am slowly trying to ease myself into summer now that it is officially here, but I can't say that I am too excited about it. Summer is not exactly my favorite season in NYC. I will never get used to the humidity that makes everything feel sticky, the sweaty walks to and from the grocery store, and let's not even talk about going to the laundromat. It may get ugly. So, I've been trying to remind myself of all of the great things that the summer brings: farmer's markets, flowers, cold brewed iced coffee, long days where the sun sets at 9, day trips upstate to cool off at a friends cabin, ice pops. To celebrate summer and say a fond farewell to spring I made this jam. It combines my favorite veggie disguised as a fruit and one of the best treats that summer offers, fresh sweet cherries. The inspiration came from the Blue Chair Jam Cookbook which I get lost in every time I crack it open and the best part is, no cherry pitting required. Now excuse me while I go eat an ice pop for breakfast.

Rhubarb Cherry Jam
adapted from the Blue Chair Jam Cookbook
yield, roughly 24oz finished jam
1 1/2 lbs rhubarb, chopped
1 lb sugar
juice of 1 large lemon
peel from one organic granny smith apple
1 lb sweet cherries

1. Put the rhubarb, sugar, and lemon juice into a large, wide, non reactive pot. I use my enameled dutch oven for jamming. Cook over medium heat until the rhubarb begins to soften and releases it's juices. Increase heat and boil the rhubarb gently until it softens, but still holds it's shape a bit.
2. Remove the pan from the heat, and using a slotted spoon, scoop the rhubarb pieces into a bowl leaving their juices behind.
3. Pour the cherries, pits and all, and the apple peel into the reserved rhubarb juice and put the pan over high heat. Cook, stirring frequently until the juices reach a full boil. Turn the heat down a little and boil the cherries until they are soft and shriveled, about 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
4. Place a metal strainer over the bowl full of reserved rhubarb pieces. Using a slotted spoon, fish the cherries and apple peel out of the pan and transfer them to the strainer. Press the cherries very firmly to extract as much juice as possible then discard the left over pits and skins.
5. Add the rhubarb pieces and cherry juice back into the pan and cook over high heat until the jam has thickened, the rhubarb has lost it's shape, and the jam reaches 220 degrees, about 15 minutes. If any white foam appears on the surface of the jam, skim and discard it.
6. Pour the jam into sterilized jars and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

- With the batch that I made, I filled 2 6oz weck jars, 1 8oz wide mouth jar and had a little leftover, which I ate immediately. So Good.
- I included the apple peel with the thought that the pectin would help the jam achieve a firmer set. I'm not sure how much good it did, but I find the jam to be perfectly spreadable.
- I suggest you chop your rhubarb pieces a little smaller than the ones pictured above, the large pieces of rhubarb left the jam a bit stringy. Delicious, but a little stringy.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Olive Oil Gelato with Cocoa Nibs

olive oil gelato with cocoa nibs

I've had this recipe from food52 in my "fun things to make in the summertime" folder since it was posted in April. You should probably put it in your folder too because, you guys, this is the creamiest, silkiest, most perfectly scoopable frozen dessert that my little ice cream machine ever did make. I tossed in a few tablespoons of cocoa nibs during the last minute of churning for a little chocolaty crunch and they were the perfect match for the fruity oil. I imagine it would taste mighty fine with some fat, sweet cherries on top too.

Olive Oil Gelato with Cocoa Nibs
adapted from food52
yield, about 2 cups

3/4c sugar
1/4c plus 2 tablespoons water
3/4c whole milk
Large pinch salt
4 egg yolks
1/4c good, but mild olive oil
2T cocoa nibs

1. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water, milk, and salt. Heat on medium until small bubbles form around the edge of the pan. While the mixture heats on the stove, place the egg yolks in a medium bowl and whisk until frothy.
2. Remove the pan from the heat and while whisking, slowly stream the milk mixture into the egg yolks. Return the mixture to the pan and slowly heat, stirring often, until the mixture reads 185 on an instant read thermometer.
3. Immediately pour the custard into a bowl and cool over a water bath. Refrigerate until completely cool, a few hours or overnight.
4. When you are ready to churn your gelato, remove the custard from the refrigerator and slowly whisk in the olive oil. The mixture will thicken and turn glossy.
5. Churn according to your machine's specifications and just before it is finished, add the cocoa nibs. Freeze until firm.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rhubarb Syrup, Rhubarb Soda, and a Rhubarb Mule

