Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Coconut Jam and Blackberry Scones

I was listening to Billie Holiday a few days ago. Her voice soothes me in my solitude.
I've been at home this week and in a truly wildly, strange and horrible turn of events, I've decided to stay at home for a while. On the first day, I felt triumphant! The second day, I felt strategic; the third day, I felt lost and I desperately found a million things to do...which included coconut cajeta.

On this fourth day, I felt lonely with nothing to console me except for the pleasant voice of Nigella Lawson on TV. I wanted to make a quick breakfast that was comforting and sweet and since I wont be getting a paycheck in a while, used up some of the fruit I had in stock. I needed something that I could eat just one of. Or two. Something I could eat with that creamy coconut jam and enjoy with a cup of coffee, out on my patio all by myself.

Blackberry scones, you have made my morning. Coconut jam, you are so lovely. Thanks for hanging out with me today. Love, Mariel

             Blackberry Scones     Makes 6
 (Adapted from Joy the Baker's Lavender Blackberry Scones)
             1 ½ cup         Flour
             ¼ cup            Sugar
             1 ¼ tsp.         Baking Powder
             1 ¼ tsp.         Baking Soda
             ¾ tsp.            Salt
             1/3 cup          Butter, cold and cut into chunks
             1 ea.                Egg, divided in half
             1/3 cup           Buttermilk
             ½ tsp.            Vanilla Extract
             ½ cup             Blackberries
             Preheat oven to 400°

       1.     In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside. In a small measuring cup, whisk the egg and then pour half of it into a smaller bowl for the egg wash. Add the buttermilk and vanilla to the egg and set aside.
2.     Cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter or by working quickly with your fingers to create coarse crumbles.
3.     Pour the egg and buttermilk mixture into the flour and toss gently with your fingers to incorporate just until everything comes together. Add the blackberries.
4.     Drop the dough out onto a floured surface and gently knead about 10-15 times until everything is uniform. Form the dough into a disc and gently dust a rolling pin.
5.     Roll the dough to about ¾ of an inch to about an inch and cut rounds with a 2 ½ inch biscuit cutter. Set 2 inches apart on a lined baking sheet.
6.     Mix 1 Tbsp. of water in with the remaining egg and brush over the tops of the scones and then sprinkle generously with granulated sugar.
Note: I use my coarse, Mexican, “Azucar Morena” that has a great molasses-y scent, and I have stuck in a few leftover vanilla pods into make an aromatic vanilla sugar. It is available in the Hispanic section of the supermarket. Or, if you cannot find it, just use organic cane sugar.
7.     Bake for 14-18 minutes or until the tops are a light, golden brown.
*To double this recipe, use 2 whole eggs and remove only about a tablespoon of beaten egg for the egg wash. Everything else can be simply doubled.

Coconut Jam  Makes 1 Cup
AKA coconut cajeta and coconut dulce de leche and it is totally vegan!

1 can (15oz.)             Coconut milk-I used Chakoh
¾ cup                       Brown Sugar, Packed
½ tsp.                       Salt

1.     In a bowl, stir together all of the ingredients until the sugar is just about dissolved. Pour into at least a 4 quart pot.
2.     Turn the heat onto medium high and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. The milk will bubble up and then slowly subside with gentle, occasional stirring.
3.     Lower the heat to medium so the mixture is at a rapid simmer. Continue stirring every few minutes to make sure the bottom does not scorch for about 12-15 minutes.
4.     Remove from the heat and pour through a strainer to get out any scorched bits and pour into a glass or heatproof bowl to cool. Once it has cooled a bit, but is still liquid, pour into a glass jar and chill completely. Store in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks with the jar covered tightly.

You can easily double this recipe, just adjust the cooking time to about 5-7 minutes longer.

This is an unusually sad post. But don’t worry, I’m ok! If you haven’t noticed, I have had a lot more time to write and post, so, to be honest, I’m pretty stoked! I’ll just go about, doing my thing, baking, writing, and being thankful for the incredible people and support system I have in my life.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Pasta Frolla- Sweet Italian Tart Dough

Sometimes I have too many sweets in the house. Occupational hazard, and of course really not that bad, but I still find that from one recipe, I've inadvertently made 3 other desserts!

