Bacon, Chive, and Cheddar Scones

I made this recipe over the summer, somewhat successfully but I actually lacked the proper amount of chives that the recipe called for. Last week, I got a massive bunch of chives within my CSA box and immediately thought of this recipe to put them to use. A quick side note on CSA boxes! Over the summer, I worked in food systems and nutrition research and found out that CSA boxes were not only a great way to help a local farm but they also help you to reduce the carbon footprint of your food because it is sourced locally and it has helped me a ton in my journey to become a better cook. CSA stands for community supported agriculture and it’s much more common that I had previously thought. The pandemic has actually increased interest in this and many farms are unable to keep up with the demand!!!

It was hard to find an open slot when I came back to school in the fall but I’ve been getting a weekly “Ugly” share from Moon Valley Farm which delivers to various locations in Baltimore. My share or box usually contains various vegetables with the occasionally bunch of fruit and it has encouraged me to really broaden my culinary horizons. One of the veggies that has come pretty consistently in my boxes the past few weeks is okra, which I had never ever cooked or eaten. Now, I’m enjoying an okra and tomato stew for lunch that I never could have made a few months ago! I really enjoy my CSA box but I also have the time to dissect and cook through my whole box. It can be really tough at first but I have learned a lot and love getting my box every week. I encourage everyone to look into purchasing locally sourced agriculture in any form, not just from a CSA. It both reduces your carbon footprint and encourages you to eat seasonally! Although, I am still tempted by the sales of pineapple and lemons from far-away countries so even my food purchasing process has quite a bit of leeway!

Back to the baking aspect of this blog! This recipe is based off a recipe that came in my King Arthur Scone pan that was a Christmas gift from my lovely parents. I did make a few changes to the recipe to fit it to what I had in the fridge and to lighten up the recipe a little. American scones are a pretty heavy affair, full of butter and cream. Because I had some frozen low fat buttermilk, I defrosted that and used it in the recipe and it worked out really well! I often have to buy dairy for recipes but I don’t really drink it or use it in other recipes so I’ve taken to freezing it in specific quantities and defrosting it as needed. Fresh dairy is always preferable but if I’ve learned anything from the pandemic, it’s that you must be flexible! On a college budget, I’m always looking for ways to stretch my grocery budget and my freezer has been the greatest thing ever for helping me do that. I also substituted the regular bacon for turkey bacon. It’s not as greasy and I think it adds plenty of flavor without some of the fat. I’ll put the original recipe guidance down below in parentheses next to my additions. I really recommend not doing the recipe if you don’t have enough chives or green onions. The two are interchangeable and you could probably even use half of each if you don’t have enough of them individually. They really add just a subtle onion flavor that complements the overall scone. These come together super quickly and are a delicious breakfast treat! They can also be frozen and baked at will, just freeze the dough before you get to the step where you brush them with buttermilk/cream. Let me know if you try the recipe in the comments below and happy baking!

Bacon, Chive, and Cheddar Scone Recipe

  • 241 grams (2 cups) All Purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 14 grams (1 tablespoon) baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar (offsets bitterness of baking powder, please use)
  • 57 grams (4 tablespoons) cold, unsalted butter
  • 113 grams (1 cup) coarsely grated or diced cheddar cheese
  • 14 grams (1/3 cup) chopped fresh chives
  • 227 grams (1/2 pound) turkey bacon, cooked, cooled, and crumbled (original recipe calls for regular bacon)
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons low-fat buttermilk (original recipe calls for heavy cream)
  1. Preheat oven to 425F with a rack in the middle or upper third of the oven. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together the flour, slat, baking powder, and sugar. Work the butter into the flour mixture until the mix is unevenly crumbly with the butter in pea sized pieces.
  3. Mix in cheese, chives, and bacon until evenly distributed.
  4. Add 3/4 cup of buttermilk or cream, stirring to combine. Try to squeeze the dough together and if it won’t stay cohesive, add a little more buttermilk or cream.
  5. Transfer dough to lined cookie sheet and pat into a 7 inch disk about 3/4 inch thick. Use a knife or bench scraper to cut the disk into 8 wedges. Separate these wedges a little and brush them lightly with buttermilk or cream.
  6. Bake scones in the middle or upper third of oven for 22-24 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and cool them in the pan they were baked.

