Monday, September 3, 2012

Apple Toast Crunch Pie

My dear friends, family, and fellow foodies,
I am completely aware of my inconsistent posts and have absolutely no explanation as to why I've been neglecting Bites of Berkeley for so long. Actually, yes I do. The past six months have been insane! Aside from being ridiculously broke, I've moved four times, graduated college, applied to numerous jobs to pay off my outstanding debt, and simply enjoyed summer away from school for the very first time in my life. Long story short, I've been "getting my shit together" as my mother prefers to phrase it. My baking has become more sporadic and less predetermined i.e. vegan oatmeal apple peanut butter cookies that even the homeless man outside my Oakland apartment tried. His verdict - "They nasty. They need chocolate." Word, dude. Maybe next time I'll ask him to lend a home girl a couple bucks to better fit his needs. Anyway, back to the point. My mom just recently had her '12th Annual 40th Birthday,' also known as her 52nd birthday. My mom prefers very few, though very particular things in life. My mom likes her bike. She likes her cat. She likes things most White middle-aged lesbian women like. You know, farmers markets and weird rocks. It can be quite a challenge introducing my mom to things I think she'd like, so I don't. I stick with what I know she loves, and since I can't afford a signed copy of 'Janis Joplin's Greatest Hits,' I'll make her an apple pie. I know, completely sufficient. I made my own crust using this recipe only because I had enough butter to satisfy both Paula Dean and Ina Garten, but the pre-made variety is also appropriate and far less time consuming.


Also, I noticed I was out of cinnamon while nearly done with the filling - possibly the most essential spice in apple pie. My neighbors are total crackheads and I was worried cinnamon might be code for some illegal narcotic, so I just worked with what I had - a handful of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and the remaining quarter-inch of cinnamon sugar at the bottom of the bag. Surprisingly enough, it worked. It made the filling more thick, not overly sweet, and gave it a really nice texture. Obviously an intentional move. All in all, my mom loved the pie and I still had a few bucks left over to purchase the latest Food Network magazine. Utilizing my lack of currency has really inspired some really over-the-top and often unpleasant recipes, but this was one of the best yet. Enjoy!

Apple Toast Crunch Pie: Yields 1 
  • 1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1 1/2 pounds Pink Lady (or any red) apples - peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, plus one tablespoon to sprinkle on top
  • 1/2 cup Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, crushed, plus remaining cinnamon sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water, for egg wash 
  • 1 package frozen pre-made pie crust

1) Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In the mean time, roll out half the pie dough and place it in a 9" pie pan, allowing the edges to drape over a bit. Place the pan back in the refrigerator until ready to fill.

2) Slice the Granny Smith and Pink Lady apples into quarters. Each quarter should then be cut into three equal slices.

2) Combine the zests, juices, sugar, flour, and salt. Once combined, add the apple slices and coat evenly.

3) Crush the Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal in a ziploc bag along with the remaining cinnamon sugar on the bottom. Even pieces are not necessary, just make sure it's mostly powder with tiny bits and pieces. Add the crushed cereal to the apples and again coat evenly.

4) Remove the pie pan from the refrigerator and fill it with the apple mixture. Using your egg wash, brush the edges of the pie crust so it will better adhere to the top.

5) Roll out the other half of the pie dough and drape over the top. Using your finger tips, pinch the edges together and trim the remaining edges. Crimp the edges of the pie with a fork to ensure it is completely sealed. Brush the entire top crust with the egg wash and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sugar. Then cut 5 or 6 slits in the middle of the pie to allow steam to release.

6) Bake pie on a sheet pan for 45 minutes to an hour, or until golden brown.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Alfajores

The other night, I posted a Facebook update on my Bites of Berkeley fan page (like it!) asking for inspiration for prospective dessert recipes. From a handful of creative and delicious ideas , a friend of mine posted something I’d never heard of. “Alfajores?” I asked my boyfriend, while putting extra emphasis on the ‘J’ (white girl problems) “Wait.. What are those?” to which he responded “I don’t know, but they’re hella good.”  Thanks babe. “Hella good” is always a great start to a new dessert idea. They’re yummy, buttery little biscuits filled with dulce de leche (caramel, for all you honkies out there) and covered with powdered sugar. 


