Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sourdough Surprises: Kit Kat Scones

Ah, scones. There's something comforting about them. Back in college, briefly, my mother and I both worked at the mall. We had a tradition: If we started and ended within a half hour of each other, one of us drove and the other bought drinks and munchies from this little smoothie shop in the food court. Sometimes I'd get a muffin, other times I'd get a scone. Then there was my high school band trip to Scotland. Scones are, in fact, a Scottish creation. They were also one of the few foods I ate that tasted like I was used to. (Seriously – I lost eight pounds in two weeks over there, the food was so unpalatable. I didn't get a decent meal until the last day, Fish and Chips at the Allan Water Cafe in Sterling. After two weeks of hardly eating, I couldn't finish it). Plus, I've made them before – although it was so long ago, I think I was still using the milk and sugar starter from the Friendship bread. So I was very excited to have this month's Sourdough Surprises be scones.

That aside, it's still that time of year. All of the birthday cakes are gone and forgotten until March, but we still haven't finished the leftover Halloween candy (why do we always end up with at least three extra unopened bags, Mom?) Plus, Thanksgiving is this Thursday already? And then you have Christmas, with the baking I'm expected to do and the obligatory parties...more than enough to make those of us who watch what we eat fits.

That leftover candy, though, had me thinking. I've made this Twix Cheesecake Pie a few times, and substituted Kit Kat Miniatures one time. One of those extra bags just happened to be Kit Kat Miniatures. While I love that they are fall patterned and not Halloween themed, pretty soon we'll be getting out Winter themed stuff and the fall leaves will be obsolete. So I decided to chop a bunch of them up and knead them into the scone dough.

I did use the recipe I made before, still in my cookbook:

Sourdough Scones
Adapted from Group Recipes
Makes 16. How many that actually serves is debatable.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp sugar (I used Splenda this time. It only saves a couple calories per scone – but I'm trying to use it up!)
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 7 Tbsp butter
  • 1 1/4c sourdough starter
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped Kit Kat bars (24 miniatures)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400.
  2. Sift together the dry ingredients.
  3. Cut in the butter.
  4. Mix in the starter.
  5. Lightly work the dough on a floured surface until no longer sticky.
  6. Knead in Kit Kats until just incorporated
  7. Divide into four parts, and shape each part into a circle 1/2" thick.
  8. Cur each circle into 4 parts.
  9. Place on a lightly greased sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes.

I made these in the morning, worked out and had lunch and ran a couple errands. But when I got back, I dove into one:

The original recipe recommends serving them with a “sour marmalade.” But I think I like these just the way they are.

Check out our group's other awesome scones:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Cream Cheese Cake Mix Cookies

That time of year has to be in full swing, doesn't it? And that unfortunately means a reduction in my baking activities. Still, I can't resist sometimes. After all, we're supposed to indulge a little this time a year. Just a little.

Last year – right about this time of year, actually – my local grocery store had these red velvet cookies from the bakery. I am a sucker for pretty much anything red velvet. On the other hand, neither my mother nor I were willing to shell out $5 for a dozen cookies. I had since vowed to make my own and found several recipes – I just keep finding every other recipe that I need to try first.

A few months ago, my aunt made these cream cheese cake mix cookies. She went on and on about how easy they were. And they were good. Not just good, heavenly. Of course, I requested the recipe, and she happily obliged (Pretty much the same recipe found here). As it turns out, they were a variation of cake mix cookies. Hers were made with yellow cake mix and regular chocolate chips. My wild imagination thought of other ideas. The first thing I thought of was red velvet. Red velvet cake isn't red velvet without cream cheese icing. A red velvet cake mix with white chocolate chips would be perfect.

This week, it finally fell into place. Most of the munchies from Halloween and Birthday Season are gone, cream cheese was on sale, and there was a box of red velvet cake mix in the pantry from another meal deal. I had no more excuses.

It seems simple enough – a box of cake mix, a brick of cream cheese, half a stick of butter, an egg, a teaspoon of vanilla and a bag of chocolate chips. What could go wrong?

My suspicion is that not all cake mixes are created equal. This particular cake mix called for more water and less oil than the other boxes presently in my pantry. It got almost impossible to mix – or even knead – after I'd mixed in about 3/4 of the cake mix. Then the chocolate chips decided that they didn't want to stay in. There was a good handful in the bottom of the bowl. They also fell apart easily. I ended up having to make them about twice as big as I normally make cookies in order to get them to stay together. Nor did they look as nice as my aunt's version.

The one thing is that they did seem to cook more thoroughly. Hers got extremely after being left in a hot car. These seemed more cookie like.

The recipe, as follows:

Cream Cheese Cake Mix Cookies
Taken from my aunt, who got it from someone who got it from a website similar to this one
Makes 3-4 dozen

1 box cake mix. Any flavor
8 ounces cream cheese. Room temperature
1/4 cup butter. Room temperature
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 12-oz bag of chocolate chips or 2 cups mix-ins of choice – candy bits, dried fruit, nuts

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Cream together butter and cream cheese. Add egg and vanilla and mix well until blended
3. Stir in cake mix a little at a time then add mix-ins
4. Bake for 10 minutes, until edges are brown and enjoy.

So they weren't as easy as my aunt made it out to be and they aren't things of beauty. But they taste good. There's a perfect hint of cream cheese with that rich red velvet flavor.

Some other ideas I've had:
Carrot cake mix with half raisins and half chopped nuts
Orange cake mix with dried cranberries
Strawberry cake mix with coconut

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Yes, I'm going to try these again, using another cake mix.

That is, unless I find other recipes to try...