BA’s Buttermilk Biscuits

These WONDERFUL biscuits came into my life this past weekend through a happy grocery store accident. My dad has been shopping for the family more frequently and accidentally purchased some buttermilk when he was really in search of 2% milk. Accidents happen and my mom and I spent the weekend thinking of ways to use the rainfall of buttermilk that we found ourselves with! These were actually made with the last of the buttermilk and I ended up adding a little bit of regular milk + lemon juice in order to get to a full cup of buttermilk. These were delicious and a pleasant surprise after my series of biscuit falls.

Like most types of pastry, you have to be more delicate when handling biscuits in order to prevent the butter from melting prematurely and preventing flaky goodness. I try my hardest but always seem to fall short of the buttery layers that I find in commercially baked biscuits. This recipe has a fool-through method for creating layers, one that seems so simple I wish I had thought of it myself.

I don’t generally use Bon Appétit recipes because I find that they normally don’t work out very well when combined with my hodgepodge of kitchen know-how. This is absolutely the exception for me. This recipe is accessible and easy to pull off even with limited kitchen knowledge. One part of this recipe that I found indispensable is the food processor. Using the processor to pulse the butter works really well to let the chilled butter stay that way and not melt from the heat of your hands. I have a really small food processor so I ended up pulsing in two batches. I’m not sure if a regular blender would do the trick but you’re welcome to try! If you have neither, you can try the more traditional route of rubbing the butter in or using a knife/fork to break up the butter. Either way, I know that you’ll get a delicious biscuit in under an hour, a miracle in itself!

Buttermilk Biscuit Recipe

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 1/2 cup All Purpose flour
  • 226 grams chilled, unsalted butter, cubed (1 cup)
  • 1 cup chilled buttermilk
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F
  2. Pulse baking powder, sugar, salt, baking soda, and flour in a food processor until mixed.
  3. Add chilled butter and pulse until the mixture becomes crumbly and sand like with the butter the size of peas.
  4. Transfer to a large bowl and drizzle buttermilk while tossing the ingredients with a fork to incorporate.
  5. Knead a few times within the bowl until a shaggy, dry dough forms. This may take a few more kneads than you think but make sure that the mix stays together before you turn it out.
  6. Turn out onto a clean, floured surface and pat into a 1″ thick square.
  7. Using a bench scraper or sharp knife, cut the dough into four pieces. Stack these pieces and press to flatten.
  8. Lift the dough and flour underneath then roll out into a 1″ thick rectangle. The thickness is key to height, it will still be flaky if rolled thinner but may look sad.
  9. For neatness, you can trim a border around the rectangle for clean edges. Cut rectangle into a 4×3 grid to make twelve biscuits. Re-use scraps at your own discretion, they won’t have the same layers but can be used.
  10. Freeze for 10 minutes.
  11. Brush tops with melted butter and bake for 20-25 minutes or until light golden on top.
  12. Cool and enjoy! Mine kept for a few days in an airtight container but they taste amazing fresh out of the oven.

Blueberry Pie

For the Fourth of July (I know this post is wee bit behind the curve) I decided to tackle pie! I’ve never liked pie all that much but I know that it’s revered as an American classic by many, including my boyfriend. The only pie I can remember enjoying was my cousin’s strawberry and rhubarb pie that had crunch but still melted in the mouth.

I ventured into the realm of fruit pie for the fourth with the help of Los Angeles food writer, Ben Mims. In the food section from the Los Angeles times, Mr. Mims extolled the virtue of this simply made blueberry pie and I had to try it. Be warned, this pie took three days from start to finish. It’s not a particularly complicated recipe but it takes a long time to set. Mr. Mims was also very specific on the way certain things should be done such as the washing of the blueberries and the preparation of the crust and I followed his directions to a T.

On July 2nd, I made the crust and on the 3rd, I made the filling. Following the recommendation of Mr. Mims, I allowed the pie to set overnight before serving it for our Fourth of July lunch. I was pleasantly surprised by the positive reaction of my family because we are collectively not big on pie. I found that the amount of cornstarch was slightly overwhelming and made the blueberry gel too jelly-like but my mother thought it was just fine. I found that if made again, I would make some minor modifications but for now, here is the recipe for my lovely Fruit Pie for the Fourth of July.

