Sunday, July 28, 2013

Simcha's Simply Scrumptious Strawberry Scones ~

I don't know if you've noticed, but so far it's been a particularly hot summer and I just couldn't bear to talk about knitting.  So instead I'm changing things up with some baking!  These strawberry scones are inspired by scones served at the Sweet Begonia Bakery in Santa Barbara, California located in Victoria Courtyard (just off State Street).  I really really really liked the Sweet Begonia scones but as I don't live in Santa Barbara what was I to do?  I had never seen anything similar in a Los Angeles bakery and I had no luck finding a similar sounding recipe.  But I was not going to be defeated and, as they say, necessity is the mother of invention so I put on my thinking cap and created a recipe that I call Simcha's Simply Scrumptious Strawberry Scones.  I do use "scone" loosely as this is a cross between a cookie, shortcake, and scone.

Any leftover strawberries can be used to make a refreshing lime and strawberry iced drink to sip as you contemplate fall knitting projects (I love an elixir made from a mix of squeezed lime and strawberry juice poured through a strainer and diluted with water and sweetened with agave nectar and poured over ice).  I currently have a ton of fall projects on the needles as it's never too soon to start!

Simcha's Simply Scrumptious Strawberry "Scone" Recipe

2 cups all purpose Flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3.5 ounces almond paste crumbled (1/2 tube) note: almond paste is similar but different than marzipan and   is generally carried by grocery stores in the baking isle next to marzipan.
5 tbs. cold unsalted butter (cut into pieces)
3/4 cup - scant - whole milk (do not substitute low fat milk)  This is a wet dough but still shouldn't be too sticky to work with so be cautious with the amount of milk added.
1 pint fresh strawberries (organic) - dried thoroughly and sliced into flat slices
rice flour or all purpose flour to dust work space
coarse white sugar

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees and cover a baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper.
2.  Combine dry ingredients and mix in crumbled almond paste.
3.  Using a pastry cutter add butter to the dry mixture and use pastry cutter until butter is pea sized or smaller.
4.  Quickly stir in whole milk to make dough.  If your dough is too "wet" add a small amount of additional all purpose flour until it is no longer too sticky to work with.  Turn dough out onto work surface lightly dusted with rice flour or all purpose flour.  I like to use rice flour because it's very "white" and gives a nice finished bakery look to your scones.
5. Using a rolling pin roll dough into a flat circle (as if rolling out a pie crust - approximate 1/4 inch thick - makes a 13" diameter circle).  Use a knife to cut circle in half and cover one half of the dough with sliced strawberries and then fold the other half of the dough over on top of the strawberries and gently press down.  Again using a knife cut half circle into scone sized wedges and decorate tops of scones with remaining slices of strawberries (makes approximately 8 to 9 scones).
6.  Using a spatula transfer scones to prepared baking sheet.
7.  Brush tops of scones with milk and sprinkle with coarse white sugar.
8.  Bake approximately 20 minutes or until dough is lightly browned.  Cool on wire racks. These freeze well.

These are a rustic style scone (as mentioned above I use the term "scone" loosely) and go well with coffee or tea and I hope you enjoy them!

And for those who like to keep tabs on Simcha  ~

Simcha is still a high drive boy who enjoys needs hikes daily (twice) and I defy you to find a dog that likes to chase a ball more.

Until next time, be well and love well and take time to bake scones, drink crazy fruit juices and have fun this summer!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Patchwork Bird Template ~

If you've followed this blog for any time then you know that besides knitting and baking I also enjoy a variety of crafting projects including working with wool felt and I thought it was high time to share a template for a wool felt project of my own.

This sweet patchwork bird is a snap to make and can be as whimsical as you wish.  The name I've chosen is inspired by a nursery rhyme ~ The Gingham Dog and Calico Cat ~ a rhyme that made a huge impression on me at a tender age, probably due to a shockingly violent theme that I won't dwell on here.  Instead just know that scraps of fabric figure prominently in this nursery rhyme and scraps of fabric are all you will need to make this quick and fun project!

Particulars:  Free Patchwork Bird Template download (includes basic sewing together instructions); materials you will need: scraps of wool felt (I like to use hand painted wool felt that I purchase from quilting acres (Etsy) and I also like commercial wool felt by National; scraps of colorful fabric, black embroidery floss, thin crafting wire (or jewelry wire); and fill material (polyester or fleece roving).  Basic sewing instructions are on the template but once you make one you will see how easy it is make your own templates for anything you wish!  Other wool felt projects I've blogged are a broach (a favorite Fall accessory of mine); a Pumpkin Girl (Halloween decoration) and a blue bird but I've made lots of things over the years including needle books and scissor fobs including the one pictured below. Be warned though, because playing with wool felt can become addictive because there are so many things that you can make that are cute and quick to sew up!

Lastly a picture of pink poppies growing in my neighborhood simply because they make me smile when I walk by.

Until next time, be well and love well and have fun this Summer!  I'll be back shortly with a delicious strawberry scone recipe that I just know you'll love.