Category Archives: Cooking

Cranberry Orange Scones with Maple Icing-Gluten Free Version

Scones
Gluten Free Scones

When I made the Cranberry Orange Scones with Maple Icing https://sanctuary-acres.com/2021/04/29/cranberry-orange-scones-with-maple-icing/ , I also made a gluten free version. Here is the recipe I used from Pinterest for the gluten free version https://feastingonfruit.com/vegan-oat-flour-scones/

I did make a few alterations to the gluten free recipe. Of course. I used chopped cranberries for the fruit and added the maple icing. I also used regular sugar and butter. The texture was a little on the crumbly side but the flavor was good.

Scones
Left: regular scones, Right: gluten free scones.

I have been experimenting with various gluten free recipes so you may be hearing more about this from me. Baking is my forte and it appears that there is nothing that reacts the same way as wheat gluten. There are substitutions but they don’t work in the same way, so the results are different. This usually means a different texture and in my experience a flatter product. Gluten appears to be necessary for the rise.

When I make some other gluten free baked goods that I am happy with, I will share the process with you!

Scones
Left: regular scones-iced, Right: gluten free scones-iced.

Cranberry Orange Scones with Maple Icing

Cranberry-Orange Scones
Cranberry Orange Scones with Maple Icing

I posted a picture of these scones and had several requests for the recipe. I had to type it up to include my alterations as I never prepare a recipe without making some changes. I figure, I know what I like so why not adjust the recipe accordingly?

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 Tablespoons butter, chilled
  • 1/3 cup cranberries, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (I substitute regular milk or almond milk with a splash of white vinegar)
  • 1 Tablespoon orange zest, freshly grated
  • 1 egg
  • 1teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and soda. Use a pastry cutter to cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. The butter melts during baking and allows air spaces for a soft interior texture. Stir in the chopped cranberries. The dough may require a bit of kneading to come together. Knead as little as possible, so you don’t melt the butter and lose the air spaces.

Pat dough into an 8 or 9 inch diameter circle on a greased cookie sheet. Score the circle into 8 wedges with a serrated knife, or adjust the size and number of wedges as desired.

Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes and move to a serving dish. Frost (or not!) when mostly cool.

Maple Icing

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, melted and slightly cooled so it doesn’t melt the sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup

Mix above ingredients together. Add more sugar to thicken, or more syrup to thin. The ratio may need to be changed slightly, depending on the temperature. Spoon mixture evenly over scones and frost with a butter knife.

Enjoy!

A Disjointed Morning

Zekie assisting momma during her on-line college class.

Today is one of those days. My activities are varied and unrelated. Do you have those days too? There is no flow and they don’t make any sense.

View of our burning bushes over the dog yard fence.

First off, remember how I said Mother Nature was confused? Mother Nature Is Confused Well, was she ever! I woke up to three inches of snow this morning. On April twenty first. In Ohio.

Azalea blanketed in snow.

We were more fortunate than others. I saw on my Facebook feed this morning that some of my friends who live closer to Lake Erie had seven inches of snow. Ours’ is mostly melted now that it is mid-afternoon. So far, our plants don’t seem to have sustained a lot of damage. We will be better able to tell when things have thawed out again tomorrow.

View out the back door this morning.

So, more about my morning. Since I didn’t want to go outside, I thought it would be a fine day to our our dog rescue’s taxes, so I did. I worked on the filing and figures for a bit the previous days. Non-profit taxes are due on May 15th, so don’t worry, I wasn’t late. And non-profits don’t actually pay taxes, at least for smaller groups. There may be a filing fee on a sliding scale, but mostly the filing is to make sure you are legitimate.

After that was out of the way, I moved on to baking. We were out of sweets, except for ice cream, which is nearly always in the freezer and it is too cold to eat that today. I baked cranberry-orange scones with maple icing. They turned out to be very tasty. I will provide that recipe another day. I also baked lime-ginger cookies made with spelt flour because hubby is on a low-gluten kick. The cookies taste good, but they are very flat and dark in color because of the spelt flour. Not the best thing I have ever made but they serve the purpose.

