Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mini Glazed Orange Scones

Mini Glazed Orange Scones
These Mini Glazed Orange Scones sort of happened by accident. I'd intended to make some Mini Cranberry Orange Scones, but I forgot to add the cranberries. The first batch of these got a vanilla glaze, but I didn't enjoy those so much. The orange flavor in the scone didn't stand up well to the strong vanilla flavor in the glaze. I'd frozen a few of the unbaked scones to see how that would work out, which it did, very well (Thank you, Martha Stewart). I made a simple orange glaze and voila! They turned out fabulous. Buttery, sweet, and crisp on the outside; tender sweet orange flavored in the middle. I still think I prefer the version with cranberries, but these are a close second.

Mini Glazed Orange Scones


Ingredients:
  • 3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar (rounded)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon orange extract
  • 1 cup half & half
Glaze Ingredients*:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
  • tiny amount of orange food coloring (or yellow and red mixed)
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. (Parchment isn’t necessary, but it helps.)  
Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda into large bowl. (By "sift" I mean put the ingredients in a large bowl and stir well with a whisk.) Mix in orange peel. 
Add butter and rub in with fingertips, or cut in with a pastry blender, until mixture resembles coarse meal. 
Measure half & half into glass measuring cup and add orange extract.   Add half & half, tossing with fork until moist clumps form. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead briefly to bind dough, about 4 turns. 
Cut ball of dough in half.  Form dough into 2, 1-inch-thick rounds. Cut into 6 wedges each. Then cut each of those wedges into four wedges. Transfer wedges to prepared baking sheets, spacing 1 1/2 inches apart. (Or you can place unbaked scone wedges onto a wax paper lined sheet pan and freeze until hard. Once frozen, transfer scones to zip-top freezer bags until ready to bake. Then bake as directed below.) 
You should be able to fit 16 on each sheet. Place two sheets in the refrigerator while you work with the first. 
Bake at 400°F until tops of scones are golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. 
While scones bake, mix the glaze ingredients until smooth, cover, and set aside.
When scones are cool enough to pick up, dip the top of each one into the glaze, and then place bottom down on a serving plate. If you want to make sure they don't stick, you can place glazed scones on the cooling rack until glaze is set, and then transfer to a serving plate.


Makes 48 mini scones

*I suppose you could switch orange juice for the milk and skip the food color for the glaze, but I didn't have any orange juice to give it a try.


Hopefully you get the gist of how to cut these mini sized.



Gluten Free Egg Roll Wrappers

Gluten Free Egg Roll Wrappers
I'm not sure why the egg roll wrappers didn't get as
bubbly in egg roll form as they did when fried as scraps.
Delicious either way.

I used my trusty quilting ruler to measure and cut the dough.

I love my chicken egg rolls. I've had to avoid them, though, because of my gluten-limited son. I finally decided to go to the trouble of trying out this recipe for gluten free won ton wrappers that I found at BetterBatter.org. They were surprisingly simple to make, and they tasted like regular egg roll wrappers. My son enjoyed three egg rolls, and said they tasted great. I only tasted the fried wrapper, which tasted just like the regular wheat wrappers when fried. Since I had guests over, I didn't take the time to experiment with the scraps as I would have if they weren't there, but I will definitely be making these again.
These wrappers are not quite as sturdy as a regular egg roll wrapper, so be careful when rolling egg rolls with them. I wouldn't call them fragile, exactly, but my first one tore open. Just be careful.
If you are just starting out on a gluten free lifestyle and have not yet tried Better Batter, now it s a good time to try it. If you already have some Better Batter in your house, make these! 

