Monday, March 14, 2016

Orange & Bittersweet Chocolate Scones

I was clearly on a baking kick today.  I stayed pretty close to the original recipe I was referencing on this one.  Recipe adapted from Take A Megabite.

Orange & Bittersweet Chocolate Scones
(makes 8 scones)

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine
  • 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • zest of 1 orange
... and rub together with fingers to release the oils and fragrant the sugar.

Into this, Sift together
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Using pastry blender or fingers, cut in
  • 6 Tbsp butter, cold (each tbsp cut into quarters)
... until all butter pieces are quite small and mixture looks crumbly.

In a smaller bowl, combine and beat lightly with a fork
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp  buttermilk
Add wet ingredients to dry, and stir until a soft dough.

Fold in
  • 1/2 cup ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate morsels, chopped 
Turn onto lightly floured board and knead no more than 15 times, just to combine evenly.
Shape into 1" thick round and pat flat
Use large knife and cut into triangle wedges like cutting a cake or pie.
Place each wedge separately on prepared baking sheet, and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until scones are set to the touch and tops are lightly golden. 


Irish Soda Bread w/ Raisins & Chocolate

This morning, local Lancaster blogger, Phoebe, of Phoebe's Pure Food, posted a link on her facebook page about Irish Soda Bread, and while I baked my Chocolate Cake, I couldn't get it out of my head and decided to mix it up while I was waiting on the cake anyway.

I didn't have all of the ingredients called for and went with some of the variations Phoebe very cleverly adds into her recipes (love that!).  My recipe really didn't come out as a traditional Irish Soda Bread, but it did come out delicious (and much larger than I anticipated, since it took up almost my whole baking stone!  Definitely worth saving this recipe, and I look forward to trying more variations next time.

Irish Soda Bread w/ Raisins & Chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Flour baking stone or line pan with parchment.

In a large mixing bowl, combine
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 cups raisins
  • 1 cup ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips
In a smaller mixing bowl, whisk till smooth
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
Pour wet ingredients into dry and combine with wooden spoon and/or hands.  Dough will be sticky.
Pour dough onto baking stone and form into round shape, patting to relatively even thickness.

Sprinkle with
  • 1/2 tbsp flour
...and slice an X into the top.

Bake until golden, aprox 1 hr 10 minutes.


**NOTE: This made one very large loaf, just shy of the diameter of my pizza stone!  In the future, shaping into two loafs will be much easier to handle, slice & save for later.  As it was, to put this in containers away, I had to cut it into quarters! 

Chocolate Layer Cake w/ Peanut Butter Icing

Two years ago, for Christmas, I had just recently started my business, Sophie Stargazer Boutique.  I didn't have much money for gifts, so just like when I was in college, I turned to baking.

My stepdad had recently been purchasing store-bought baked goods, finding them not good enough or too sweet and being disappointed... but still repeating this process.  Enough was enough, and I thought of the perfect gift for the man I always have difficulty buying for anyway.   I printed out 12 1/2-pages, each one listing a type of cake or pie, including several that I know are his favorites.  His gift was that each month, he could pick from one of those, and I would make it for him - one every month for the entire year.

Well, January I was busy, February fell further behind... and then it just became a joke.  So now, 15 months later, I've finally gotten to making January's cake!  Chocolate Cake, with a special request of peanut butter icing.  And man... it did not disappoint!  My recipe is adapted from The Beachouse Kitchen, and you can find that version at the link HERE.

Chocolate Layer Cake w/ Creamy Peanut Butter Icing
Pre-heat oven to 350.  Line two 8" round cake pans with parchment paper or non-stick baking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup baking cocoa  (unsweetened)
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 tbsp dried buttermilk
In a medium bowl, whisk together
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs (room temperature)
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  Then slowly add:
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot coffee (I used instant)
 ...and mix gently until incorporated. Pour the batter evenly into two pans.
Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let ccakes cool in pans for 30 minutes, then invert onto racks to cool.(I used springform pans and did not invert.)


In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle or single beater, beat at medium speed until smooth
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature, sliced into tabs
  • 1 cup natural creamy peanut butter
Turn mixer to low, and slowly add in
  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
 ... mixing for about 1 minute.  Then add
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp whole milk
...and continue to beat until relatively fluffy, about 4 minutes.

Set one cake layer on a serving plate and evenly spread half of the icing over the cake, spreading to but not covering the outer edge.  Top with the second layer of the cake, rounded side up, and top with the remaining icing over top but not covering the outer edge.  Smooth as evenly and neatly as possible.

Top with
  • aprox 1/4 cup Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate morsels, roughly shopped
Refrigerate at least 1 hour prior to serving.