Category Archives: Desserts

Cardamom Orange Scones

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Cardamom, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.

In all seriousness, people.  Cardamom and I have a love affair going back years.  I love the smell of it, it makes me feel warm and fuzzy- like a big fluffy sweater right out of the dryer in January.

I’ve used it in everything.  Pancakes, muffins, cinnamon rolls, banana bread, curry, tea, coffee.  If I can make it, I try to add cardamom at least once.

And now for some sad news: I tipped my jar of fairly expensive cardamom right out of the cupboard and it fell to the ground with a SMASH.  Cardamom everywhere.

Confession time:  I cleaned up the mess, but saved some of the cardamom.  Yes, it hit the floor.  And I cooked with it.  Gasp.  Someone call the authorities, I used a spice that fell on my (freshly steam cleaned) floor.

Because I wanted to use it rather than throw it out, I had to come up with something quick.

I chose scones.

Obviously, the lot of you that gasped and muttered and whispered to each other about how “Scones aren’t quick!  That’s crazy!” have never made scones.

Sure, you can make it complicated with heavy cream and cutting butter into the ingredients and blah blah blah.  Ain’t no mama got time for that!  Try this recipe on for size.  If I could come up with this while my toddler napped, then they have to be quick.

If you’re feeling particularly naughty, top these with a the Rum Icing recipe at the bottom.  If you’re enjoying them for breakfast, skip the icing.  Or don’t.  Your call.

Cardamom Orange Scones (With Rum Icing)

Ingredients (Makes 8 wedges)scones
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar (less if you like a more traditional scone)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
a little salt
6 tablespoons butter, very cold or frozen
1 egg
1/2 cup milk of choice (I use whole)
1 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
Orange zest (optional)

Preheat oven to 400*

1. Mix your flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices into a large bowl.
2. Using a cheese grater, grate the hard butter into the bowl with the dry ingredients and toss it all together.  Let the butter stay in shreds, it makes everything flaky and delicious.  (Alternatively, cut the cold butter into the flour using a pastry cutter.)
3. Crack the egg into a measuring cup, then measure your milk into it to the 1/2 cup line.  Put your orange extract into the cup and whisk it all together.
4. Pour your wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients.  Stir until it is all mixed in, then knead briefly until it all comes together.  Sprinkle more flour into the dough if it seems too sticky and unmanageable.
5.  Shape your dough into a thick disk shape, place on a buttered (or otherwise greased) baking sheet and cut into 8 wedges most of the way through the dough, leaving the dough still connected.
6. Bake at 400* for 12 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350* for another 8-10 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned on top.

If you’re feeling particularly naughty, top them with this Rum Icing from King Arthur Flour.

Rum Icing
(Adapted slightly from King Arthur Flour)

1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 to 2 tablespoons rum
~1 tablespoon milk or heavy cream

Blend softened butter and sugar, then add rum a tablespoon at a time.  This is pretty thick, so if you prefer an icing for drizzling (I do), thin with heavy cream or milk a little at a time until it’s to your desired consistency.  Or, skip the butter and use 1 tablespoon of milk, adding a little at a time until you get your desired consistency.

Oops! (And Vegan Shortcake.)

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Wow, holy blogging hiatus, Batman!  You know what I’ve learned in the last 4 1/2 months?  Babies. Babies are hardJust when I think I’ve got him figured out, BAM!!  Napping boycott, purple crying, 4 month wakeful period, wonder weeks.

Why didn’t people tell me about these things before I had a baby?  Before I had a baby it was all “Oh, you should have a baby.  They are such blessings.  Babies change your life.  Things will never be the same after you have a baby!”

If by “never be the same” they meant “you’ll never sleep again.” then they were right!

Brian teased me.  He slept like a trooper for a month and a half just after his 10 week mark.  Then BAM, 4 month wakeful period.  Everything was more interesting than sleeping, which led to an overtired baby, which caused some serious screaming matches. (Vicious cycle.)

My dreams of sewing clothes, baking magnificent pies, and keeping my house pristine while he napped away like a little angel quickly faded.  Actually, they didn’t so much fade as they exploded in my face.  Large, loud, depressing fireworks of realization, exactly where my quaint dreams had once rested.

Now that I’ve got a handle on all of that madness, I’ve been a busy little mommy-bee.  I’ve figured out how to get Brian to nap, even if he’s screaming at me so loud that I think my eardrums may burst.  White noise is my friend.  Very loud, very annoying white noise.  I bought The First Years Sounds of Silence White Noise Machine thinking “Eh, it will be good to have.  If nothing else, it has a built in night light and I can hook my iPod up to it.”  Oh my.  Life.Saver.  You have no idea.  I turn it on and stick it next to his head and he stops crying.  Then he stares at the blinking power light and his eyelids slowly. drift. shut.  Then, he lets out a huge sigh, throwing his head to the side.  I think “Oh, nonono.  Don’t wake up.  Take a nap.  Pleeease, take a nap.”

But it is just a final release of the tension he had been holding inside his little body.  Just one final, relaxing reflex before he snoozes.

Nap times are still a crapshoot.  Sometimes I get 20 minutes out of him.  Sometimes 45.  Then there are the glorious (but far too uncommon) hour and a half naps that appear just as I think I’m about to crash for good.  Those naps.  Yes.  Those glorious naps.  Those are the naps that allow me to take out my measuring cups and hope for the best as I try to figure out just how on Earth I can invent a delicious, vegan shortcake.

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Vegan Strawberry Shortcake

Makes 6 shortcakes

Preheat the oven to 375*
Grease a baking sheet

1 Cup Flour
1 Tablespoon Sugar
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
1/2 Cup Butter Substitute (I used Earth Balance)
1/2 Tablespoon Ground Flax Seed + 1 1/2 Tablespoon Water
1/3 Cup Dairy Substitute (I used Soymilk)

Mix the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.

Using a pasty cutter, cut the butter substitute into the dry ingredients until it is the size of little peas.

Add the soymilk and flax mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until blended.  The dough should be lumpy.

Plop the dough onto your prepared baking sheet.  They look rustic and wonderful.  Don’t worry about shaping them.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until they just begin to turn a golden brown on top.

Top with a mixture of berries, any kind you like!  I like to sprinkle a little bit of sugar over my berries and let them sit in the fridge to get nice and juicy.

To make it really fancy, throw some Coconut Whipped Cream on top!  One of my baking idols, Pastry Affair, has a great recipe here.