Blueberry Scones

Cooking_28Oct12_DSCF1283I was looking for a new scone recipe a while back and saw a recipe for blueberry scones that looked interesting. I have made scones quite a few times in the past, and while usually good, they have never been anything that I would develop a craving for. I usually just ate one, leaving the rest for others to consume. Simply put, in the past, scones have been little more than something to go along with coffee on a cool morning. The recipe I found, however, is entirely different, as I could have happily eaten every scone and every crumb on the baking sheet. They were that good.

On thing about these scones is that they are bit messy to make. They also like to spread out and loose their shape during cooking.  While I shaped and cut this scone recipe, I did it like I would have prepared a traditional scone.  However, when I baked the scones, they spread a bit and became thinner. I have included the somewhat unappetizing looking picture above to show how much this recipe spreads. The original circle was in the center of the Silpat, and the wedges were about 1/2 inch apart. One thing I must note is that the spreading and thinning was in no way a negative.

One thing that you may notice is that there is no sugar added to this recipe with the exception of some sugar sprinkled on top of the scones prior to baking.  It was my opinion that the amount of blueberries that I planned to add would be sweet enough, and I was correct.  The maple glaze also adds sweetness to the recipe. 

So, how did these taste? Like blueberry encrusted pie dough. Light, buttery, and very flaky. These were simply delicious and a joy to eat, especially with the maple glaze.  Oh, with the maple glaze added, they looked great too.

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Recipe:  Blueberry Scones

Ingredients:

Scones:

2 Cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 Teaspoon salt
5 Tablespoons cold butter, cut in chunks
1-1/2 Cups fresh blueberries
1 Cup plus heavy cream

Additional sugar for sprinkling on top prior to baking
Additional heavy cream for brushing top prior to baking

Maple Glaze:

1/3 Cup powdered sugar
1/2 Teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons maple syrup

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line sheet pan with parchment paper or use a Silpat as I did.

Mix all dry ingredients.  Cut in butter until mixture looks like course crumbs.  Fold in the blueberries. Make a well in the blueberry mixture and very gently fold in the heavy cream.  Do not over mix. – I added a bit more cream as my mixture was a bit too dry.  However, this will be a sticky dough.

My suggestion is rather than form the dough into a circle and cut as you would with a traditional scone recipe, form the dough into a circle on a lightly floured surface, cut into wedges, and place the wedges on you cooking surface at least an two inches apart.  Remember, these scones spread.

Brush the scones with heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 17 – 20 minutes or until done – Please note:  With this amount of berries, the dough will still seem moist when done.  Determine doneness by color.

After the scones have cooled, mix all of the maple glaze ingredients until smooth, and drizzle on the scones.

Note:  If you want a sweeter scone, you could add 2 tablespoons sugar to the recipe.

Lemon, Garlic, and Thyme–Roasted Chicken

Cooking_20October12_3001275I was browsing Foodgawker a few weeks ago and found what I thought would be a good recipe for chicken.  I usually simply roast my chicken in a Dutch oven with onions, carrots, and celery, but was looking for something new.  I was a little concerned with the addition of the lemon in the recipe, but decided to give the recipe a try.

The following recipe if for two chickens.

Recipe:  Lemon, Garlic, and Thyme–Roasted Chicken

Ingredients:

2 – Whole Chickens
2 – Lemons
1/3 cup – Olive Oil
4 – Heads Garlic
10 – Baby Onions (1 inch diameter or so)
20 – Sprigs Fresh Thyme

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grate both lemons and combine with olive oil.  Halve and juice both lemons, and add juice to olive oil.  Strip the leaves from half of the sprigs of Thyme, and add the leaves to the olive oil. Add salt and pepper (to taste) to the olive oil mixture.

Separate the cloves from two of the garlic heads.  Cut the other two garlic heads in half.

Place the chickens breast up in a roasting pan, and place the garlic cloves and halves, as well as the lemon halves and onions around the chickens.

Stuff the remaining while Thyme springs in the chicken cavities.

Drizzle the olive oil mixture over the chickens as well as the garlic and onions.  Rub the chickens to ensure the chickens are completely coated in the olive oil mixture.

Cook chickens for approximately 90 minutes or until done. 

Remove from oven and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

Enjoy!

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The cooking time was 88 minutes with an internal temperature of 170. I let the chicken rest for 10 minutes.  In my opinion, the chicken turned out perfectly.  The skin was crispy and the seasoning was almost perfect.  The meat was very moist and juicy, and the legs and thighs, not really my favorite pieces, were excellent.  A perfect chicken.  The only item I may change in the future is that I would add a bit more salt next time.  I added about 1/2 teaspoon, but will increase this to 1 teaspoon.  I am not a salt fan, but this may be a case where more salt is needed.