The other day, it was my fiancee's birthday and she specifically requested a fruit tart and I made it for her. I made the sweet tart dough, a delightful vanilla custard, applied fruit gently and lovingly atop and finished it with some edible flowers and a baby blue candle. But I had too much dough left over...what to do...

Pasta Frolla which means "tender dough" in Italian is just that. so incredibly tender. 

You don't need a mixer, it doesn't require a two-hour resting time and you can make into a multitude of things from tart shells, to cookies, to bar cookie bases, galettes and even for a delicious alternative to graham cracker crumbs for a cheesecake! 

The cookies I made from the leftover tart dough were filled with chocolate ganache that I had leftover (from the last OC class)  flavored with cinnamon and chipotle paste (only about a teaspoon or two for a bit of a kick). I just baked them with a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar on top and sandwich them with ganache or even some Nutella would be good. Yup, good.

This recipe also works perfectly with Cup4Cup gluten free all-purpose flour.

Pasta Frolla      Makes 2 large tart shells

2c          All Purpose Flour
1/4 c      Sugar
1/4 tsp.  Baking Powder
1/4 tsp.  Salt
1 stick   Unsalted Butter
2            Eggs, cold
1 tsp.     Vanilla Extract

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients and cut in the butter with a pastry blender, or quickly with your fingers until the butter is completely worked in and the mixture looks like coarse crumbles.
2. Beat the eggs and vanilla together until well combined and add to the flour mixture. 
3. Mix gently and quickly with your hands until a dough forms and just sticks together. Toss some extra flour on it and knead a few times if it is too sticky.
4. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30-40 minutes or until firm but soft enough to roll.

For a tart:
Roll dough to 1/8 of an inch and bake at 375 degrees lined with foil and pie weights* until it is a light golden brown and the foil is easily removed, about 25 minutes. Bake another 10-14 minutes longer until it is golden brown. Cool completely before filling.

For cookies:
Roll dough to 1/8 inch, sprinkle with crystal sugar and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Note: Pie weights are sold at kitchen specialty stores but you can use beans, rice or orzo pasta instead. Just make sure to keep them separate after you're done, because can no longer cook them.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Camp Blogaway

Going to Camp Blogaway really made me realize that being a blogger, no matter how strong my numbers are or how many followers I have on Twitter (@TheOriginalCinn) makes me a member of an incredibly talented, super food-serious community who tell stories and share recipes for the same exact reason that I do...because we love it.

Let me share with you the Camp Blogaway weekend from the perspective of the first time camper. This was not only my first Camp B. but it was also my first bloggers conference ever.

At first I was a little nervous about having a carpool buddy. I thought I would be a little more at ease without one. But then I connected with Alisa from GoDairyFree.com and she was so great to drive with; great conversation, super-sweet person and very down to earth. I couldn't have asked for a better carpool friend.

Upon arriving, my "meeting new people all at once freaks me the f out" complex came around and I just wanted to turn right around and fly back home. I had to tell myself to suck it up and get in there and  schmooooze, which as it turns out is not so bad. Everyone was really, really nice. I mean, so sweet to me.

Really talented folks....
Stephanie at Girl vs Dough, Sarah at Lettuce Eat Kale, Jennifer at Savory Simple,
Stephanie at 52 Kitchen Adventures, Daisy at Daisy's World and Kelly at Sinful Shenanigans

I met people who were really knowledgeable about the world of blogging and photography who were really eager to share their experiences with publishing, branding, PR-ing and social media. Quickly I realized that I am quite a novice to all of these things and what I learned from my interactions with everyone is that no one will know how great you are until you tell them and no one will value YOU unless you value yourself. Everyone has their path and like any chef, you make a meal with what you have, not with what you wish you had. OriginalCinn is what I make of it and understanding that was so important coming home from Camp Blogaway.

Lessons learned:
1. I am not suited for sleeping in cabins.
2. Vodka WILL hit you hard at high elevations.
3. Teresa can actually Feed Herself when I'm Not Home!

Thanks to Patti at Worth the Whisk...this lady knows how to put on an event!