Baking Bible post: Flaky Cream Cheese Scones

Scones were the perfect choice this week because school starts Wednesday,  and I want to have some grab-and-go food on hand for my teens, who hate getting up in the morning. I usually try to make something with whole wheat and maybe a little less milkfat, but getting up for the bus is painful, and these scones will give them motivation to get moving those first few days. Back to baking, and milkfat in particular; I started with whipped cream, then cut in cream cheese, added chunks of flattened butter, then mixed everything together into a happy, flaky (well, proto-flaky) dough.

whipped cream 2048x1536

batter all cut in 1810x1358batter with cream cheese 2048x1536





Look below for the whipped cream on top. I think it looks a little like Jabba the Hutt.  See that little bit of yellow between the two leftmost blobs? That’s lemon oil, substituting for zest. Much easier to stock, and saves me the guilt-inducing sight of zested lemons slowly drying in my fruit drawer.

dough in pan 920x1228
Here’s the dough shaped in a nice even disk thanks to the cake pan.


unmixed batter 1810x1355

and all cut into pieces, ready for the oven.

cut dough 1164x872 scones unbaked iii 848x1126

Remember those grade B knife skills? Well, here’s what happened this week:

scones baked 1943x1461

I’m not sure why the bigger scones are darker, especially since I had the convection on, but the uneven sizes are a direct result of my happy-go-lucky way with a knife. On the positive side, I was careful to refrigerate the cream cheese, butter, and even the flour mixture and the bowl for the whipped cream as directed, so my scones were light and flaky. I went out for coffee with my husband earlier in the week and froze a scone from the coffee shop so I could compare and contrast. The homemade version was infinitely better.


Baking Bible post: Woody’s Black and White Brownies

First step when preparing to bake; make sure you have all the ingredients. Cream cheese? Check. And check, and check. There are certain items my husband reaches for reflexively when he’s at the supermarket. Cream cheese is one of them.

bounteous cream cheese 3648x2736

No need to put cream cheese on the shopping list!

butter melting in chocolate on the way to becoming brownies
butter melting in chocolate on the way to becoming brownies

adding flour 3648x2736 adding cream 3648x2736

nekked brownies, uncovered top and bottom.
nekkid brownies, uncovered top and bottom.
Now there's foil!
Now there’s foil! And frosting!

I baked the brownies in a Pyrex pan with pan spray and flour, but I didn’t line the pan with foil like I was supposed to. After the brownies were baked, I turned them out onto a rack, lined the pan with foil and returned the brownies to the pan for frosting. That allowed me to remove the panful of brownie so I could cut it up without injuring the frosting. Or at least without causing mortal damage. My knife skills are in the solid B range, as you see below.

love the contrast here

The frosting got even shinier later
The frosting got even shinier later

I like food with with different textures, so this recipe looked promising. Chewy dense brownies with nuts and two kinds of topping! I loved the brownie part of these brownies. Putting cream cheese actually IN the brownie is genius. The result is a brownie that tastes cheesecake-like. They look lovely. Making the white chocolate buttercream was a new experience; I’ve never made buttercream with a custard base. And they look stunning, even when the knife is wielded by someone with grade B skillz.

All of that said, the effort:reward ratio was high. I’d make the unadorned brownies again, but the taste of white chocolate was diluted by the butter in the buttercream, which was overshadowed by ganache. Finally, the texture of the ganache and the buttercream was almost identical, so the taste experience was dense, delicious chocolate brownie with sweet, creamy richness on top. Enjoyable, but I’d rather spend the time baking a fruit galette.