Refer back to the first photo in this post. This is how Zekie decided that I should attend a portion of my college course on The Science of Well-Being this morning. It’s ok, the lectures are pre-recorded so no one knew. Apparently, I was paying too much attention to the computer for too long to suit Zekie. I get a kick out of this dog. He is so interactive. After I petted him on my lap for a while, he got down and went back to sleep. A few other dogs nosed me for pets throughout the class too, but none are as insistent as Zekie. This is the major benefit of working from home. There are dogs.

And that is how I passed my morning. Once again, life is good.

Did You Know There Were So Many Kinds of Tea?

Various types of teas
So many types of tea! (Photo is not mine-from Ahmad Tea)

Who knew there were so many types of tea time? Certainly not me! Looking at these British definitions puts tea in a whole new light. In America, we are thirsty, we drink. No occasion, just a mug sitting on my desk, of coffee or tea, and there it stays with me slurping away while working and getting refills as needed. In my working years, I was so often drawn away to attend to other matters that my hot beverages were always stone cold by the time I returned. I learned to drink tea, coffee, and even “hot” chocolate when they were cold. It seemed too much time and trouble to wander down the hallway to the office microwave to reheat all the time. But look at this wonderful list of all the types of teas:

  • Cream Tea-This is what I think of when I think of tea. Tea and scones with toppings.
  • Elevensies-Morning coffee hour. Hmmm, I have this all morning long.
  • Afternoon Tea-Served with little sandwiches, scones, and sweets.
  • Low Tea-As above, using low chairs. So mine would be office chair tea?
  • Royale Tea-Tea¬† with Champaign or sherry. This sounds suspiciously like happy hour.
  • Celebration Tea-Afternoon Tea with cake. Cake does make everything better!
  • High Tea-Served in the late afternoon or early evening with a cooked dish. Sounds like supper to me.

I think the British got it right. These various tea types all sound like fun, making every day into a special occasion. Which sounds like more fun? “Would you like to join me for a slice of cake and a mug of coffee?” Or, “Would you care to attend Celebration Tea with me?” I vote for Celebration Tea. That’s why children don’t have coffee pot parties, they have tea parties. I suggest the next tea you offer a guest a cuppa, you ask them if they would like to attend Cream Tea. Let’s make our worlds a little more fun!

How Many Variations Can You Come Up With For This Cookie Recipe?

Orange ginger cinnamon cookies
Orange, Ginger Cinnamon Cookies

I love this cookie recipe! I got it from Pinterest, the source of most of my new recipes. Click on the following link for it. Easy Snickerdoodle Cookies Without Butter Recipe – The Frugal South Note that the recipe is not mine. The original recipe at the link above, is for snickerdoodles, but anyone who knows me, knows that I like to alter things.

I first found this recipe during the beginning of our state’s first stay at home order during the pandemic. I was looking for dessert recipes without butter because I was running low on it. This recipe uses oil instead of butter. The other great thing is, the recipe is easy! Always a plus. As the pandemic has dragged on, I have made many variations of this cookie and all have been delicious. One special note, which is pointed out on the link, do NOT over bake these cookies or they will get hard.

Some variations I have made on the original recipe follow. Add the ingredients in addition to those in the original recipe:

  • 1 box lemon jello, 1 teaspoon ginger, and 1 Tablespoon milk (or almond milk), add almond slice on top
  • 1 box lime jello, 1 teaspoon ginger, and 1 Tablespoon milk
  • 1 box orange jello, 1 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, and 1 Tablespoon milk
  • 1 cup oatmeal, 1 Tablespoon milk, and optional-1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/3 cup baking cocoa, 1 Tablespoon milk
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter

Any of these variations could have the following added too:

  • chocolate chips, or any flavor chips
  • walnuts, pecans, almonds, etc.
  • coconut
  • dried dates, apricots, craisins, raisins, etc.

