My First Attempt at Scones

Today, I learned how to cut butter. No, I am not a professional baker. In fact, I have just discovered that I enjoy baking about a year and a half ago. It was much too precise for me when I was a young one. I, however, have come to enjoy the feel of the resistance of cake batter when I hand mix it and how much it reminds me that I don’t have muscles when my arm begins to feel like it is about to fall off. Oh the joys of baking! How I love thee!

But really, sarcasm aside, I decided to experiment today with my newer found love to make a fall take on a scone. Here, I present to you the ingredients for a cranberry orange dark chocolate scone! I cannot take full credit for this recipe, but I did add a few tweaks.

What You Need:

2 cups flour
7 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cold butter
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup half n half
1/4 cup orange juice
1 large egg
1/3 dark chocolate bar

For The Top
1 tablespoon orange juice
3 teaspoons sugar (optional, because the OJ has enough sugar)

Directions:

Combine flour, sugar, orange peel, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
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Cut in butter until small clumps form. (I literally thought it would be clumpy like a cookie dough is before you actually mix it well. I was wrong. It is okay for all of the flour to not be absorbed by the butter. I also did not cut with a knife as suggested. I used a whisk. What can I say, I’m a rebel.)

In a smaller bowl (I used a measuring cup), mix the cranberries, dark chocolate, orange juice, half n half, and egg together.

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Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until a dough forms. Then, using your hands, knead dough about 10 times until thoroughly mixed.

From bowl, press scones into long shapes- I called mine scone turds- and place evenly on a greased cookie sheet.

Brush with the extra orange juice, and sprinkle sugar on if you want. I did not, as I feel the orange juice has enough sugar in it.

Bake at 400 degrees for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown on top. Transfer to a metal rack, or in my case, a innovative rack made with wooden skewers and an aluminum pan.
They should turn out to look something like this—-

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I hope you have as much luck as I did on your first (or maybe thousandth) attempt at making scones! The only question that remains is- are they for breakfast or are they for dessert? If anyone knows, please do tell. Curious minds do wonder.

 

Original Recipe from Taste of Home! Thanks, dude, for being my inspiration!

 

Coco for Doughnuts!

Yesterday’s travels brought me to Manhattan (are you shocked?) to John Jay School of Criminal Justice to meet with one of my best college friends with a couple of my best. I went to my hopeful future school to see one of my undergraduate professors give a lecture on his career in forensic mental health. It was awesome!

Before that, however, the weather squashed my friends and I’s plan of walking around Central Park, casually food truckin’. Instead, we traveled to the Upper West Side to eat at this little place called Jekyll & Hyde. The entire experience was awesome, starting from the moment we sat down and the waiter telling us that  we had to push on library walls to find the bathroom. The gargoyle was without a doubt my favorite thing. He definitely made fun of everyone in the room, so I beg, if you don’t have a sense of humor, don’t go. The food is a bit pricey and they charge you a $3 entertainment fee and it’s cash only, so be warned. The bar upstairs wasn’t open, but we got a tour from one of the waitstaff. I got scared a few times, my friend, Laura, got exorcised, and Emily got a new set of eyes. I would recommend Jekyll & Hyde for the experience alone.

We had some time to kill before the lecture. Within five minutes we were standing in front of Doughnut Plant. It had been on my foodie list for a while and I’m so glad I got to finally go. They even liked my photo on Instagram… I actually might feel famous.

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My “famous” Photo! (A girl can dream, right?)

My friends got the buttered pretzel chocolate doughnut. I ate half of Emily’s like the true garbage disposal that I am. I chose the Coco Loco, a doughnut filled with sweet pineapple and glazed with coconut milk and topped with baked coconut flakes. I figured it might be just a bit too sweet for my liking…until I bit into it. Perfect. The pineapple filling was just sweet enough. My teeth didn’t hurt after, and while a bit messy, the filling wasn’t runny where it was dripping everywhere.  The doughnut was fluffy and light and had the perfect texture. Probably the best doughnut place I’ve been to. They are what doughnut places should aspire to be. I’ll be honest if I try a better one, but so far, compared to Donut Man in Cali, this one for sure takes the cake… or the dough.

