Black & Blues

Summer is whizzing by us like the speed of light; before you know it fall will be upon us.  And while I love the fall, it is one of my favorite seasons,  I love the summer too.  I’ve been trying to preserve as much of this summer as I can.   I’ve lost myself in a couple of good books, hubby and I have finally launched a sailboat we bought a few years ago and never managed to get into the water for one silly reason after another.  At some point in  life everyone comes to  realize that life is too short, and it’s just not a cliché you’ve heard a thousand times before.  You have to find the money, re-prioritize, and make time to enjoy yourselves.  And that is why our sailboat has finally made it into the beautiful water of the Finger Lakes.

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If you haven’t noticed, I have not spent much time baking or blogging this summer.  I  miss both.   While I have been taking lots of pictures, and I’ve written two freelance pieces, the extreme temperatures haven’t really given me much incentive to step into my kitchen and turn on the oven.   Since the extreme heat we’ve been seeing isn’t just a local problem I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about. 

But there is good news. With a bit of relief from the high temperatures  I ventured into the kitchen today to let some of the creativity I’ve got bottling up inside of me out.  To me, there is nothing more inviting than berry and cinnamon filled scones baking in your oven, because of this, there was little debate on what I would make. And regardless of what time of day you make scones, you will not be able to resist sampling them to see if they live up to that wonderful aroma they have just sent wafting through your home.

Since we are in the heart of berry season I decided to mix things up a bit.  I opted to use blackberries and blueberries which seem to compliment each other quite well.  Warning – I did not use them sparingly….

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These scones are lighter in texture than some I’ve made.  I think they are perfect for a summer breakfast treat.

Black & Blue Scones

2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour

1/4 c. quick cooking oats

1/2 c. dark brown sugar

2 TBSP. granulated sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

2 TBSP. chopped pecans

1 stick of (cold) margarine

1/2 c. milk

1/2 c. sour cream

1 c. blueberries

1 c. blackberries

Cinnamon & Sugar to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheet, or use parchment paper.

In a large bowl, add all dry ingredients.  Cut in cold margarine.  In a separate bowl, mix milk and sour cream together.  Make a well in the center of dry ingredients and add milk mixture.  Blend by hand until everything is mixed.  Fold in berries.  On a lightly floured surface shape dough into a 10” round piece, about 1” in thickness.  Using a pizza cutter, cut into even pie shaped pieces and place on cookie sheet.  Bake for 15 – 18 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into center of scone. Sprinkle with cinnamon & sugar while warm.

One final note. I also found some time to work on a few gift tags while the temperatures have been too warm to spend in the kitchen.  Here is what I’ve come up with. These are a great addition to any treat you’re looking to give away.  Leave a personalized message on the back for the lucky recipient.

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Enjoy!

Raspberry Coffee Cake and Our Movie Star Friend

One of our friends brought us a huge bowl of fresh raspberries the other day.  I was full of gratitude.  I hadn’t baked in a while, the house was running on empty where sweets were concerned, and I had been trying to decide what to make for the last couple of days.  The raspberries made my decision simple; a fresh, sour cream based, raspberry coffee cake was in order. 

Now I have to tell you a little secret about the friend that delivered the berries to us.  He’s a bit of a movie star.  When I first met him I had no clue.  He didn’t immediately look familiar to me until he told me he was the “hot dog guy” in the movie Sleepers.  Suddenly, I was putting two and two together.

For some reason, I  never enjoyed the movie Sleepers.  It  was disturbing, focusing on physical and sexual abuse of young boys sentenced to a Juvenile Home in Upstate New York, by the guards that supervised them.  There were only two things I could particularly remember about the movie at the time George told us he starred in it.   One, was that Kevin Bacon played one of the most sinister characters of his career in that movie, and the other was the scene involving the boys prank with the hot dog vendor and his cart. It wasn’t the big names ( Brad Pitt, Robert Di Niro, Minnie Driver, Dustin Hoffman) that left me with a lasting impression of this movie – it was George Georgiadis’ appearance that did.  

George also appeared in other a few other movies and television shows before leaving his acting career to move to the Finger Lakes Region of New York, where he now runs his own construction business, and grows fresh raspberries (Thank God!).  If you want to see the best scene of the movie – starring none other than George, click on the link “hot dog guy” above. 

Okay, enough about movie stars.  Onto the star of this post.  Raspberry Coffee Cake…..

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Cake Recipe:

1/2 c. margarine, softened

2 eggs, room temperature

1 c. granulated sugar

1/2 c. sour cream

1 1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. vanilla

1 tbsp. prepared cinnamon & sugar

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 3/4 c. fresh raspberries

Topping Recipe: 

1/2 c. quick cook oatmeal

1/2 tsp. prepared cinnamon & sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream all ingredients except flour and raspberries in a large bowl.  Once creamy, add flour.  Fold in berries.  In a separate bowl mix oats and cinnamon and sugar mixture – set aside.

Pour batter into a greased 7″x9″ baking pan.  Sprinkle topping on batter.  Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes clean when inserted in center.  Cool before cutting.  Makes about 12 pieces of cake.

ENJOY!

 

King Kahlua

My most favorite liqueur is Kahlua.  Did you know they claim it takes seven years to make a bottle of this Mexican liqueur?  Aged to perfection I’d say. I love using Kahlua when I make some of my sweet confections. It’s rum base, coffee flavor, and slight hint of vanilla makes it the King in my book.  I have a recipe for an awesome Kahlua cake, a Kahlua mousse recipe that will knock your socks off, and over the weekend I had my first taste of Kahlua fudge – oh, my dear Lord!  But just when I thought it could get any better; I crafted one more Kahlua recipe to add to my trusty recipe box.

Here are two key ingredients you will need.

Any guesses?

Here’s another hint. It goes best on vanilla ice cream. 

Kahlua Hot Fudge Sauce

¼ c. heavy cream (preferably Upstate Farms)
1 tbsp. sugar, plus 1 tsp.
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 dash of salt
1 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. Kahlua

Place all  ingredients (except Kahlua) in double boiler.  Melt on low heat until sugar is dissolved and texture is smooth and creamy.  Add Kahlua; mix thoroughly. Serve while warm, or keep in refrigerator until needed.  Re-warm in microwave when ready to use.  Makes one pint.

This hot fudge is so simple to make.  And it is for certain, the most delicious hot fudge I’ve ever had, especially on homemade vanilla ice cream (pictured below).

Happy Belated 4th and Wild Black Raspberry Jam

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Happy belated 4th everyone!

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Wild black raspberries have the most wicked thorns.  It takes some careful maneuvering to reach those dark, plump berries on the bush, but when you do, it’s well worth the effort.  Tonight we picked about 4 pints of berries so I could make homemade black raspberry jam.  I’m thankful we have these little beauties growing in our back yard.

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I followed the recipe in the box of fruit pectin (Sure-Jell) I bought. The flavor of this jam is incredible.  It will certainly taste good during the winter months when fresh fruits are scarce.  But let’s not talk about winter quite yet…