Thursday, January 21, 2010

superhealthy scones

cranberry scones

I made these vegan, wheat-free, whole grain, no-cane-or-beet-sugar, trans-fat-free, no nuts or legumes scones the other day and they turned out really well. They weren't dry and dense like whole wheat biscuits usually are, and are edible by everyone I know except the gluten intolerant and coconut allergic. The recipe's adapted from a raspberry scone recipe in Babycakes.

Cranberry Spelt Scones

makes 8 smallish scones

4oz cranberries
3 3/4 oz light agave nectar, divided
8oz whole spelt flour (if you grind it yourself, run it through the mill twice to get it really fine)
1T baking powder
1/4t cloves
1/3t salt
2 1/2 oz coconut oil
1T grated orange zest
1T vanilla extract
2T oil (whatever kind you like: I used canola)
1/4c hot water

Preheat oven to 400°.

Cut the cranberries in half and toss them with 1oz of the agave nectar. Set the bowl on the stove so that the heat of the preheating oven warms the berries up; periodically squeeze them a little with your hands to work the agave nectar in.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, cloves and salt together, then rub in the coconut oil till the mixture looks like cornmeal. Make a volcano and put in the orange zest, vanilla, and remaining agave nectar. Mix it up, then add the hot water and mix some more.

Divide the dough into two blobs on a floured board. Flatten each with a floury hand, cut each into quarters, then transfer the wedges to a parchment or Silpat-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes.

cranberry scone

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

apricot bread

fig balls

Last Saturday, Annie, Rachael, and I went to our friend Julie's house for dinner and to exchange Epiphany presents. My holiday preparations this year were halfhearted (I get more misanthropic at Christmastime with every passing year), and on Saturday morning I decided that Julie's little bag of presents was inadequate. What else could I make that would be unusual and festive, and not require going to the store to get ingredients? I decided to make pan de albaricoque, similar to this apricot bread but with more flavors. I was astonished when we opened our presents to find that Julie had made us Turkish fig balls--a very similar concept, dried fruit whizzed in the Cuisinart with nuts.

My apricot bread was easy and pretty successful, so I'll present you with its recipe:

Pan de Albaricoque

375g dried apricots (I used Trader Joe's Blenheim apricots, as they're a lot more flavorful than Turkish ones)
90g each pistachios and almonds
2t orange zest
1T each sugar and honey
1T brandy
1t powdered ginger
optional: more dried apricots, bay leaves, dried cherries

Toast the nuts in the oven at 350 F° for about 10 minutes, then grind them up in your food processor till they're fine meal. Don't let them turn to greasy butter! Put them in a bowl, then grind the remaining (non-optional) ingredients till they're a nice, smooth paste. Scrape the paste (watch out for the blade! I nearly made pan de albaricoque y sangre!) into the bowl of nut meal and mix everything together thoroughly with your hands. Divide it in half and shape into two big, flat circles.

You can make a cereza sandwich with one of the circles if you like, by cutting it in half, pressing dried cherries onto one of the halfs, covering it with the other half, and squashing it some more to make it as thin as it was before. You could decorate the other circle by covering it with some of your prettier dried apricots, or just cut it into wedges and stick a bay leaf on each.

If these are anything like the pan de higo I made a couple of years ago that's still good, they should keep a long time.

apricot bread