The best part about eating these cookies is getting powdered sugar all over your lips and pretending to be Dave Chappelle, and yelling quotes like “SHAZAM!” while uncontrollably scratching your neck. Long live Tyrone Biggums! 


Alfajores - Yields 16 sandwiches
  • 1 ¾ flour (may need two dependent upon consistency)
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup butter at room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg plus 2  egg yolks
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract and ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 can dulce de leche (found in the international foods section)

1)  Mix butter with sugar until creamed.  Add eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla until combined and a smooth batter is achieved.

2)  In a separate bowl, mix the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt (make sure they are thoroughly combined). Add the dry ingredients slowly (and in small increments) to the wet mixture just until blended (do not overwork it, otherwise the consistency of your cookie will be off). Form the dough into a disk, and freeze it in saran wrap until chilled, about an hour.

3)  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Take dough out of the freezer and place it on a lightly floured area to prevent sticking. Roll the dough out to about 1/8th of an inch. Use a 3-inch biscuit cutter to cut even rounds for your cookies. 

4) On a well-buttered baking sheet, place cookies one inch apart and bake for 9-12 minutes, or until a light golden brown color is achieved. Allow cookies time to cool completely before adding the dulce de leche to them.

5) Spread a shy tablespoon of dulce de leche on one cookie, and sandwich it with another cookie. Roll the sandwiches in powdered sugar, and voila! Alfajores. If the canned dulce de leche is a bit too thick to spread, place the can in a pot of boiling water (off the heat, of course) for about ten minutes to allow it to thin out a bit.

Friday, January 6, 2012

'Just the Edges' Brownie Cookies

I’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do. The past few months have caught me a bit off guard – between my little kitten Mika passing away, getting promoted at my job, moving, finals at Berkeley, preparing for graduation, etc. I’ve been overwhelmed! No excuses though - I’m back at it and promise to provide y’all, my beloved food babies, with consistent yummies. Pinky promise! (that’s how you know it’s real, duh)

Alright. Food. It’s January – the month where you damn near murder a bitch for the last available elliptical at the gym, where it’s cold enough to disguise those few (or hella) extra pounds gained from all that gingerbread with pea coats (my personal favorite) blah blah blah you get the point. I prefer to think we’re all just well prepared for winter hibernation, you know? It’s no surprise that the most common New Year resolution is to lose weight.  Take this hint of advice from somebody who lost a significant amount over the past few years – moderation is your best friend, while deprivation is your worst enemy.  

With that being said, let’s eat cookies. Keep a few, and give the rest to your friends so they get fat and you can be the hot skinny chick of the group. Did I really just say that? Whatever, you were thinking it, too.  

I know, brownie cookies? What the hell? Just wait; I have such a fat girl explanation to sideline this recipe. Like Oprah Winfrey, no, Rosie O’ Donnell status.  You know when you bake a pan of brownies, and the edges get all burnt and chewy? Yeah, probably number three on my top five favorite things in life, alongside garage sales and Drake.  Seriously, I was always the chubby girl at Bar-Mitzvahs patrolling the sweets table in a hot pink ‘Powerpuff Girl’s’ shirt, with a uni-brow and Costco sneakers. And yes, I’d devour  the edges like Jesus’s last supper. I was thinking of a way to make brownies my way; more chewy edges, less soft inner brownie-ness.  Not to pat my own back (which I totally did after I made these), but I nailed it. To say these cookies rule is an understatement.  


‘Just the Edges’ Brownie Cookies: Yields 24
  • 1 ½ cups brown sugar – packed firm
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 10 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra strength coffee / espresso
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda   
  • 1 – 12 oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While waiting, spray or butter your cookie sheets to prevent sticking.
  
2) Beat brown sugar, butter, coffee and vanilla extract until combined. Add eggs and set aside. 

3) In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda. Mix dry ingredients into your wet ingredients in slow increments just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

4) Roll 1-tablespoonful balls and separate on cookie sheet two inches apart.