Gluten Free Egg Roll Wrappers
     --Adapted from BetterBatter.org

Ingredients:
Instructions:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the flour, egg, and 2 tablespoons water. If the dough does not come together once the ingredients are incorporated, add up to 2 more tablespoons of water. The dough should be the consistency of PlayDoh. Form the dough into a cohesive ball, and cut into four equal pieces. Place dough pieces back in bowl and cover with plastic wrap while you prepare your work surface.
On a large flat surface, place one rectangular piece of wax paper. Liberally dust the wax paper with corn starch. Take one piece of dough and form it into a thick log, about 3-4 inches long. Then smash it a little to get it flat. Place dough log onto the corn starch and dust with more corn starch. Place another piece of wax paper on top of that and then roll dough out into a very, very thin rectangle (or as close to a rectangle as you can get). About halfway through rolling, lift dough and redistribute the corn starch. Turn dough over and dust with more corn starch. Continue rolling until the dough is super thin and you can cut two 6 x 6 inch squares out of it. Using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter (along with a ruler if you have it), cut rolled dough into two 6 x 6 inch squares. Place cut squares on a wax paper lined plate or sheet pan and cover with plastic wrap. Repeat rolling and cutting process for the 3 remaining pieces of dough. You will end up with a lot of scraps. Let me know if you come up with a clever way to use them.
Use the egg roll wrappers immediately to roll some egg rolls and then fry them up. The scraps taste great fried as well.
Makes 8 egg roll wrappers

You need to use a LOT of corn starch when rolling.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Fried Ice Cream

Fried Ice Cream

After two recent disappointing encounters with fried ice cream at two different local Mexican restaurants, I decided the other day to take matters into my own hands. I've been meaning to do this for some time, and my craving for fried ice cream finally reached a fever pitch. I was compelled to do this, and today I am thankful that I both have the time and resources to do this for fun. 
I wouldn't say I've perfected this dish at all, but what you see above was infinitely more satisfying than the sad excuses I had at the restaurants--those tasted like they'd been fried days before I even got there. At any rate, this fried ice cream here is crisp on the outside, and very cold and vanilla-y on the inside. I used a vanilla bean ice cream, and I kind of think it might have been a mistake. I think I needed to go for a plain old vanilla ice cream to really get the taste I have in my mind of the perfect fried ice cream. I'll just have to try again sometime.
I'm glad I took a few minutes to make the whipped cream to go with this too. For some reason, it balanced the flavors of the coating and the sweetness of the vanilla ice cream. I don't know why exactly, but it completed the dish for me. For my first attempt at frying these yesterday, I made a little chocolate ganache to go on top, but it ended up soaking into the corn flake exterior and just didn't look appetizing. It tasted good, but it was not very attractive for the pics here.
So, there you go. My first (well, second) attempt at frying ice cream. Now when I get a craving for it, I know exactly what I need to do.

Fried Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream
  • 2 1/2 cups corn flakes cereal
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • canola oil for frying
  • 2 flour tortillas
  • cinnamon sugar
  • whipped cream

