OATMEAL SCONES

To keep my sanity during these stressful times, my baking marathon continues.  For me, baking is not only relaxing, it gives me something to focus on, fuels my creativity, as well as provides a really yummy end product (well, most of the time).  Even if it doesn’t look good, most bakes taste good and that’s really all that matters.

I found this recipe (originally from the Quaker Oats company) as I was cleaning out old cookbooks.  It looked quick and easy, perfect for today’s rainy day … and perfect to go along with a hot steamy cuppa and a good book.  Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.

OATMEAL SCONES
Bake at 425° for 20 to 30 minutes.  Makes 8 to 10 scones (or more, depending upon the size)

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup oatmeal (any type will do)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick cold butter, cubed
3/4 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

Topping – optional
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons sugar

Glaze 
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons orange juice

First, line up all your ingredients.  Don’t be one of those bakers who goes looking for things as you go along.  If you have everything in front of you, you’re less apt to make a mistake and forget something.  Then, preheat your oven and prepare your pan.  Most ovens take 20 minutes or more to heat up thoroughly.  A $5.00 oven thermometer is a great investment and saves a lot of baking disasters.

You don’t need any special equipment to make these, but I did use my food processor.  Nothing is quicker than a food processor … as long as you know how and when to use it.  The “pulse” button is all you need for these!

In a large bowl (or food processor) add the dry ingredients.  Mix well or pulse two or three times.  Cut the icy cold butter into cubes and add it to the dry ingredients until it resembles fine crumbs.  Again, if using a food processor, PULSE 10 or 12 times … no more!

In a small bowl mix together the egg, milk and vanilla.  Then add this wet mixture to the dry mixture.  Stir it in with a fork or PULSE a few times just to combine everything.

Turn the mixture out onto a floured board.  Knead a few times to bring it together.  Do not overwork the dough or your scones will be tough and won’t rise properly.

Form the dough into a round and with a rolling pin, gently roll until you have about 3/4″ thickness.  Cut the dough into triangles (or you can use a cutter to cut out shapes).  Place the triangles onto a parchment lined baking tray.

In another small bowl, mix the chopped nuts, sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle over the scones, pressing down lightly to fix them onto the scones.  This is completely optional.

Bake the scones in a preheated 425° oven for 25-30 minutes (if smaller scones are made, you may need to reduce the baking time.  When they have baked through and are browned, remove them and place them on a wire rack to cool.

Combine the powdered sugar and orange juice and just drizzle over the top of the scones.  Then be prepared to watch them disappear.

Be sure to put the kettle on and enjoy this easy-to-make, delicious treat …
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Whoopie Pies?

Yes, I know … they have nothing to do with Great Britain.  Whoopie Pies are uniquely American, actually a New England creation.  And, being from New England, I just had a craving for a Whoopie Pie (not sure why).  What do you do when you want something and you just know that whatever you buy at the grocery store is not going to be as good as the ones you grew up with? Well, you get out the ingredients and make it yourself!  Couldn’t be easier.

This recipe is ‘borrowed’ from Martha Stewart.  Thank you, Martha.  It is rich, chocolaty, cakey and delicious.  I did not make a traditional marshmallow-fluff-type filling, but rather crunchy peanut butter.  Just felt the need to do something different.  Give this a try and let me know what you think.

WHOOPIE PIES with PEANUT BUTTER FILLING
Preheat the oven to 375°.
1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

4 tblsps. softened butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla

I always gather all the ingredients and tools before cooking anything (with a cuppa, of course).  It just ensures that I have everything I need before starting.  Preheat the oven to 375° and grease two large baking sheets (or mold sheets).


In a mixing bowl beat together butter, shortening and sugars until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).  While this is beating, in another bowl add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.  Whisk well to mix and lighten.


To the butter and sugar mixture, add the egg, beat until light and fluffy.  Add half the flour mixture to this, blending well.  Then add the milk and vanilla.  Beat well.  Add the remaining flour.  Beat together, scraping down the sides of the bowl.


Using a rounded spoon or, as I like to use, an ice cream scoop, drop 24 equal rounds of dough onto a greased baking sheet.  If you have a whoopie pie mold, that works beautifully.


Bake the cookies in the center of the oven for 12 to 14 minutes (turning the pans halfway through the cooking time).  Do not overbake or they will be dry.  Less is more!

When baked, let cookies cool for a few minutes and then transfer to a baking rack.  While cooling, make the Peanut Butter Filling (or whatever filling you might like).

 

 

 


PEANUT BUTTER FILLING

3/4 cup natural peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
1 stick softened butter
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
pinch salt (to taste)

Using an electric mixer beat the butter and peanut butter together til smooth.  Add the sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

 

Assemble the cookies by spreading (or piping) one tablespoon filling on the bottom of one cookie, then press the bottom of the same size cookie to it.  You can certainly be fancy and pipe the filling onto the cookie bottoms (although I was too anxious to pipe this time, I’ve piped the filling ever since.  It’s much neater and more professional looking).

Presto, you’ve made Whoopie Pies! Now all you need is a big glass of milk ….. or a big pot of tea!!

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References:  Martha Stewart