5) Bake for 10 minutes, or until the edges start to brown. Let sit on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Samoa Girl Scout Cookies

Closing statement on Girl Scouts: spawn of Satan – disguised in passion fruit body spray, and immaculately badged-up Aladdin-vests. Don’t get me wrong, these little ladies are quite charming- how they stand behind their booth with flawless posture, bragging about their merit badges and how they can make fire with their bare hands, etc.  Nevertheless, I’m beginning to think its all part of their master plan to better swoon their clientele into purchasing their overpriced but too-damn-good-to-resist cookies. Little shits. Apparently Girl Scouts are encouraged to promote the vending of these treats in order to better grasp the concept of cash handling and self-reliance. With multiple attempts of trial (and error), I’ve discovered how to precisely and affordably mimic one of their most admired cookies, while omitting the legal crack-dealing princesses (sorry, but..) Now that’s what I call self-reliance.


Samoas are delectable little shortbread cookies topped with caramel, toasted coconut, and dipped in chocolate. Even if you're not a huge fan of coconut, I totally recommend you give this recipe a go and try it out just one more time – you might reconsider. Yes, they’re that good. Heads up: regardless of whether or not you make your own shortbread, this recipe is rather time consuming and requires patience. I made my own shortbread the first time, but had trouble making the caramel mixture stick properly. With that being said, let’s get to it!


Samoa Girl Scout Cookies: Yields 30
  • 1 box Lorna Doone shortbread cookies
  • 2 cups shredded, sweetened coconut, toasted
  • 9 ounces soft-chew caramel candies 
  • 3 tablespoons cream (for caramel) + 3 tablespoons (for chocolate) 
  • 14 ounces semisweet chocolate chips 
  • pinch of salt

      1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast coconut for about 5 minutes, or until golden brown, checking and mixing frequently (your coconut wants to burn, don’t let it!)

      2) Remove coconut from oven and set aside until cooled. In a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, combine cream and unwrapped caramels. Stir frequently to prevent burning until thick caramel sauce is achieved (you may need a bit more cream depending on caramels) Remove from heat and add toasted coconut. Mix until coconut is completely coated. 

      3) With a small offset spatula, top each cookie with 1 tablespoon of coconut mixture, spreading evenly to the edges. Once all are covered, place cookies on a lined cookie sheet and place in the fridge to set while preparing the chocolate.

      4) In a microwave-safe bowl, combine cream and chocolate chips. Microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring between each session until chocolate is fully melted. Add a pinch of salt and re-stir. 
                                 
      5) Remove cookies from fridge, and dip the bottom of each cookie in the chocolate mixture. Return cookies back to sheet and place in fridge again to set for 20 minutes.
 
      6) Reheat chocolate (you may or may not need a bit more cream) and transfer from bowl to a zip-lock sandwich bag. Snip a small piece off the corner edge of the bag and pipe thin stripes on top of each cookie. Return cookies to fridge and allow at least one hour of setting time before enjoying. Yum!

I was so excited for my little gift boxes to finally arrive that I packaged all my cookies and gave them out to friends (or else I would have eaten them all on my own, seriously).


Oh, and completely irrelevant, but my little kitten Mika was obviously of great assistance. She’s a pirate (or a French man, as my friend assumed) for Halloween this year. Doesn't she look ecstatic? Anyway, happy holidays and enjoy!


Helpful hint: If you omit the coconut all together and completely coat the cookies with chocolate, you just made yourself some homemade Twix bars. Sweet!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins

I can explain – I swear! These apples were a dollar per bag, and I justified buying three of them with the intention of baking pies for my loved ones- to better welcome my favorite season, of course.  What a thoughtful gesture, right?  I then envisioned a more probable scenario; one where my demanding work and school schedule would prevent me from even delivering the pies, meaning I would have to take matters into my own hands and eat them all on my own. My taste buds are in full favor of this - my waistline, however, is not. Before the temptations could venture off any further, I tossed each cored and sliced apple into a big pot of boiling water.  A few hours later, and there I was - with enough applesauce to feed a small country, but hey, at least my jeans will (hopefully) still button once the holiday festivities are done and over. 


