SUMMARY – somewhere between a danish and croissant. Not too sweet. Layers of butter. Completely awesome still warm. Still better than anything from the store the next day.

I can’t believe this is the last Alpha Baker recipe! Of course Marie saved the cover recipe for last. She probably thought no one would continue baking if we made the kouigns first.

Looking over the baking projects, the one recipe that I constantly make is the Irish Cream Scones.

I’ve made scones for family, friends, neighbors, visitors, co-workers and the gals at the corner store. My students made versions of them in both of my baking classes this past fall.

A maple walnut version of them (using maple syrup, walnuts instead of raisins, adding some cinnamon) won me two fair blue ribbons and a second place prize from a maple festival.

My other go-to recipe (chocolate peanut butter cupcakes) is from a different cookbook author who I won’t mention (but she is addicted to baking and candy ;). Party coming up? Cupcakes are requested. The same cupcakes also netted me two fair blue ribbons.

 

This recipe might be the scone and cupcake equivalent.

 

First, butter. A half-pound of butter. I cheated and used a brick of Kerrygold so I wouldn’t have to mess around with squishing butter together. Totally worth it!

Second, the dough is a joy to work with. It’s soft and rolls nicely. Unlike pie crust.

Third, they lasted less than 24 hours.

Forth, I was asked if I was making them again this weekend.

Last, they are just plain over the top amazing.

I have made croissants from scratch. Kouigns are even better. Its the sugar layer. Just enough sweet to carmelize without creating too much sticky.

Now I want to play around with the recipe, and see if I can incorporate a layer of something else in the second turn. Like chocolate. Or almonds. Or hazelnut.

Before I try that, I have another dilemma.

Do I make these for Christmas breakfast at the parents house? And then discover that scones are no longer good enough?

Or do I make them just for my house? Since we have no problem polishing off a batch.

I only wish all my problems were like this.

I hope everyone had as good a time baking through the Baking Bible as I did. Marie and Rose – I can’t wait to bake with you again!

Rugelach

SUMMARY – crunchy, sweet, buttery, nutty, sticky. Spirals of goodness that call out for a doubled recipe.

adding-butter

One of the great things about growing up in and still living in update NY is a unique level of ethnic diversity. By diversity, I mean, I was surrounded by (mostly European) immigrants. In my family and neighborhood, and within my circle of friends, there were Poles, Italians, Quebecois, Ukrainians, Greeks, Scots, French, Irish, English, East Asians, Chinese. Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists. First, second, third generation immigrants.

adding-vanilla

A lot of this diversity came out in food. I know exactly what rugelach are, even though my family never made them.

finished-dough

In comparison, my roommate Bill is from Missouri, with a short layover in San Diego (from his dad’s Navy deployment). By his own admission, he knows Mexican food and Kansas City BBQ. He does not know what a rugelach is.

different-fillings

He knows what they are now, though! 😉

rolled-dough

These reminded me a little of the Cookie Strudel we made a few months back. Make a simple dough and top with fruit, nuts and a sticky filling. Roll it up.

dough-portioned

I made the dough in the food processor. A quick observation – don’t use frozen butter. Let it soften up a bit first.

portioned-cookie-dough

I made two different batches of these. One was apricot, raisin (currants are technically Zante raisins) and walnut sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. The other was mini chocolate chips, almonds and strawberry jam sprinkled with turbinado sugar.

topped-cookie

I portioned the apricot batch out as a 12-cut. But I had some cuts that were bigger than others. Don’t you hate it when your pizza has skinny and fat pieces?

into-the-fridge

To make it easier, I portioned the strawberry batch out as a 16-cut. They were smaller, but the sizes were more consistent.

into-the-oven

I rolled them up, put them in the fridge, brushed them with milk, and coated them with either the cinnamon sugar or turbinado sugar. Put them on the foil and into the oven.

baked-rugelach

And … I had the same problem that Marie had. Sticky jelly on foil = super glue. This was similar to the problem with the birch twigs on a Silplat.

foil-aftermath

I did manage to get most of the cookies off the foil. I had a lot of bakers treats from them, that’s for sure.

cooling-rack

Even with that problem I would make these again. I brought some into work and they went over big!

rugelach-closeupjpg

I would try the Silplat. No egg white!

scones-header

SUMMARY: Cream cheese, butter and cream make these scones rich, yet light and airy. These are better than $5.00 scones from your local chain coffee shop.

