Lemon Ginger Scones

Lemon Ginger Scone Recipe

~yields 8 scones

The Bits and Bobs:

2 cups                            all-purpose flour

1/4 cup                           sugar

1 tsp                                baking powder

1/4 tsp                            baking soda

1/4 tsp                            salt

1 stick (1/2 cup)              unsalted butter, cold and cubed

1/2 cup                           crystallized ginger, chopped into small pieces

1                                      lemon, zest

2/3 cup                           buttermilk

for the icing:

2 cups                             powder sugar

1                                      lemon, juice

The How-Tos:

Preheat oven to 400*F.  Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt.  Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour.  If using hands, pinch the butter into the flour over and over. Stop once the flour mixture resembles bread crumbs. Mix in the ginger and the lemon zest. Using your hands once more, mix in the buttermilk until you have a shaggy dough. Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and knead a few times, only until the dough just comes together.  

Pat the dough out to a round about 1 inch thick.  Cut the round into 8 triangles, and line each of the triangles up on the prepped baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tops are a light golden brown and the edges are slightly darker.

Allow to cool for a few minutes on the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.  Make the icing by whisking together the powder sugar and the lemon juice.  Pour over the top of the cooled scones and allow to set up before serving.

Peanut Butter Banana Bread


~ yields 1 loaf

The Bits and Bobs:

3-4                             very ripe bananas

1/3 cup                       unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup                       brown sugar

1/2 cup                       sugar

1                                  egg

1 tsp                            vanilla extract

1 tsp                            baking soda

1/4 tsp                        salt

1 1/2 cup                     all purpose flour

6 oz                            peanut butter chips (like these!)

The How-Tos:

Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Butter and lightly flour a loaf pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mash the peeled bananas with a fork until completely smooth.  Stir in the melted butter. Add both of the sugars, the egg, and the vanilla extract. Stir until well combined. 

Mix in the flour, baking soda, and salt until just incorporated.  Fold in all but a handful of the peanut butter chips.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing out the top with a spatula or back of the spoon.  Drop the remaining peanut butter chips down the center of the top of the batter (or sprinkle all over the top). 

Bake for 50 minutes to one hour, turning the pan once halfway through the bake time.  A knife or tester inserted in the middle should come out clean.  Allow to cool for a few minutes in the pan before running a knife along the edges to release.  Turn out and allow to finish cooling on a rack. 

Challah Bread

Challah Recipe 1.jpg

yields~ 1 loaf or 12-15 one inch slices

The Bits and Bobs:

2 tsp                           active dry yeast

1 cup                           luke warm water

4-4 1/2 cups               all purpose flour 

1/4 cup                       sugar + a pinch for the yeast mixture

2 tsp                           salt

2                                 eggs

1                                  egg yolk (save the egg white for the egg wash)

1/4 cup                       vegetable oil

The How-Tos:

In a small bowl, sprinkle the active yeast over the water.  Add a large pinch of sugar and stir until the yeast dissolves.  Let stand for 10-15 minutes until you see it start to bubble and froth.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour (start with only 4 cups of flour at this point), sugar, and salt.  Form a well in the middle of the flour mixture, and add the eggs plus the yolk and the oil. Using your hand, whisk together the eggs and oil pulling in a bit of the flour mixture until you form a sort of slurry (basically a thick, slightly starchy goop).

Pour the yeast mixture over the egg slurry and using either your hand again or a large wooden spoon or spatula, mix the wet with the dry until you form a shaggy dough.

If using a stand mixer, place the bowl on the mixer with the dough hook attachement and knead on low for 8 or so minutes. You can also turn the shaggy dough out onto a flour surface and knead by hand for 10-ish minutes.  The dough is ready when it has formed a smooth, soft ball that is only slightly tacky.  If you notice during the kneading process that it is very sticky, add more flour a tablespoon at a time (not to exceed 1/2 cup).  

Lightly grease a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm spot for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The dough should double in size.

After the first rise, separate the dough into either 3 or 6 even balls.  Working one at a time, roll each piece into a rope shape about an inch thick and a foot long. You may need to re-roll one or two of the ropes if, after resting, they shrink up a bit. 

To braid the dough, if using three ropes proceed like a hair plait, lining the three ropes up parallel to each other, pinch the ends together. Then repeat this pattern: left rope over the middle rope, right rope over the middle rope.  If using six ropes, once again line the ropes up parallel to each other and pinch the ends together. Repeat this pattern: left rope over two ropes, under one rope, over two ropes. Continue taking the most left rope and repeating the pattern all the way to the end. Pinch the ends together, then tuck both ends under slightly. Run your hands very lightly under the sides and push the ends very slightly towards one another to plump up the loaf slightly.  

Transfer the braided loaf to a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet and cover with a clean kitchen towel.  Allow to rise once more in a warm spot for about an hour.  The dough should be pillowy and soft. 

Preheat the oven to 350*F.  When ready to bake,  mix the reserved egg white with a tablespoon of water then brush all over the loaf, taking care to get all of the sides and the crevices between the braided ropes.  This will ensure that the ropes won't separate while baking.  I also sprinkled mine with a little madron sea salt just for an extra punch.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating the pan once halfway through the bake time.  The bread is done when the crust is a dark golden brown. If you like you can test the internal temperature with a thermometer.  When it reaches 190*F it is done. 

Allow to cool on a cooling rack. Can be eaten straight away or cooled completely and wrapped very tightly.