Something I absolutely love about cooking is the challenge in pairing unusual ingredients to prepare food that’s not only delicious, but unique. This time, however, I was completely stumped. I suppose my perimeters weren’t as extended as I assumed they were prior to this impulsive applesauce act, considering my recipe options were quite limited.  With some browsing (i.e. Google searching questions like ‘what the hell am I going to do with all this applesauce’) I found that applesauce is commonly used as a butter substitute in baking – cool! Needless to say, I had to give it a try. With a few other simple ingredients I had on hand, I decided to make some breakfast muffins to switch up my usual routine of plain cereal or toast. Plus, they’re quite filling and packed with nutrients. Hooray for an easy and healthy grab-and-go meal! By the way, I still have a ton of applesauce, so if any of y’all would like some, just let me know!


Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins: Yields 12
  • 1 ¾ cups flour
  • 1 ¼ cups oats (not instant)
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 large egg
 1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and cloves in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk applesauce, maple syrup, milk, oil, vanilla, and egg until all is stirred in. Slowly pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients while simultaneously mixing (but not over-mixing) until well combined.

2) In a lined muffin tin, pour batter into each liner and fill just below the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Yummy!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Wontons

I wish I had some really thoughtful and witty idea to accompany this unusual recipe, but truth is, I'm just straight up broke. Thanks to the basic necessities for breaking my bank (rent, bills, gas, manicures.. I mean, schoolbooks) I've been left with no other option than to utilize the food from my pantry. Sigh. Let's just say I've consumed more soup and cereal over the scheme of two weeks than I have in the past year. While rifling past an obscene amount of oatmeal and microwavable popcorn bags, I found a can of pumpkin. I stood there for a minute observing it, attempting to conduct ideas for using it, got frustrated, and pushed it out of the way to grab my damn Cheerios. Trying to find the soy milk for my cereal in a fridge full of beer (college, man..) was like finding a needle in a haystack, and trust me, for someone who doesn't drink, this isn't nearly as exciting as it sounds. I noticed some wonton wrappers far behind the beer barrier equivalent to the Great Wall of China, yet no soy milk. Okay, now I know what you're thinking, and no, I'm not desperate enough (yet) to eat 'Beerios' (Get it? Beer and Cheerios?) So I settled for soup once again. Great.

Well, at least I discovered this can of pumpkin during the most appropriate time of year where I could actually make use of it. I had a huge midterm the next morning, and instead of spending my study breaks lurking Facebook and watching re-runs of 'The Office', I decided to be somewhat productive and create a pumpkin-inspired recipe.

Pumpkin bread? Meh. Typical. Pumpkin pie? Better, but too much work, not enough patience. Wait, I still have those wonton wrappers.. Hmm.. Pumpkin pie wontons, anyone?


(You should have seen the look on my mother's face when she caught me shoving that little pumpkin from her fall-themed dining table into my purse. Like I said - I'm broke!)

Pumpkin Pie Wontons: Yields 25-30 wontons
  • 1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg   
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt  
  • wonton wrappers
  • vegetable or canola oil (for frying)
  • powdered sugar (for dusting)     

1) Mix pumpkin, cream cheese, maple syrup, and vanilla in a bowl until well combined and fluffy. Add brown sugar in small increments, folding in each time until completely incorporated. Add cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt until all is mixed in.

2) Heat oil in a deep frying pan to about 350 degrees. While waiting, prepare wontons.

3) Place one heaping tablespoon of pumpkin filling in the center of each wonton. Dab the edges of the wonton with water and fold diagonally. Pinch firmly on edges to seal.

4) Deep fry in oil until golden brown on both sides. Remove from oil and place on paper towels to absorb any additional oil. Dust with powdered sugar.

Voila! Celebrating the holidays on a budget. Now, if only my gifts could be this affordable..

