Friday, February 27, 2015

Scone Obsession

I know, SCONES, SCONES, SCONES! Lately, I've made more scones than anything else. Just this week I sent a batch out to my good friend Chris in Colorado who loves them just because, and another batch to one of my true BFFs, Sue. Sue, with her husband Pete, returned home to Michigan to be with her family and to say fare-well to her Dad Ken who passed away - the loss of an amazing and accomplished Veteran from the Tenth Army Division.

Other people send flowers or make donations - I bake. It's what I do...

My scones aren't true scones in the Irish or British sense. Mine are more like a scone-Danish hybrid. I make many, many layers of butter-studded dough, like a Danish. You can see the process here in a series of photos from a previous blog post, and of course, the finished product photo below:

Lemon swirl scones are a favorite! 

There's something so basic, so un-techy about making scones. The only mixing utensils you need are a bowl and a fork!  No high-tech gadgets, no fancy-schmancy mixer or food processor. A bowl and a fork - oh, and a measuring cup and some measuring spoons.

I love to share my scones so much that I am holding a raffle at the end of the month, winner to be announced April 1st. The winner, no matter where you are, will get a dozen of my full-sized scones. That's a $25 value! 

Here are some photos I took this morning of scones-in-the-making. I made strawberry swirl, brown sugar cinnamon raisin swirl, and maple walnut swirl (with maple syrup from Nightengale Farm in nearby Galway, NY! Take a look:

These will be brown sugar cinnamon raisin swirl scones!


And maple walnut, with pure, local maple syrup!

Hope you enjoy these little snippets of my scone-making obsession. Let me share a dozen with you - comment below (as anonymous with your name if you have trouble) and it might be YOUR name I announce on April 1st!

All the best,

Jeannie
Your Adirondack Baker



Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hello!

Hello my friends! I have missed you! My cookbook project has been on the back burner, so to speak, with a busier-than-ever job (4 nights this week) and lots going on with grown kids and not-so-grown grandchildren. I am re-envisioning this ambitious project to be an e-cookbook, downloadable and affordable, with photos and text, of all my favorite recipes. So, bear with me as creative inspiration and time come and go! I am excited about it and hope you will be, too!

I don't know what it's like where you are, but here in Middle Grove, NY, USA, this winter has been horrendous with well-below average (well below zero!) temperatures all of February, and I am hoping that March will show us at least a few signs that spring is on its way. I'm headed to sunny F-L-A March 16-20 with my good friend Joanne, and I CAN NOT WAIT to be warm, to feel the sun, to smell the ocean, to do nothing but read and drink and walk on the beach and eat (repeat, repeat, repeat!). It'll be a short-but-sweet escape, and when we get back, spring will be that much closer. Anyway...

Needless to say, I haven't stopped baking. Thought you might like to see some of the more recent concoctions from my kitchen. And maybe an updated photo or two of Henry and Peter! Henry's about to be 7 in April (!) and Pete is 4 going on 12! Here are photos with blurbs.

Thanks so much for reading - I'll be back in the saddle soon, promise! And just to make things interesting, comment on this post (below) and one of you will be winning a dozen scones. I ship, so anyone can enter! I'll announce the winner on April 1st. Like old times! :)



4-layer pastel swirl cake
for soon-to-arrive baby Sophia's shower

And baby feet cookies for baby Sophia!

Martha Stewart's Banana Chocolate Swirl Bread

Pete my kitchen helper!

Ready for the celebration to begin!

Peter, me, and Henry at the
Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College (my workplace!)

For my boys...

My grand boys!

Scones galore! 

For my friend Lisa's wedding in
December - such a lovely bride! 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

It's Cookie Season!

Hi there! I'm dusting off the blog to bring you a few cookie recipes for the holidays! Starting with this one, Soft Sugared Ginger Snaps! My grandson Pete and I made these this morning. I had planned to make them a few days ago but realized that I didn't have molasses. Finally bought some last night on my way home from work. Can't make ginger snaps without molasses! Anyway, for a kid who loves everything chocolate chip, he really loved these cookies. In fact, when he left my part of the house to go home today (I have a granny flat over their garage) he took all the cookies with him! (He's four!)