I stopped adding the sugar and cinnamon mixture from the original snickerdoodle recipe to the top of each cookie, only to save time and make it easier. You could continue to do this, if you wanted.

snickerdoodle cookie recipe
Cookies fresh from the oven!

How many variations can you come up with for this recipe?

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Recipe For Coconut Walnut Cake

Coconut walnut cake
Coconut Walnut Cake

I was looking for a coffee cake recipe that didn’t require butter. I couldn’t find one so I adapted my old standby muffin recipe. The cake turned out to be exactly what I had in mind.

Muffin Recipe

Muffin recipe transformed to cake follows. Double the recipe above so there is sufficient volume for a Bundt pan. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. (I made adjustments to the time and temperature to accommodate a cake. )

First, combine the wet ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup liquid-I used vanilla almond milk
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs

Whisk the above ingredients until thoroughly combined.

Sift together the dry ingredients.

  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Add to wet ingredients and stir just until mixed. Then I greased a Bundt pan and added chopped walnuts to the bottom of the pan. Approximately 1/2 cup.

Then I folded the following into the batter.

  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Pour the batter into the pan. Place in oven for approximately 45 minutes. Remove from oven when toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5-10 minutes. Turn cake out onto a large plate. Allow cake to cool completely.

You could consider the cake done at this point. I decided to add an orange glaze. To do this I mixed together the following:

  • Juice of 1/2 an orange
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar

Blend these three ingredients to desired consistency. Add more juice if you want to thin the glaze. Add more sugar to thicken.

Use a spoon to drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake.

And you are done! Enjoy the cake with a scoop of ice cream on the side, or just with a warm cup of tea.

It’s Good to Have Options

Pumpkin Pie
Freshly baked pumpkin pie

Today was a baking day. We were out of dessert, so I decided to rectify the situation. We never did get pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving since we didn’t have a big family gathering this year. So I baked this pie right before dinner.

Brownie and ice cream
Brownies and ice cream

The oven was already on so I whipped up a batch of brownies from scratch and put those in to bake at the same time. Turns out, it’s a good thing I did. The pie wasn’t cool enough to have after supper. We had the brownies with ice cream instead.

It’s good to have options. And extra dessert!

A Little Christmas

Morty under the Christmas tree

The Christmas spirit has arrived at our house. It began to snow late this morning. It was a calm, light fluffy snow. The kind that invokes thoughts of good cheer and peace.

So I got out our little tree and decorated it. All of our animals love the tree, but especially the cats. They take up residence underneath and you can find one or the other of them there for the season. After a few squirts of Bitter Apple chew deterrent, they stop chewing it for the rest of the season.

Thumbprint cookies

After lunch, I made a couple batches of cookies we traditionally have around the holidays. First, I baked the thumbprint cookies and filled them.

Molasses crinkles

Then I made molasses crinkles from a recipe handed down from my mother’s Aunt Clara. Mine are never as good as Aunt Clara’s but they are delicious nonetheless. I suspect Aunt Clara used lard in her’s.

Now I am ready to relax for the evening with a couple of cookies and a good book.

First Pie in the New Oven

Our stove had been on its last legs for a while and finally died right before Thanksgiving. In this wonderful (sometimes!) age of being able to order things on-line, I was able to have another one here within a couple days without ever leaving the safety of home. And free delivery! I did have to adjust the temperature on the oven. It seemed to run a little low, but all is fine now.

Today I made the first pie in the new oven. I wanted to make a shoo fly pie and for some reason I got a recipe from Pinterest rather than using my usual one. In the mood for something different I guess. The recipe I went with is quite different. The crust has flour, butter, egg yolk, olive oil, and white wine. Yes, you read that right, white wine. And in addition to the molasses, the filling has black coffee.

While the pie is good, I think I prefer my old standby recipe, clipped from the newspaper years ago.