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

I've been feeling quite homesick as of late, which to me, seems bizarre, bearing in mind the fact that I’ve never actually left home. Berkeley has harbored and nurtured me through each and every one of my twenty years, but the nostalgia I feel as I walk down Telegraph Avenue often times makes my childhood seem so vastly present while overwhelmingly distant. In these recent times of reminiscence, I’ve compromised with more feasible means in attempt to revisit my youth; sorting through old photo albums,  passing time with my family and friends discussing ‘remember whens’,  cuddling up with my very first blanket, etc.-  all of which make my heart melt and cheeks hurt from smiling so much. Something that consistently brings me back to my earlier years is peanut butter cups, for one very special reason- they’re my big brother’s favorite. 

Every unforgettable childhood memory I possess contains him and his joyous, gentle, and selfless ways. Peanut butter cups bring about the memories when mama would hold our little hands to the local bakery across from John Muir Elementary, where Ali and I would impatiently scarf down our little treats. They remind me of Halloween when we’d fight over who got more Reece’s than the other. Truth be told, I don’t think I even liked peanut butter cups, but I preferred them because my big brother- my best friend, my idol, my partner in crime- loved them so much. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to make my own peanut butter cups at home, especially because they’re ridiculously simple. I can always depend on these little delights to bring me back to the treasured memories my brother and I shared together in our beloved city of Berkeley. 


Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups: Yields 12 large candies

Chocolate Recipe:
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips 
  • 2 tablespoons salted smooth peanut butter 
  • 2 tablespoons cream
Peanut Butter Filling Recipe:
  • 3/4 cup salted (smooth or chunky) peanut butter 
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted)  

1) Line muffin tin with 12 paper liners 

2) In a microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips, peanut butter, and cream. Microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring in between each session to ensure thorough melting and to prevent burning. Melting time is dependent upon power levels of your microwave, but you shouldn’t have to repeat this step more than three times

3) Carefully place 1-2 tablespoons of melted chocolate in each liner. Spread the chocolate about ¼ of the way up the liner. Place in freezer for 10 minutes to firm.

4) For the filling, mix peanut butter and sifted powdered sugar. Do not omit powdered sugar, as this is what gives the peanut butter a more firm consistency.

5) Remove chocolate from freezer, and fill with peanut butter a little below the chocolate edges. Use the back of your spoon to smooth out the filling, ensuring every corner is covered. Place peanut butter cups back in freezer to firm for another 10 minutes.

6) Remove peanut butter cups from freezer, and top with remaining chocolate (enough to cover peanut butter completely) If your remaining chocolate has hardened, add a little bit of cream and re-heat.

7) Allow peanut butter cups at least one hour of firming time in the fridge. Once completely firm, remove liners from cups and store in fridge or freezer.

I suppose the old saying ‘home is where the heart is’ truly does apply, because for me, home is wherever my big brother is. It’s not Berkeley that reverts me back to my childhood, it’s the memories made in Berkeley that were made with Ali. I love you.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Chocolate-Covered Almond Biscotti

Alright guys, midterm season has reliably rolled around once again here at UC Berkeley, meaning my caffeine intake has undoubtedly tripled.  I’ve made quite the effort to steer clear of unhealthy temptations during this sleepless and stressful period, but let’s be real. I’m not going to enjoy a carrot with my coffee.  I want chocolate, damn it! To pair with my pick-me-up, I decided to bake some chocolate-covered almond biscotti. By making these at home, I’m able to make a generous amount of biscotti for the price of a couple pre-wrapped ones, meaning I’ll save a pretty penny and have quite the chocolate fix for at least the next week. Maybe I’ll even slip a few to my professors for some extra brownie points, or shall I say.. Biscotti points? Hey.. A graduating senior can dream, right? Anyway, for those of you who don’t know what biscotti is, fear not - your girl’s got you covered.


Better described by one of my favorite biscotti joints, the word 'biscotti' literally translates from the Italian language as 'twice baked' and loosely refers to cookies in general. Authentic biscotti is baked twice, which has two distinct benefits: (1) decreasing moisture, which helps extend shelf life, and (2) to concentrate the flavor of the biscotti. Yum, let's get to it!

Chocolate-Covered Almond Biscotti: Yields 24

Dough Recipe   
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup butter, room temp
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
Chocolate Dip Recipe
  • 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds for topping, optional

Heat oven to 350 degrees

1) Sift flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Give it a quick stir to ensure all is well mixed.