This recipe makes a cookie that is soft and chewy on the inside, with a sugared outer crust that gives just a bit of crisp resistance. They are perfect and round and beautiful, and the aroma of warm winter spices just makes the entire house feel like Christmas!

(I'm also in the middle of baking a large Christmas wedding cake, so it's a miracle I found time to do this!)

Here you go!

SOFT SUGARED GINGER SNAPS
oven - 375 F, cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
bake 8 minutes
Makes 28-32 cookies

Directions:

Stir together in medium bowl, and set aside:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt

In large mixer bowl, beat the brown sugar and butter together till light and fluffy
1 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup butter at room temperature
Then beat in:
1/4 cup molasses
1 tsp. vanilla

And finally, beat in:
1 egg

When it's all mixed together, place mixing bowl in fridge for about 10-15 minutes.

Roll dough by hand into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls to coat completely in :

bowl of white sugar for coating (a couple of tablespoons)

Place 2-inches apart on parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Slightly flatten with the bottom of a glass (just squish a little, not too much.)

Bake in preheated oven (375 F) for 8 minutes.

Remove from oven. Allow to cool for a few minutes and remove to cooling rack.





Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Real life, crazy busy!

Hi there! Thought you might like to see what I've been up to over the past month. We've had a lot of happy family moments, beginning with the wedding of my nephew Ben and his new wife Megan at the end of September. It was an amazingly beautiful wedding at St. Peter's Church in Saratoga Springs, followed by a joyful reception at The Prime at Saratoga National Golf Course. The weather was perfect. My sister Anne, mother of the groom, was stunning! Ben's three brothers were all there for him. Three of my children were there with me, along with my grandsons Henry and Peter.  It was a wonderful celebration of family, bringing Megan into the fold!

Ben and Megan
photo by Elario Photography Inc. (He took amazing photos!)

We also celebrated, on October 19th, little Pete's 4th birthday. He wanted a Batman-themed cake this year (after years of Thomas and Friends cakes) and he got his wish. I was working very long days and nights the week of Pete's birthday, so I baked his cake the Friday morning before his Sunday birthday, and knowing I had to work all day Saturday for our museum gallery opening, I came home Friday night and frosted and decorated (in home-made fondant) the Batman cake from 11 pm to 5 am! I knew I had to keep going because I'd have NO energy after another long day of work! It came out better than I could ever have hoped, and here's the photo:

Pete's Batman Cake with my
home-made fondant!

Interspersed among these big celebrations are the everyday moments that make me smile. Here are a few photos of such moments:

Henry and Peter taking a stroll up the driveway.

Shower cake for my friend Colleen Barber Hursh.
Her baby is due any day now! Can't wait to find out if it's a boy or a girl!

Trick or treating at Skidmore College's Apartments this past Sunday. Such fun!
Henry & Peter are the Batman brothers! CLICK TO ENLARGE

Hunter Moon a few weeks ago - stopped the car to take this one!

That's all for now. I miss writing the blog and connecting with my readers. Can't wait to get back in the saddle!

So long for now and I'll be back soon!

All the best,

Jeannie

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Checking In and Catching Up!

Hello my friends! It's been a while since I've checked in. Progress is being made on my cookbook project. I have a working title: Adirondack Baker - The Occasional Cookbook. The outline of chapters has been decided and recipes are being chosen. The narrative writing is about to begin, and a letter to potential publishers is next... I'm in that "hurry up and wait" phase, but since this is my first book project ever, even this part is exciting!

Meanwhile -  please don't think I've abandoned the blog - I haven't. The hope is that you will use the blog's five years of archived stories and recipes to tide you over while the cookbook is underway. Meanwhile, I can't resist sharing recent photos (which I will do periodically - so check back!).

Life goes on and my little guys are becoming bigger little guys! Henry is six and a half, is in first grade now, and has lost many of his front teeth! Pete has started his 4-year-old preschool class (he'll be four in October) and tells me many interesting things each day. For example - today we heard something outside and I said, "Hey Pete, what was that?" and he replied "That sound noise is my ears talking. Don't worry, my ears can talk, you know." He fascinates me, this child!