As I mentioned, I was a bit concerned with the addition of lemon to the recipe, but in this case, the lemon was a fine addition.  While the chicken itself had little or no lemon flavor, the pan drippings had just enough lemon flavor to make a nice sauce to drizzle on the chicken, or as a dipping sauce, which is what I used it for.  The left-overs were wonderful also. 

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Back to Brewing–Cream Stout

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After a summer of not brewing any beer, I have again started to get things going again.  I decided that it would be best to start the new brewing season my making my favorite beer, which is a Cream Stout that I have brewed a few times previously.  The stout has a good amount of roast, and also has a great coffee taste, which is produced by adding 3.5 ounces of ground coffee.  The sweetness and creaminess in the beer comes largely from 8 ounces of lactose, which also adds a nice smoothness when drinking the brew. 

As you can see on the left, I made a small starter for this brew, as I always do.  In the past, I have used Wyeast European Ale yeast (Wyeast 1338), but decided to go with Wyeast Irish Ale yeast (Wyeast 1084) this time.  I also made one major, and hopefully good, change.  I decided not to add my coffee grounds to the boil as I have done in the past, but instead boiled the grounds separately and used a French Press to strain the grounds out of the liquid.  I found that at times, even after a month in primary, a very small amount of coffee grounds would transfer to my bottling bucket, with the possibility of entering the bottle.   Don’t know how this is going to work, but considering the strength of the filtered coffee that I added, it is Brewing_18Oct12_DSCN0197going to work out well.  If the coffee flavor does not come through as I want, I will simply add some more at the end of primary and let it sit for another week or so. 

A few additional changes were a shortened boil time of 90 minutes instead of 120 which I did last time, and a return to Crystal 60L which differs from the 80L that I did with the last brew.  I think both of these changes will be positive taste wise.

The image on the right is my somewhat ghetto setup.  However, it works well in most instances, though the table is also my bottling station, so things get moved around a lot.   Someday, I plan to build a stand and go all electric, and automated, but this has worked for 3 plus years without DSCN0195any issues.  I want to build an electric system, as I do not really like using propane in the garage, an example of which you can see on the left (and you can see our dirty shoes…..).

I pitched yeast at 6:00 PM last night, and the yeast were doing their thing by the time I went to bed at 10:00 PM.  I am hoping to keep the fermenter between 65 and 67 degrees , with 65 degrees being ideal.  This morning it was at 66 degrees.  As usual, I will keep the brew in the primary for 30 days, and check to see if it is finished fermenting – which I am quite sure it will be. 

Now, for the good stuff:

Recipe: Cream (Sweet) Stout – Version 3.1

Boil Size: 7.15 gallons
Batch Size: 5.5 Gallons
Boil time: 90 Minutes
SRM: 29.0
IBU’s: 34.6
Measured Efficiency: 74.40%

Grain:

59.6% – 7 lbs. Pale Malt
12.8% – 1 lb. 8 oz. White Wheat Malt
8.5%   – 1 lb. Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L
6.4%  – 12 oz. Chocolate Malt (350 SRM)
4.3%   –  8 oz. Roasted Barley (350 SRM)
4.3%   -  8 oz. Carapils
4.3%   -  8 oz. Lactose – @ 15 minutes

Hops:

.75 oz. – Magnum (pellet – 32.5 IBU’s) – 60 Minutes
.25 oz. – Magnum (pellet – 2.2 IBU’s) – 5 Minutes

Yeast:

1 pk. – Wyeast #1084 – Irish Ale with 1.5 L starter

Additions:

3.5 oz. Ground Coffee – Boiled, strained, and added to primary.
1/2 tab Whirlflock – 10 Minutes

Last time I brewed this beer, I carbed to 2.7, which was just a bit too much. This time I think I will go for 2.5. I like my beers highly carbed, usually in excess of the guidelines, but 2.7 was high – great head though.  

I seem to be stuck on stouts and porters, so am planning for a cream ale next brew, with rice and corn additions – a nice session beer, or possibly a nice Amber Ale.  After that, a Black IPA, a smoked porter with home smoked grain (Cherry wood?), a regular IPA, and then maybe a light Belgian, though I think I am done with Belgian’s.  Just am not Belgian’s as much as I once did.

Bear!

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Saw this critter while running down the East Glacier Trail.  He did not want to move, so we decided we would go the other way. Went back the next week and it looks like he plowed the ground up, looking for bugs or something to fatten him up for the winter.