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.
Are you concerned about how much food we waste? I know I am and a good way to stop the waste is to come up with ways to use leftovers that are not boring. Another way to not be wasteful, is to keep track of your food purchases that you keep in the refrigerator and the pantry. The bell peppers that looked so beautiful at the market won’t look that way when you find them in the back of the refrigerator vegetable bin two weeks later.
Recently, I roasted a pan of winter root vegetables and served them with slices of leftover turkey meatloaf. You can see the recipe for the Apple, Sage and Turkey Meatloaf on the post link:
The meatloaf and the roasted vegetables went very well together. Of course, there were plenty of roasted vegetables leftover and I decided to make a Roasted Vegetable Galette with the leftover vegetables for another meal later in the week.
Roasted Root Vegetables
- 4 medium golden beets peeled and quartered
- 6 medium red-skinned potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into eighths
- 2 bunches fresh carrots, tops removed and cut into thirds
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, core removed and cut into eighths
- 6 large cauliflower florets cut from one head
- 2 large garlic cloves, sliced thin
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Several thyme stalks and sage leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Mix together the oil and honey on a large baking sheet with sides. Add the vegetables and garlic and mix until all the vegetables are coated in the oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and distribute the herbs evenly over the vegetables.
Bake for an hour or until the vegetables are tender and browned. Stir the vegetables after about 30 minutes to prevent sticking.
Roasted Vegetable Galette
Tip: Make 2 Galettes – one for dinner and one to freeze. The extra Galette will come in handy on a night you do not feel like cooking. All it needs is a salad. I made a cucumber salad to go with our dinner and it was just right.
One Galette serves 4
- Two prepared 9 inch pastry rounds
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 6 cups diced roasted root vegetables, divided
To assemble the Galettes:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place parchment paper on two large baking sheets with sides.
Place one pastry round on each baking sheet.
Place 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese in the center of each pastry round and top each with 3 cups of the diced roasted vegetables, leaving a 1 ½ inch pastry border.
Brush the uncovered pastry with water.
Fold the border up and over the filling to form a rim, pleating as you go. See photo above.
Bake the Galettes until the crust is golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting. Serve warm.
Wrap the second Galette in heavy duty foil, place in a freezer ziplock bag and freeze.
When you are ready to use the second Galette, place the foil wrapped Galette on a baking sheet in a 400 degree F oven and heat for about 45 minutes. Open the foil and expose the top of the Galette during the last 15 minutes of baking.
Dilled Cucumber Salad
- 2 English cucumbers
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 1/3 cup Greek low-fat yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon agave syrup or honey
- 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh dill, finely chopped or 1 tablespoon dried dill
- 1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar
Halve cucumbers lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out and discard the seeds. Slice crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick pieces.
Toss the cucumbers with 2 teaspoons salt and place them in a colander set over a bowl. Let stand 15 minutes.
In a medium serving bowl, combine the yogurt, dill, vinegar, agave and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
Remove the cucumbers from the colander and pat dry with paper towels. Add to the bowl with the yogurt dressing; toss to combine. Chill until serving time.