Berry? Chocolate? Crazy! Scones

breakfast? dessert? both!Every once in a while I get really excited about eating a scone, but when I bite into a hard, crumbly, bland, dry thing, I am greatly disappointed. I know that scones are ”supposed to be dry” and are “meant for dunking in tea or coffee,” but I am not a big fan of that kind of pastry. I like my scones to be soft and moist, rich and flavorful… more like a biscuit. Perhaps the truth is that I don’t really like authentic scones. Whatever the case, this recipe creates a pastry just how I like it!

I was planning on making all fruit scones, but I realized at the last minute that I didn’t have enough berries. So, I improvised and made some with chocolate chips. I was pleasantly surprised by how good the chocolate ones were, and even more surprised by how good the experimental chocolate-blueberry-raspberry ones turned out! Makes me think there are  a lot of interesting and delicious possibilities to be tried out…

I got this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen and it makes 8 large scones. (more…)

Chilean Sopaipillas Pasadas

My family recently adventured to Chile for a short vacation where they enjoyed eating delicious food at every opportunity. Unfortunately, I was unable to join them as I had just recently moved and everything was just a little chaotic. But, I was able to join in the fun of creating a Chilean dinner for Christmas this year!

My mom and sister prepared the bulk of the meal- since they have actually experienced the food and I had not, they felt I was less qualified to prepare the main dishes. So, I got pushed to dessert, which is fine by me! I’d choose dessert any day!

That being said, I actually had a difficult time finding a Chilean dessert recipe that sounded remotely interesting or good. There were also many variations of recipes with the same name which made it hard to choose. I finally narrowed it down and combined recipes from and for Sopaipillas, a fried dough made from squash and served with a dark syrup called Chanaca. I added powdered sugar on top for presentation.

I couldn’t help but think of breakfast food when I took my first bite… I think it was the syrup and slightly sweet and thin pastry that reminded me of a cross between a donut and a crepe and a pancake. Nevertheless, it was quite tasty- even the overstuffed family, recently returned from Chile, approved.

This recipe makes about 8 small servings. They are quite rich, so I prepared them pretty small, but I’ve seen pictures of them larger. Also, I chose to cut the dough in squares with a pizza wheel instead of cutting circles (the traditional way) because it is recommended to not patch or re-roll the dough and I didn’t want to be wasteful! (more…)

Old Fashioned Cream Horns

What on earth is a cream horn? After months of John begging for me to make cream horns, I still wasn’t quite sure what he was talking about. I figured out that it was a pastry filled with cream. But I was imagining an eclair or cream puff. What I learned, after extensive internet research, is that a cream horn is made with a puff pastry exterior and filled with any number of creamy pastry fillings- pastry cream, custard, sweetened whipped cream, or butter cream. They can be topped with fruit, chocolate sprinkles, or sugar crystals. I also discovered that they are sometimes called lady locks or clothespin cookies. I did not find an accurate history of the cream horn, but I got the impression that they have been around for a while.

In making my first cream horns, I discovered that they are simple to prepare, but take long time. They are best made when you have a whole day at home and lots of other things to do! They also are best eaten the same day they are made. You can, however, freeze the dough after cutting and wrapping it around the molds. The baking and filling part takes relatively little time compared to the dough preparation.

You can purchase metal molds for the horns to hold their shape while baking. I got mine at the cooking store for $3. This recipe makes 6-8 cream horns depending on how thinly you roll the dough and how sparsely you wrap the cones. I pieced together this recipe from various sources- including The French Pastry Chef, Gale Gand, and Scandicrafts.

These pastries are so light and  crispy and creamy and delicious! They disappear quickly… and John is already begging for more! (more…)