Pro Tip: They seem to run out of flavors very quickly- by the time I ordered and finished my doughnut, about 15 people had come in asking for a PB&J one. If you’re looking for it, go early. I was happy with my choice, but peanut butter is bae, so I can see how everyone and their mother would be looking for that.

Union Square Market

My Wednesday started out like any other. I commuted with my father into the city, got a coffee, spilled said coffee down my arm on my way over to the office, sat down in a chair, and prepared myself for a long 10 hours of work. Typical, until my supervisor pulled me aside and informed me of a lecture that my boss was giving at Beth Israel. I was amped to go and when 2:30 rolled around, I hopped on the subway, attended the lecture, and took a casual detour to what I would find out to be the Union Square Greenmarket.

For those of you who have never been before, it is the cutest, most environmentally friendly market I’ve ever been to. There are stalks of asparagus in water, small strawberry and blueberry plants, flowers, local honey, vegan treats, people promoting non-profit organizations, and more. It reminded me of my strolls down West 28th street on my break when I want to be surrounded by trees and shrubs in the concrete jungle, only more open and a lot less sketchy (sorry West 28th, I still love you).

I got stopped twice on my first walkthrough. Once to be a sucker and buy a $350 spa treatment and two $25 comedy club tix for $30. Steal. Twice to find out about the nonprofit, OxFam (shout out to my guy, Gray)! I almost got stopped a third time, but I politely told him that my quest for a vegan dessert on my break was much more important. Sorry. I have priorities.

My priorities came in the form of a lavender and pear scone from Body & Soul Bakeshop. It took me about 5 minutes and a few questions about what dessert was better to decide. Boy, am I glad I chose the scone. It was perfect. It had a great texture- flaky, but not so flaky where it fell apart upon every bite, and not too dry. The pears added a fresh burst of flavor and the lavender was a nice touch. They used just enough where it wasn’t too soapy tasting, as lavender can sometimes be. I will make it a priority to buy one thing a week, and that ain’t no lie. Body & Soul, you now have a lifelong customer. You’re welcome, and thank you for being so damn delicious.

 

When I wasn’t talking to Gray and Scott (the two who stopped me), I was admiring the other vendors. Bread Alone makes bread look like an art. Martin’s Pretzels almost tempted me away from my scone, but I’m a sucker for vegan desserts and my sweet tooth clearly won. There was local honey from Andrew’s Local, a lavender stand with fresh lavender and soaps, and farms promoting and selling their share.

If you want to check out the maps of the Union Square Markets, check out this website.

If you dig clean eats, plants, and the environment, you’ll really love this market. Remember to always support your local businesses. It’s important.

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My Lavender Pear Scone. I am in love.

Shake Shack & The Museum of Sex

This weekend, we celebrated my friend, Laura’s, birthday! It was an epic birthday weekend, and I can only hope mine is just as rad (*hint, hint*).

She had requested we go to the city, suggested going to the Museum of Sex, and left the food up to me. She had never been to Shake Shack before, a true New York Touristy staple. I had never been to the original in Washington Square Park, and decided that it was definitely time.

I chose to go back to my vegetarian roots (I was one for 8 years) and get their ‘Shroomburger. Phenomenal. Never disappointed. It’s a fried portobello mushroom stuffed with Muenster and cheddar cheese, topped with lettuce and tomato.

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Only the most heavenly bite. The cheese was dripping from my chin- Perfection.

I also have to get a concrete, because it is actually on my bucket list to get a concrete at every single Shake Shack (Yes, I do realize this is going to take me my entire life, and I am entirely okay with that). I got the The Concrete Jungle, a mix of vanilla custard, bananas, peanut butter sauce, and fudge sauce. I love bananas and peanut butter, and adding the extra calories is just a simple win.

We ended our night by jumping in a bouncy boob castle at The Museum of Sex and going to a swanky rooftop bar, 230 Fifth! Overall, I had a blast and was so happy my friends did, too! Also, to that bachelorette drunk on the train- if you’re reading this- I hope that you’re okay! You have good friends.

Shake Shack Life Hack: When ordering cheese fries, ALWAYS get the cheese on the side. You will always get more cheese, and who doesn’t love that?