Fresh Cranberry Scones

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I really enjoy fresh cranberries, but they’re tough to find outside of the holiday season.  I will often buy a bag or two for the freezer when they’re available.  These scones are a refreshing treat—and especially tasty with a hot cup of tea.

2 ½ c. flour
½ c. sugar
2 t. baking powder
½ t. salt
½ t. ground cloves (or the zest of one lemon)
¼ c. cold butter, grated
1 c. whipping cream
¾ c. fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
2 t. milk
2 T. sugar

Combine first 5 ingredients.

Add butter, mixing until crumbly.

Add whipping cream and cranberries, stirring just until moistened.

Turn dough out onto lightly-floured surface; knead 5 or 6 times—basically until mixture holds together well and can be shaped into 8” circle.

Cut disc into 8 wedges and place on lightly-greased baking sheet.  Prick wedges 3-4 times each with fork.  Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 425 for 18-20 minutes, or until lightly browned.

These are especially good warm.  They freeze well when wrapped tightly.

 

Grandma Milburn’s Peanut Brittle

Peanut brittle is one of my husband’s favorite Christmastime treats, so I make it almost every year.  It’s a little bit of a hassle, but it’s not hard.  This is my grandma’s recipe, but I’ve added some details for those of you who are not used to making candy.

2 c. sugar
1 c. corn syrup
1/2 c. water
1 t. salt
1 T. butter (the real stuff)
1-2 c. raw Spanish peanuts (I usually only use one cup.)
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla

In non-stick stockpot, cook sugar, water, corn syrup, butter and salt, stirring often, to 260 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Add peanuts and cook to 275, stirring often.

Add vanilla and cook to 300, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and add soda.  The mixture will foam up once the soda is added; stir good and fast until well-mixed!  This is easily scorched at this point, so make sure you remove from heat and stir, stir, stir!!

Pour onto parchment paper or buttered cookies sheets (2 or 3 standard cookie sheets will be needed if you go that route.)  Repeatedly spread hot mass with spreader or spatula until it starts to cool and darkens in color.

Allow to harden and break into pieces.  Stores very well in airtight containers.

NOTE:  It’s a good idea to have ingredients already measured so that they can be dumped in at appropriate temperatures while you can continue stirring.

 

Green Tomato Bread

I don’t like green tomatoes.  I’ve tried.  Believe me, I’ve tried.  I’ve tried them friend, in chutneys, in salsas and in relishes.  I just can’t get into them.  I can eat them, but I don’t enjoy them.

Until this.

Thank you to my friend, Charlene, for sharing this tasty recipe.  It’s definite proof that if you add enough sugar to anything, it can be good.

This makes two standard loaves.

3 eggs
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. oil
1 t. salt
1 T. vanilla
2 c. grated green tomatoes, drained
3 c. flour
1 1/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
3/4 t. cinnamon
3/4 c. dried fruit of your choice, chopped to the size of raisins
1 c. chopped nuts, if desired

Beat eggs well and add sugar, oil, salt, vanilla and tomatoes.

Sift dry ingredients separately, then gradually add to tomato mixture.  Stir in raisins and nuts.

Pour into greased bread pans and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting

This is my favorite cream cheese frosting.  I use it for chocolate cake, spice cake, carrot cake, cinnamon rolls, pumpkin bars and so on.  Occasionally, I will sprinkle some pumpkin spice in it for a little something different.  My new favorite variation, though, is to add the juice and zest of one lemon plus a couple of drops of lemon essential oil to the recipe.  It is delightful on a variety of cupcake flavors.  (A bit more powdered sugar might need to be added to create the proper spreading consistency after adding lemon juice.)

1 8-oz. bar cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 c. butter, room temperature
1 t. vanilla
4-5 c. powdered sugar, sifted

Cream the cheese and butter, then stir in vanilla.  Add sugar to desired consistency.

Chocolate Cupcakes

These chocolatey treats didn’t take much more time than a cake mix to make, and the flavor was so much better.  They were part of the cupcake lineup for my oldest daughter’s Sweet 16 Open House, and they were gone well before the party-ing was over.

The cupcakes freeze very nicely, and they taste delightful with almost any icing you choose.

1 1/3 all-purpose flour
1/4 t. baking soda
2 t. baking powder
3/4 c. baking cocoa
1/4 t. salt
3 T. butter, room temperature
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs, room temperature, if possible
3/4 t. vanilla
1 c. buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together dry ingredients; set aside.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one.  Stir in vanilla.

Alternately add flour mixture with milk; stirring until incorporated.

Line muffin tin with 12-18 liners.  Fill tins 3/4 full.

Bake 15-17 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Cool completely before icing.

Lemon Cupcakes

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I made these tasty treats to celebrate by oldest daughter’s Sweet 16 Cupcake and Ice Cream Float Open House.  They were a hit with almost everyone.  (One guest gasped and puckered and handed her cupcake off to her son.  Too tart, maybe??)  I was especially tickled that these cupcakes pleased my lemon-loving friend, Emily, who sets a high bar for all things lemon.  Plus, my hubby really, really liked them, too.

This recipe makes about 30 cupcakes, so it’s basically a double batch.  Before icing, they freeze wonderfully.  I frosted them with a lemon cream cheese frosting that was a basic cream cheese icing recipe with lemon juice and a couple of drops of lemon oil added.  I could’ve eaten it with a spoon.  (Okay, okay.  I confess!  I did eat it with a spoon!)

3 c. all-purpose flour
3 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 c. butter, room temperature
2 c. sugar
4 eggs, room temperature, if possible
1 t. vanilla
2 T. grated lemon zest
1 c. buttermilk or whole milk
3 T. lemon juice
3-4 drops lemon essential oil, if desired

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Sift dry ingredients together and set aside.

Beat butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each one.  Stir in the vanilla and lemon zest.

Gently beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture, 1/3 at a time, alternating with half the milk and half the lemon juice.  Add essential oil.  Beat until just combined; do not over-mix.

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake 15-17 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cupcakes cool in pan about 10 minutes before removing to rack.