Instructions:
The day before, scoop ice cream into balls, place on a wax-paper lined baking sheet, and freeze 2-6 hours, or until very firm. (Note: I used a large cookie scoop for this. Each scoop measured about 1/4 cup. I ended up with 8 ice cream balls.)
When ice cream balls are firm, start prepping the coating. Place beaten eggs in a shallow bowl/dish. Crush corn flakes cereal until you have smallish pieces, but not pulverized. Mix in the 5 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 to 1 teaspoons cinnamon (depending on your preference for cinnamon). Prepare another baking sheet by lining it with wax paper.
Working with one ice cream ball at a time, roll and press it into the corn flake mixture. Then roll it in the eggs to coat completely. Roll in the corn flake mixture again, making sure to press the coating into the sides to get a nice solid coating. Place coated balls on prepared baking sheet and freeze overnight, until hard--like rock hard. Repeat with remaining ice cream balls.
When coated ice cream balls are hard, leave in the freezer until ready to fry, and get the oil heated and cinnamon crispas made.
Place about 3 inches of canola oil in a medium pot (not any kind of shallow pan--a cooking pot). Heat oil on a burner set to medium-high heat. Prepare a plate by lining it with paper towels (this is for the crispas).
While oil heats, cut the tortillas for the crispas. I cut cute flower shapes today, but you can cut strips, or triangles--whatever works for you. Place a small tortilla scrap in the oil while it heats. When it starts to sizzle and brown, place another small piece in the oil. If it starts to sizzle right away, your oil is ready. Place a few tortillas in there to fry up golden-brown and crispy. Turn when edges are browned, and fry until deep golden brown. Remove to the paper towel lined plate and sprinkle immediately with cinnamon sugar, preferably on both sides. Repeat with remaining crispas.
Once crispas are fried, set them aside and start frying the ice cream, one ball at a time. Leave remaining ice cream balls in the freezer while they wait their turn.
Carefully place a frozen coated ice cream ball into the hot oil and fry for only about 12-15 seconds, turning with a slotted spoon to fry all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel to drain momentarily before putting in a bowl to serve. Top with whipped cream and cinnamon crispa.
Repeat with remaining ice cream balls. 
(Note: I've left most in the freezer and fried a couple a day--the only problem with that is that some of the sugar and corn flakes have stuck to the bottom of the pan and have made ugly black flecks on my fried ice cream. I think my oil was only really okay for two different frying sessions. I'll have to figure this out.)

Makes 8 smallish servings










Sunday, November 2, 2014

Mini Cranberry Orange Scones


Mini Cranberry Orange Scones
I'm making scones today for a women's tea deal at church this afternoon. I already have a post with the full-sized version of these, but I thought it would be more fun to give them a post all their own since there's a little more to the process, and you bake them at a higher temperature. It's taken me a couple of years to realize this, but when you're making a smaller version of a scone like this, it's better to bake it faster at a higher temperature so that they don't dry out. These came out perfectly browned and crisp on the outside, moist and tender on the inside. Just the way I like my cranberry orange scones. They have a definite orange flavor, thanks to both the orange zest and the orange extract; and they are buttery, sweet and fluffy. Mmm. I'm so glad my friend Sherri asked me to bring something today.
These scones are perfect for taking to group events where there will be other baked goods to choose from. They're big enough to enjoy all the flavor--about four or five bites, but they're small enough that people will be able to sample other small goodies as well. 

Cranberry Orange Scones
      --adapted from Epicurous.com

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar (rounded)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon orange extract
  • 1 cup half & half
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. (Parchment isn’t necessary, but it helps.)  
Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda into large bowl. (By "sift" I mean put the ingredients in a large bowl and stir well with a whisk.) Mix in orange peel. 
Add butter and rub in with fingertips, or cut in with a pastry blender, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Mix in dried cranberries. 
Measure half & half into glass measuring cup and add orange extract.   Add half & half, tossing with fork until moist clumps form. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead briefly to bind dough, about 4 turns. 
Cut ball of dough in half.  Form dough into 2 1-inch-thick rounds. Cut into 6 wedges each. Then cut each of those wedges into four wedges (sorry I didn't take a pic of this process--but you can see it at the bottom of my Mini Cake Mix Scones post). Transfer wedges to prepared baking sheets, spacing 1 1/2 inches apart. You should be able to fit 16 on each sheet. Place two sheets in the refrigerator while you work with the first. Brush tops of scones with a little half and half and sprinkle with sugar, if desired.  
Bake at 400°F until tops of scones are golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. Let stand on baking sheet 10 minutes. Serve scones warm or at room temperature.


Makes 48 mini scones

Note: If you are not baking for a crowd, you can freeze these and enjoy one or two at a time for a while. Place cooled scones on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet and place in the freezer for a couple of hours. When they are frozen solid, place in a zip top freezer bag. Reheat them at about 325 degrees Fahrenheit, wrapped loosely in aluminum foil, for about 10-15 minutes. 
Alternately, I've seen that Martha Stewart will freeze the unbaked scones. Click here and see how Martha does it. I have not tried that, but I trust Martha that it works.









01 09