This time of year is great for baking. Spring has its own flavor profiles. Winter is a time for cinnamon, nutmeg, spice and chocolate. Spring is the time to shed those heavy flavors and transition to lighter flavors such as citrus, herbs and berries. This is the time to lighten up desserts and have a little fun trying out new flavor combinations. I do all our baking – breads and desserts- but I don’t like very sweet things, so our breads and desserts tend to be on the savory side or fruit based.
These are not your typical scones. Instead of butter, the recipe uses cream. I serve them with lemon curd. You can also dust them with powdered sugar before serving.
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 10 ounces dried figs, diced small
- 2 cups heavy cream, cold
- ¼ cup honey
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the diced figs.
In a small bowl, whisk together the heavy cream and honey.
Using a wooden spoon, stir the heavy cream mixture into the flour mixture, stirring just until the ingredients are moistened.
Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently until a soft dough forms, sprinkling more flour in if needed. Divide the dough into two equal balls.
Working with one at a time, pat each one into an 8-inch circle and cut into 8 triangles. Transfer the triangles to the prepared baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Pecan Sourdough Bread
- 1 cup (about 8 ounces) fed sourdough starter, room temperature
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 cup pumpernickel flour
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 2 cups chopped pecans
Mix all of the ingredients (except the nuts) in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment until the dough comes together. Switch to the dough hook attachment.
Add the nuts, kneading until they’re evenly incorporated and the dough is smooth and elastic.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise for 2 hours.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a long loaf. Place the log into a long stoneware baker that has been lined with parchment.
Cover the loaf, and let it rise for 1 hour, or until it springs back very slowly when lightly pressed.
Place the covered stoneware baker into a cold oven, set the oven to 400°F and bake for 40 minutes. Take the cover off and cook an additional 10-15 minutes.
Check the bread. The internal temperature should be about 190°F when measured on an instant-read thermometer. If not, bake for a few minutes longer.
Remove the bread from the oven and cool it on a rack. Yield: 1 loaf.
1 (9″) refrigerated pie crust, at room temperature or make the cream cheese pastry recipe below
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
- 8 ounces cold cream cheese, diced
- 1 tablespoon cold milk
- 3 cups blackberries
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup sugar, plus 1 teaspoon
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 egg lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water
In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt and thyme and pulse about 5 times to evenly distribute the thyme. Add butter and pulse until it is the size of peas.
Add cream cheese and pulse until a dough begins to form. Add milk and pulse until the dough comes together. Form the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour.
Preheat an oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out into a 12-inch round. Fold the round in half, transfer to the prepared baking sheet and unfold the round.
In a bowl, lightly stir together the berries, lemon juice, ¼ cup sugar and flour.
Spoon the filling onto the dough, leaving a 2-inch border uncovered around the edge.
Fold the edge up and over the filling, forming loose pleats.
Brush dough with the egg wash and sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar.
Bake until the filling is bubbling and the pastry is golden brown, about 25 minutes.
Transfer the galette to a wire rack and let cool. Cut into wedges and serve with whipped cream or frozen yogurt.
Lemon Rosemary Zucchini Bread
This savory bread goes very well with scrambled eggs or an omelet.
- 3 cups (390 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoons salt (omit if you use salted butter)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 3 cups grated zucchini (from about 1 pound of zucchini), squeezed dry
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Coat a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray and dust the bottom with flour.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and rosemary.
Beat the eggs in a mixer until frothy. Beat in the sugar. Beat in the melted butter, olive oil and milk. Stir in the lemon zest and grated zucchini.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet, a third at a time, stirring after each incorporation.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 60-70 minutes. If you gently press down on the surface of the loaf, it should bounce back and a bamboo skewer or toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.
Remove the pan from the oven. Let cool for a few minutes and then remove the loaf from the pan to cool on a rack.
Healthy Fruit and Oat Bars
These easy-to-make granola bars are lower in fat than many commercial snack bars and don’t have any of the additives or preservatives. I store them individually in zip-lock snack bags in the freezer. My husband is a golfer and he loves to put one in his bag on golfing days.
- ½ cup refrigerated egg substitute or 2 eggs
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups oats
- 1 cup dried fruit (apricots, berries, cranberries, etc.) chopped
- 1 cup walnuts or nuts of choice, chopped
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ½ cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Use a silicone dessert bar pan and coat with cooking spray. Place the pan on a cookie sheet
In a large bowl, whisk the egg substitute, brown sugar, oil, cinnamon, salt and vanilla extract.
Stir in the oats, dried fruit, nuts and flour.
Divide the mixture evenly in the pan and flatten each slightly with a spatula.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool; turn out.
Put each bar in a zip-lock snack bag and place bags in a larger freezer bag to store in freezer.