I actually invented cream cheese scones three years ago.

fair-ribbons-2013Well, no, I didn’t actually invent them. I tweaked the Currant Scone recipe from The Pie and Pastry Bible, substituting half the butter for a little bit more cream cheese.

I wanted to make scones with similar ingredients to the Bacon Scallion Cream Cheese dip I make – affectionately known in my house as Heart Attack dip. Then I remembered Rose’s cream cheese pie crust recipe. I thought, if this works for pie crust, it will work for these scones. And it did! I even won a second place ribbon from my Heart Attack scones, which are also my sister’s favorite scones. She is like a begging dog if I even hint I might make them.

So scones have a pretty high hurdle to get over to be better than my modified P&PB recipe.

Of course, Rose surpasses herself with this new scone recipe. They are way easier than the other recipe with the layering of the dough, rolling it out, measuring it, cutting it, recycling the scraps, etc.

The easier recipe put them as equivalent. I think they taste just the tiniest bit better and have a better crumb, which clinches these for me as the better scone.

The night before I made these, I put a bowl and the beater in the freezer to chill for the whipped cream. I never would have thought of using whipped cream. Genius. But that’s why Rose writes cookbooks and I buy them 😉

whipped-creamI whipped the cream first before anything, so that could sit in the fridge.

scones-dry-ingredients-lemon-zestThen I got the dry ingredients together. Since I use King Arthur flour pretty much exclusively, I used half bread and half all-purpose. I also zested the lemon right into the bowl. I may have used more than a tablespoon of zest. But it smelled soooo good and I really didn’t want to wash another bowl or have a half-zested lemon kicking around.

cream-cheese-addedI got out the old pastry blender, which I am more likely to use to make guacamole or egg salad these days, and worked in the cream cheese. Yes I use a food processor for pie crust. But these scones needed a hands-on approach. And I didn’t want to make even more dirty dishes for my human dishwashers.

soaked-dried-berriesI took a look at the dried mixed berries I bought and was not particularly impressed by their dryness. No one enjoys biting into a dessicated bit of fruit in their scone now do they? So I soaked them in some hot water to plump them up a bit. They looked a bit better after their bath, although the color got duller. And they got a little less sweet. I love how they add more sugar to some dried fruit. I get it with cranberries but with strawberries and cherries?

dough-with-fruitI started out with the pastry blender when I added the butter. But when the blades started bending I put it aside and just used my mitts. It worked a lot better, and I felt like a kid again playing with some Play-doh or messing with homemade flour dough. I mixed in the fruit and it was smelling pretty good already.

added-creamI made the well and spooned in the whipped cream. I’m gonna say it again, whipping the cream is genius! I use yogurt in scones because I like a thicker texture than plain cream, plus you get some tang. I always use yogurt in the Heart Attack scones for the texture and extra tang. But cream would be easier to get believe it or not.

scone-dough-diskThe dough came together really nicely and I kneaded it a bit on the counter. I was seriously getting my mind into some scones now! Wrapped up the disk and put it in the fridge.

At this point in the scone process, I went down to the farmer’s market and got some things. And I got a cookie to hold me til I got home and finished the scones.

scones-sugar-toppedWhen I got home, I put everything away, turned on the oven and got the scone dough out of the fridge. I cut them up and put them on the baking sheet with parchment. Since I love some crunch and sparkle on scones, I egg washed them and sprinkled them with demerara sugar before putting them in the oven.

I pulled them out and they looked and smelled so good! The had risen up so nice. My roommate asked what kind of scones they were. When I told her they were dried fruit she was somewhat disappointed, since she likes the other scones better.

finished-sconesBut after letting them cool in a cloth, I offered them up to everyone who was at home. Seriously, three of us ate six of them in like four minutes. They were that good. No butter, just scones in a napkin.

My two roommates were like “OMG these are best scones! Can we eat them all now?”

No! Not everyone was home and my other roommate (yes I live with three other people) was at work. He ate them th next day and said they were very good, but probably would have been better warm. Yeah!

The consensus? Make a double batch the next time! And there will be a next time, oh yes.

 

plated-scone

 

This post is part of the Alpha Bakers bake along. It’s an online project where a group of food bloggers bake our way through The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum.

Most of the recipes made during this project will not be shared. If you see something amazing and want to know about the recipe please let me know. You might want to get the book for yourself, or at least check it out from your local library before deciding.