Pure Wholesome Goodness Scones

I didn´t quite know what to call these scones.  They are chock-full of all kinds of pure wholesome goodness…so I just went with that.  It´s a bit uncreative, but it honest, straightforward, and transparent.  I like that in a person, so why not in a scone?

Scones are pure comfort food for me, topped with some marmalade and paired with tea.  It´s a breakfast, brunch or afternoon tea´s lover.  Truly.  And scones, though they sound fancy and British, can be whipped up in no time, in and out of the oven, and in your mouth in 40 or so minutes.  Every scone recipe goes the same way – you mix the dry ingredients, cut in the fat, and then add the liquid.  It´s the same for biscuits.  Scones are a lot like biscuits in the chemistry side of things.  But we´re not talking biscuits, we´re talking scones.  So let´s talk.

I´m gonna go out on a limb and say these scones are quite healthy.  Many scones are not, often carrying ingredients such as heavy cream and lots of butter….though in moderation, there´s nothing wrong with those kind.  But these kind, are not those kind.  These scones are dense, flaky, rich, spicy, and not too sweet.  Perfect with chai tea and milk and honey.  I hate to admit, I ate three of them the day I made them, and they are disappearing quickly with house visitors….!

Pure Wholesome Goodness Scones

Makes about 15, depending on the size you cut them

1 cup buckwheat flour (or rice flour or any other kind of flour)
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup oats, quick-cooking or regular
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 stick butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2/3 cup any dried fruit mixture (raisins, apricots, cherries, figs, prunes, etc), cut into small pieces
3/4 cup+2 tbsp buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp raw turbinado sugar
1tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Line a baking sheet with wax paper.

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (first 11 ingredients).  Slice in the butter.  Using your hands or a pastry blender, work it into the flour, until it creates a roughly crumbly mixture, leaving small pieces of butter present.  Add the dried fruit mixture, mix.  Add the buttermilk and vanilla extract.  Mix well to combine all dry ingredients with wet.  Dough should be sticky.  If it´s too sticky add a tiny bit more flour.  Transfer the dough to a very generously floured surface.  Fold over 4-5 times, and flatten into a roughly round disc about 1-1 1/2-inch thick.  Cut into triangles of your desired size.  Brush each scone with milk, and top with raw sugar.  Place on prepared baking sheet and bake in oven 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.  Cool on rack, and enjoy warm with tea!!

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Black-bottom Chai-Spiced Oatmeal Cookies

Okay, so I’ve been on a chai kick lately, obviously (2nd chai post in two days).  Well,  tis’ the season!  I created this recipe one day in my head and had to try it out.  I was impressed with the results, as were those that were lucky enough to be gifted some! (The actual cookie base was adapted from the Joy of Cooking’s Classic Oatmeal Cookie).

Black-Bottom Chai-Spiced Oatmeal Cookies

Steep:

3-4 high quality chai tea bags in 1/4 cup boiled water for 10 minutes, covered.  Remove tea bags and let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile wisk:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose baking flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp cinnamon
4-6 grinds of fresh black pepper

In a separate bowl, blend:

2 sticks of butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla

Add chai tea concentrate to butter mixture.  Gradually add flour mixture until smooth.

Stir in:

3 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

Place dough in refrigerator to stand overnight or 12 hours, covered (this step is important for flavor, do not skip this step).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with the rack in upper third of oven.  Grease cookie sheets.  Drop dough by heaping tablespoons, 3-inches apart on greased cookie sheets.  Gently press cookie downward to create a semi-flattened disk.

Cook for 8-10 minutes.  Let stand 2 minutes on tray before removing from cookie sheet.

Meanwhile, in a double boiler, melt and cool to tepid:

12-14 ounces of high-quality semi-sweet or dark chocolate, chopped

Once the cookies are completely cooled, spread the bottom of each cookie with sufficient chocolate to coat.  Place face down on wax paper or tin foil and place in a cool area to harden.  Do not remove cookies from wax paper until completely hardened, otherwise you will lose the chocolate from the cookie.  Store in a cool location for up to one week.

And of course, enjoy!


Chai-Infused Applesauce

For me, the holidays are a time when I put aside my green and herbal teas and turn to more hearty drinks such as chai, hot apple cider and homemade hot chocolate.  Recently, as I was making applesauce with apples right from my family’s apple orchard, I got the idea to throw in a few bags of chai tea…which I was drinking simultaneously.  What a delicious fall treat it turned out to be!

Chai-Infused Applesauce

4 lbs of apples (MacIntosh work well, or any other cooking apple), cored, cut into small cubes, and peeled if preferred
1-1 1/2 cups of apple juice/cider/nectar (more if necessary)
honey to one’s likeness (1/4-1/2 cup)
3-5 chai tea bags
squirt of 1 lemon and its zest
2-3 cinnamon sticks

Cook apples, apple juice, honey, lemon zest and juice, and cinnamon sticks in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add the chai tea bags into the apple mixture, immersing in the liquid, being careful not to break them open. Cook until fruit is very tender and broken down, about 45 minutes, adding liquid periodically so that the apples do not get dry, and the tea bags still have some liquid in which to infuse.  Once the mixture is quite tender, discard the tea bags and cinnamon stick.  Mash apples with a potato masher, or if you prefer a smoother applesauce, pass through a medium-mesh sieve or a food mill fitted with fine disk into a bowl.  Enjoy warm or chill before serving!


Tea, in the Land of Coffee

Let’s face it, Costa Rica is known for its coffee.  And as I have discovered amidst my weekly trips to the grocery store, not known for its teas…at least the kind of teas that I love and appreciate…you know, a fine Green from China, a Rooibos from Vietnam, a Darjeeling from India…good, old fashioned, loose-leaf tea that warms the body and soul.  

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But today I found a gem, in the land of coffee.  A TEA SHOP.   Being the tea lover I am, I was ecstatic.

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Tea Land was the gem I found amongst the outskirts of the city of San José.  The brightly colored walls were welcoming, the staff friendly, and the tea?  A golden morsel of deliciousness on my choosy taste buds.

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Rooibos Tropical, Blueberry Yogurt, Masala Chai – those are the flavors that warmed my friends and my soul that day.  We will for sure be going back to this hidden gem in the land of coffee.  And if you, a tea drinkerever find yourself lost in the land of coffee, be sure and look for this hidden gem as well.

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