2) In a separate bowl, mix butter, sugar, and egg until completely combined. Add both extracts and continue to mix. Once all is incorporated, slowly add to dry ingredients and combine until dough is achieved. Be careful not to over mix.

3) Place dough on floured surface and form a loaf. Cut loaf in half to make two separate rectangular loaves.

4) With each loaf, form a 7" by 2" loaf, tapering the edges inward to create a more clean seal on the sides. Brush both loaves with egg wash. (1 egg mixed with 2 tablespoons water = egg wash) Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

5) Once biscotti is removed from oven, lower the temperature from 350 to 300. While waiting for oven to cool down, allow biscotti to cool down as well. After about 10 minutes, slice anywhere from 10-12 / 2" thick slices from each loaf. Once sliced, lay each piece back on baking sheet and bake again for another 20 minutes, or until dry. Allow time to completely cool prior to chocolate dipping.

6) In a double-boiler on low heat, add cream and butter. Once butter has completely melted, add chocolate in small intervals and continually stir until all has been mixed in. You should have a thick (but not too thick) chocolate dipping sauce. If too thick, add more cream. If too thin, add more chocolate.

(Check out this YouTube video for a tutorial on how to make a double-boiler!)

7) Remove chocolate from heat. Immediately dip each piece of biscotti in chocolate sauce and lay on cooling tray, chocolate-side up. If preferred, top with slivered almonds.

Seems like a lot, I know. But trust me. So worth it. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Feta, Pancetta, and Rosemary Scones

I highly doubt meat and cheese are the first ingredients that come to mind when considering a scone. Ordinarily, these rich and flaky bread rounds are filled with dried fruits, various nuts, and often times plain, just waiting to be filled with some type of butter or jam. I'm sure we can all agree that scones hold their place primarily in the 'quick breakfast' department, but who decided to exclude savory options from the mix? Just because you're on a time crunch doesn't mean you can't enjoy all the perks of a traditional home-style breakfast in one yummy, buttery little scone.

(Props to Giorgio Trovato for the picture!)

 My local farmers market just happened to sell pancetta this week (Italian-style bacon), a ingredient I tend to shy away from because.. Well.. I guess I find myself dumbfounded when it comes to ideas for actually using it! So this week, I decided to challenge myself (and at 50 cents an ounce, I just couldn't say no..) Walking from booth to booth, I kept thinking "Pancetta.. Pancetta.. What the hell am I going to do with this?" Aha! What better with meat than it's cheese companion? After scoping the numerous varieties of local cheeses, I decided to go with feta. Why? Because it was on sale, and for a college kid such as myself, this word comes runner up to the cake winner.. Free. Plus, it rhymes with pancetta. Cute, I'm sold!

Now for the real challenge: tying the two together. I need something easy to prepare for lack of room in my studio kitchen, something easy to grab and go, and most importantly, something yummy. I've always wanted to make scones, and yes, this was my calling. Feta pancetta scones! Plus, there's a ton of rosemary growing in my backyard, so I decided to throw a little bit of that in there, too. Perfecto! Let's get started.

Feta, Pancetta, and Rosemary Scones: Yields 12
  • 4 oz pancetta, cut into small cubes
  • 6 oz feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh or dried rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons shortening
  • 3/4 cup cream
  • 1 egg
Heat oven to 375 degrees

 1) Grab a pan and fry up the pancetta. No need to add oil, pancetta is high enough in fat to crisp up on it's own. Once the pancetta has browned, remove the pan from the heat and set aside. Cool completely.

2) In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, rosemary, garlic powder, baking powder, and salt. Cut in shortening little by little until all is combined.

3) Once cooled, add cooked pancetta and remaining oil to a separate bowl with the cream and beaten egg. Mix well and slowly add to dry ingredients until fully incorporated.

4) Place dough onto a well-floured surface. Roll the dough out and cut anywhere from 10-12 biscuit-sized rounds. Place scones on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper and brush the tops lightly with egg wash (1 egg mixed with 2 tablespoons water = egg wash) Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!