Blueberry Pie Recipe

For the Crust

  • 1 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter cut into 1/2″ cubes, (113 grams)

For the Filling

  • 2 pounds and 2 ounces blueberries, cleaned
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 3/4 cup filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Topping

  • 12 ounces cold heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

To Make the Crust

  1. Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add butter and use fingers to rub the butter in until the mixture forms pea sized crumbles (can use the food processor to do this as well)
  2. Add 1/3 cup ice water and toss the mixture with a fork until it begins to come together.
  3. Turn out the crumbly mass and pat together. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.
  4. Unwrap the dough and roll out to an 11″ circle that is 1/8″ thick. Flour this circle and roll it around the rolling pin.
  5. Let the dough fall over the 9″ pie plate or tin, letting gravity pull the dough down to fill in the tin. Don’t push the dough in, the thinness of the dough means that it may rip if you do so.
  6. Trim the dough until there is 1/2″ of dough left hanging around the edges of the pie plate. Fold this additional dough over the rim of the pie plate, creating a double layer of crust at the top. Crimp with fingers or a fork and freeze for 30 minutes.
  7. Heat the oven to 425F and crumple up some aluminum foil. Reflatten the ball and place it over the frozen pie crust. Add in about 4 cups of pie weights or rice or lentils to where the entire pie crust is filled (I did not do this and part of my crust slipped down, see the above picture)
  8. Bake crust until the edges turn light brown, about 25 minutes.
  9. Remove the crust from the oven in order to remove the pie weights. Turn the temperature down to 375F and bake for another 20 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom. Transfer to a wire rack to cool

For the Filling

  1. Reserve 1/3 cup of blueberries and place the rest in a large bowl.
  2. In a saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in the filtered water and mix until smooth. Add the reserved blueberries. Place the pan over medium-high heat and cook until the mix thickens to a stiff gel, about 5 minutes.
  3. Once thickened, stir gel to break up blueberries to color the gel about one minute more. The gel should turn a dark magenta.
  4. Remove the gel from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and vanilla extract while still hot.
  5. Pour the gel over the large bowl of blueberries and use a large rubber spatula to fold the gel into the blueberries until they are fully coated.
  6. Immediately spoon the filling into the cooled pie crust, mounding it up slight. In between spoonfuls, stir the blueberries to make sure the gel doesn’t coagulate on the bottom.
  7. Smooth the berries and let cool while preparing the topping

For the Topping

  1. Beat the heavy whipping cream, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form. Once the blueberry filling is cooled, top with the whipped cream and decorate as desired. You can pipe it out over the filling for a neater look or pile it on the filling for a more rustic look.

Sourdough Discard Popovers

These popovers are a treat and not particularly difficult to make. This is one of many sourdough discard recipes that I have in my book because of the discard constantly produced by my sourdough mother, Sarah. During the summer, I’ve been working on a remote research internship and I have 7am calls twice a month which is awful even for a morning person. I motivated myself to wake up on time for the meeting this past week by promising myself that I could make these lovely popovers! The longest part of the recipe is the actual baking time; the ingredients take no time at all to combine. The recipe does require a little bit of planning as the popover molds (or muffins tins if you’re not willing to buy another baking pan like me!) need to heat up in the oven as it heats up in order to create the giant puff in these popovers.

This recipe is from King Arthur’s Flour which has a wonderful collection of recipes for sourdough discard. These are a really yummy way to combine both protein (from the eggs) and carbs in a meal and they are a favorite of my parents. I make popovers in my muffin tins because I don’t have a popover tin and I actually find the size from the muffin tins to be more satisfying to eat.

These popovers are also sweet because of the cinnamon-sugar glaze on top. I used to make savory popovers using cheese powder and fresh herbs with the occasional bacon bit but found that all of those additions retarded the growth in the oven. The savory additions also often sank to the bottom of the tin and burned which was not pleasant to eat. Also, the King Arthur site calls for these to be eaten immediately but I find that while they do deflate a little after the first day, they are still good to eat for several days as long as they are stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

Sourdough Discard Popover Recipe

Popover Batter

  • 227 grams 2% milk (1 cup)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 113 grams discard starter, unfed (1/2 cup)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 120 grams All-Purpose flour (1 cup)

Cinnamon-Sugar Glaze

  • 35 grams granulated sugar (1/4 cup)
  • 2-2 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (This is a personal preference, I err on the side of 2 1/2 tsp because I like a LOT of cinnamon)
  • 2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter (I use Kerrygold or various local brands that make butter in the European style)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450F with muffin or popover tins inside.
  2. Warm milk in the microwave for about a minute or until slightly warm to touch. You can use a saucepan on the stove, I don’t in order to limit the amount of dishes I produce.
  3. Combine warm milk with eggs, starter discard, and salt. Mix with a whisk, you may have to beat it vigorously if you have a thicker discard.
  4. Mix in flour. It’s okay if you have lumps, you don’t need to try and beat them all out because it’s difficult to do.
  5. Remove hot tins from the oven and spray with nonstick spray (baking or cooking works fine). Fill cups all the way for a muffin tin or about 3/4s of the way for popover tins. Make sure you alternate cups if using a muffin tin because the popovers expand a LOT.
  6. Bake at 450F for 15 minutes then lower the oven temperature to 375F and bake for 15-20 minutes or until popovers are golden brown. (I’ve found that 20 minutes at 375 cause my popovers to burn.)
  7. While popovers are in the oven, mix together sugar and cinnamon. Melt butter into liquid.
  8. Remove popovers from the tins and coat with butter then roll in cinnamon-sugar. Once topped, serve immediately or let cool and place into an airtight container. For best taste, eat the same day.