As soon as rhubarb season rolls in I like to have a bottle of this shocking pink syrup on hand for all sorts of delicious cocktails and spritzers. It's dead easy to make and if someone invites you to a dinner party or barbecue this spring you can bring the makings to impress your friends with a refreshing drink instead of a boring six-pack of beer. My favorite way to enjoy it is over ice with a big slice of fresh ginger (surprise, surprise) and a splash of seltzer, but it's also a great addition to crisp white wine or in a moscow mule style cocktail with vodka and some citrus. I know when temps get into the high 90s later this week I will be parked firmly in front of my air conditioner with a pretty pink drink in one hand and a scoop of passionfruit sorbet in the other.

Rhubarb Syrupmakes about 2 cups

1 lb rhubarb, chopped
1c sugar
1c water

1. Simmer the rhubarb, sugar and water in a non reactive saucepan until the rhubarb is soft and a bit mushy, about 15 min.
2. Pour the whole mess into a strainer (lined with cheesecloth if you have it) set over a bowl with a spout or measuring cup, for easy pouring. Let the syrup slowly strain undisturbed then pour into a jar or bottle and store in the fridge.

Make sure to keep the pulp! I like eating it on top of yogurt or you can blend it, call it rhubarb sauce and eat it on its own.

Rhubarb Soda
1 part rhubarb syrup
3 parts seltzer

Stir together and serve over ice, add a sprig of mint or a squeeze of citrus for a little extra punch.

Rhubarb Mulenot the kind you can ride, the kind you can drink

2 oz chilled vodka
2T rhubarb syrup
squeeze of lime or lemon
4-6 oz ginger beer
sliced fresh ginger to garnish

Fill a glass with ice, squeeze a wedge of lemon or lime onto the glass, then add the vodka and rhubarb syrup, top with ginger beer and garnish with a slice of fresh ginger. Prepare to be refreshed all spring long.

I have a sneaking suspicion that this syrup would also be great with something a little bitter, maybe aperol? Try it and let me know!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Passionfruit Sorbet

Have you heard? Our Lady of Mother Nature forgot to bless New York with spring this year and with temps in the 80s (with high humidity) going strong, turning on the oven in our studio apartment is a big time no-no. I have been visiting 101cookbooks almost daily and expanding my no-cook dinner repertoire and sadly, I have not been baking any sweet treats. However, I have been putting my ice cream machine and ice pop molds to work and this is the first of many cooling treats I hope to share with you in the coming weeks. Now, the hardest thing about making this sorbet is finding passionfruit puree, which isn't all that hard if you have a Latin grocery store anywhere near your hood, just look in the freezer section for packages labeled maracuya or parcha and you are ready to go.

Passionfruit Sorbet

1 1/4c sugar
1c water
2 1/2c passionfruit puree (about 1 1/2 14oz packages)
juice of 1/2 a lime
1/2 of a vanilla bean (optional)
1T vodka (see note)

1. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat until all of the sugar is dissolved. If you are using a vanilla bean, scrape the seeds and add to the sugar water mixture with the bean pod, remove the pod after boiling. I used organic cane sugar in my syrup which is why it is slightly yellow in color. Set aside to cool
2. Combine the syrup, passionfruit puree, lime juice and vodka. Chill completely before adding it to your ice cream machine.
3. Freeze according to your machine's specifications, then scrape into a freezer safe container and freeze for a few hours before scooping, about 4 hours.

- I like to store my sorbet in a shallow dish so it is easy to scoop.
- The vodka is included in the recipe to help keep the sorbet scoopable when frozen, if you don't drink alcohol you can easily leave it out, just make sure to let it warm up a bit for easier scooping.
- I found my passionfruit puree at Western Beef in the freezer section for about $2.50 per package or if you are feeling fancy, you can buy a case of passionfruit and make your own puree. I was too hot (and cheap) to feel fancy this time.