So, here are some photos for you to enjoy, and I'll be back soon, promise!


Sweet Pete!



Onesie cake for Colleen Hursh's soon-to-arrive baby!

For friends Tricia and Jeremy -
wedding cake for a wonderful reception on Lake George!

Had to find something to do with the abundance of peaches
from Katie's tree, right here in our yard!


Boys on a Sunday morning!


Late Summer Boat Ride on Sacandaga Lake!

As summer turns to fall, I'll be back with updates and more pictures (there will always be photos) so please remember to stop back and check.

I miss writing and hearing from you, and I will be back!

All the best,

Jeannie



Monday, July 7, 2014

I made lemon ice cream!

I have been itching to make ice cream, to use the beautiful Cuisinart ice cream maker I bought a couple of years ago with a birthday gift certificate to Williams-Sonoma. I decided to give it its first run of this summer with a recipe for lemon ice cream that I found on epicurious.com, and switched up just a little bit.  It made a beautiful, creamy, and very pucker-worthy lemon ice cream. It's absolutely delicious, and if you love anything or everything lemon like I do, it's a home run!




Here's what I did:

To make the custard, in a medium sauce pan, I whisked together:

1 cup heavy cream (original recipe called for half-and-half)
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (I used a little more)
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

I then heated the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it came to a true simmer, with little bubbles forming and breaking on the outside edge of the pot. I took it off the heat and whisked in:

1 cup whole milk (original recipe called for half-and-half)

Then...

I poured the hot mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a pyrex bowl, pressing the lemon zest with a wooden spoon to get as much flavor into the liquid as possible, and covered the custard with a piece of plastic wrap. I put it in the fridge over night.

This morning, I poured the chilled custard into the ice cream maker's pre-frozen bowl, and turned it on. I set my kitchen timer for 18 minutes, and kept busy doing morning stuff while it churned, like unloading/loading the dishwasher, made my breakfast, decided what to wear to work -- the every day stuff.

When the timer sounded, I was amazed at just how beautiful this ice cream is. It's light in color, creamy, and has a perfect texture.  It is so so so so lemony! I loaded up my new ice cream canister I bought over the weekend at TJ Maxx (Maxx for the minimum!) and placed it in my freezer until I could get home from work for the true test - a bit of the lemon ice cream in a bowl with a spritz of whipped cream. Actually (sadly) this was in place of eating a wonderful, healthy, balanced dinner, but sometimes, it's not just eat dessert first, it's eat dessert as if it IS dinner! That's what happened in my kitchen tonight!

Now I'm thinking of how many variations of ice cream I can come up with. I think my next batch might be "Drumstick" like the ice cream cones you can find in the freezer section of the grocery store. I'd make a basic vanilla ice cream, add some chocolate Magic Shell pieces, broken up sugar cone pieces, and some chopped peanuts! Can't wait to experiment with more flavors!

Light, creamy, and refreshing
on a hot summer night!




Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Baking and Writing, Writing and Baking!

Progress report: I had a great lunch meeting with a good writing friend M.M. (good friend, and good writer!), and we're supporting each other with our writing projects. We set goals and dates to meet again, which is both exciting and inspiring! We'll meet again August 1st to report on our progress and to set new goals. It's great to have support like this as I dig in to my cookbook project!

Meanwhile, the baking continues. This post is short and very, very sweet with four cakes I baked this past weekend, all for special people celebrating special occasions! Photos follow!













Hope you enjoy - no more cakes for a few weeks (she says gratefully!). I LOVE baking cakes for my friends and family, but being so busy with the full-time job and other baking projects, I welcome a short reprieve before the next cake is scheduled for July 12th (right, AP?!). Anyway…all work and no play, you know… :)

PS - please think about sharing YOUR favorite family recipe and, even more, the story behind it for consideration for my cookbook project!  Contact me with your story and recipe at adirondackbaker@gmail.com!