Sourdough Discard Bagels

My very first post inspired by these lovely beauties! Yesterday, I was able to formulate a recipe on my own for the first time. I’ve baked loads and have branched out into cooking but I’ve always felt too nervous to try and invent my own recipe but here it is! I’ve been working a lot with sourdough the past few months, it seems like its the theme for my whole experience in quarantine because I’ve been caring for it so freaking much! I had some idea of how much time goes into maintaining your sourdough starter but I hadn’t realized that this time commitment also applies to every single bake you make from your mother or starter. With resources (specifically flour) having been very scarce in some parts of the country recently, I’ve felt that it was a tremendous waste to throw my discard down the sink. I’ve also been working on food sustainability research and this has further underlined the need to commit to less wasteful lives. So with this all in mind, I’ve been trying to make my sourdough discard go further and this is one way to do it.

I also took inspiration from the Washington Post’s article on Sourdough Discard (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/voraciously/wp/2020/05/22/heres-how-to-use-your-sourdough-discard-in-everyday-baking/) and this was my first successful attempt to incorporate my discard into a baked good without following a recipe from another baker. Without further ado, here are photos of my darling bagels and the recipe is below!

Sourdough Discard Bagel Recipe

For the Bagel Dough

  • 2 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 134 grams sourdough discard (unfed)
  • 380 grams lukewarm water
  • 35 grams malted milk powder (This can be found in the cereal aisle of the grocery store or you can use non-diastatic malt powder if you have it. Do not use diastatic malt powder because it will react with the sour in the discard and your bagels will taste funny)
  • 25 grams granulated sugar
  • 14 grams kosher salt
  • 630 grams All-Purpose flour

For the Water Bath

  • Medium or Large Saucepan (Use a shallow pan but one large enough to hold all the water)
  • 2 quarts water (8 cups for people like me that have a hard time with measuring things)
  • 2 tablespoons malted milk powder
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. Mix all the ingredients together and knead until smooth and elastic. You may need to add in a small amount of flour if the discard that you are using is more on the liquid side. If you decide to add in flavoring such as fresh or powdered herbs, now is the time to do so.
  2. Roll into a ball and place into a greased bowl. Let prove for 1 hour up to 1 1/2 hours. I test my dough to see if it’s done proofing by sticking my finger in and seeing if the impression stays put or springs back. If it springs back, the dough can continue to prove for a little longer.
  3. Preheat oven to 425F and line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper. Mix ingredients for the bagel bath and add to a saucepan, bringing it to a boil.
  4. Turn out dough from greased bowl and divide into 16 for small bagels or 12 for larger bagels.
  5. To shape the dough, roll it into a ball. Stick two fingers into flour then poke them into the center of your dough ball. Make sure they come out the other side of the bagel and you can sort of twirl the dough ball around your floured fingers to enlarge the center hole. Alternatively, you can use the older method for bagel shaping where you roll the divided dough sections into logs and you bring the ends together like you are making a wreath. This is slightly more complicated and if you take this method, you may need to practice on a few before it starts to look right. I’ve found the poking and twirling method to be the most fool-proof although the holes are usually smaller by the end.
  6. Place your shaped dough onto parchment and bring the whole sheet over to the stove top. Turn the boiling bagel bath down to a simmer and place your bagels in the water. You should let your bagel sit in the bath for about a minute each, 30 seconds per side. Place only 3-4 bagels in the bath at a time to prevent crowding.
  7. Once bathed, remove the bagels to the parchment and season as you like. I use Everything seasoning but you can really go nuts here, my only recommendation is that you use a dry seasoning.
  8. Once bathed and seasoned, put the bagels into the oven for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. I find that my bagels take anywhere from 20-30 minutes depending on how happy my oven is that day.
  9. Let cool on a wire rack and enjoy! I find that they last several days in an airtight container or can be frozen to be enjoyed later.