Pumpkin Pecan Scones with Maple Glaze

FullSizeRenderHello all– We’re pretending it’s autumn around here.  Today is suppose to be cooling down to 85 degrees today.  But I looked at the 10 day forecast and next week we’re up into the mid 90’s again.  yikes!  I’m afraid kids will be wearing bathing suits for Halloween costumes.

But it the kitchen (with the air conditioning all on) I’m baking with pumpkin and just pretending it’s a bit chilly outside.  Here’s a batch of scones I made for the Monday Bible study friends who come in every week. The recipe comes from a bakery and makes 18 fine large scones, so you may want to cut it in half.

But no matter how many you bake up or what the weather is outside your door, I think you’ll love the warm, friendly taste of this fall baking.


3 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice*
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup buttermilk
1 tab. vanilla
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup currants

4 tab. butter. melted
1  1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tab. maple syrup
1 to 2 tab. whole milk (0r half & half)

FullSizeRenderIn a large mixing bowl stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice.

Then cut in the butter with a pastry blender (0r two forks) until it’s broken up in bits the size of small peas.

Stir in the pumpkin puree, buttermilk, vanilla, pecans and currants all at the same time until it’s thoroughly blended.  (please don’t over beat the dough!)

Flour the counter and take out 1/3 of the dough and form it into a round disk about 1 ” thick.  The dough will be sticky.  You may need to flour the top and bottom.  Cut the circle shape into 6 pie shaped wedges and set them on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Repeat twice with the remains 2/3 of the dough– so you have 18 scones.

Bake them 15 to 18 minutes in a 400 degree oven until they are crispy around the edges and nicely browned.

Let them cool before you add on the glaze.

To make the glaze, whisk together the melted butter, powdered sugar, maple syrup and 1 tablespoons of the milk.  If it seems too thick add the second tablespoon and mix it in.

Drizzle the glaze over the scones either with the tines of a fork, or using a pastry bag fitted with a tip with a small opening.



Carrot Walnut Bread

IMG_1093Hello there–  Mixing up a little treat for friends dropping in tonight.  Pulled out my grandmother’s loaf pans and it always makes me miss her to see them.  It happened that the summer we moved back to California from Spain, Gram packed up her house and moved into a Seniors home.  So I inherited her muffin tins and cake pans and these small sized loaf pans in the two moves.  She lived on to be 102!  And we had some sweet times together.  Wish she were her to tuck into the carrot bread with me…

3 medium carrots, grated (about 2 cups)
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup canola oil
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup currants
1  1/4 cup flour
1  1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tab. brown sugar

Grate the carrots and set them aside.  And chop those walnuts to coarse chunks.

Then in a mixing bowl whisk the eggs.  Stir in the sugar, vanilla and oil.  Next mix in the carrots, walnuts, and currants.

Then the dry ingredients– stir in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

When it’s all mixed well, spoon the batter into a standard 9″x5″ loaf pan (or two smaller loaf pans for me–because that’s what I have in my kitchen).  Sprinkle the brown sugar over and top and pop it into a 350 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes, until a thin knife stuck in the middle comes out clean.

Let it cool for a few minutes in the pan, before you dig in and slice into nice slabs– good toasted for breakfast or topped with whipped cream for dessert!  Of just plain and warm from the oven with a nice mug of tea.


Cinnamon Roll Scones

IMG_2114Good morning breakfast lovers– Made these yummy little guys when the kids were down from SF a couple weeks ago– but in my perennially scatterbrain sort of way I put in 1/3 the amount of baking powder called for.  They were edible (sort of) but not near good enough to pass them along to you.

So this week when friends came by, I put the tea kettle on and made a new batch– reading the recipe a little more carefully this time.  And they came out just fine, hot from the oven with a a mug of tea.  I think they’ll be a new favorite stand-by this fall.

and P.S.– thanks Jenny for pinning the recipe on Pinterest so I could find it!

1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup currants (optional)*
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups flour
1 cup rolled oats (old fashioned oatmeal)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tab. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla

1 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 tab. milk

IMG_2082In  small bowl mix together the pecans, currants, brown sugar and cinnamon.  Set aside.

Then in a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, oatmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt.

Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two forks until it looks like coarse crumbs.

Next stir in the milk, egg and vanilla until it forms a thick dough.

Then dump in the pecan mixture and swirl it into the batter until it’s all incorporated.

Drop the dough in mounds onto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
Bake it up at 425 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.  Makes 16 scones.

Glaze:  Whisk together the powdered sugar and 1 tab milk til there are no lumps– Add the second tab. of milk if it seems too thick to drizzle onto the scones.

*I used currants, but raisins or any dried fruit would be just fine.


Orange Currant Scones

IMG_6589Hello one and all– Have you been watching Downton Abbey?  I have to admit, a few people I know (myself included) are totally taken with that show.  So when the first new episode aired a couple weeks back, there was a crowd around the coffee table in our family room.  And the table was overflowing with tea cups and cream and scones and pots of hot tea…  We sipped our way back into the threads of stories upstairs and down.  We were charmed.

And I found this recipe from from Butchart Gardens in British Columbia.  These scones seemed just the thing to nibble on with our tea.  And they were as good as I had hoped– tender and slightly sweet.  Just right with piles of whipped cream and marmalade and berries.

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 sticks butter (3/4 cup)
1/2 cup whole milk
2 eggs*
1/2 cup dried currants
grated peel from 1 orange

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender (or in a food processor, if you don’t mind cleaning it all up afterwards).  Stir in the milk and eggs.  And finally mix in the currants and orange peel.

Stir just until it all sticks together in a big clump and turn it out onto your counter.  Cut into scones with a cookie cutter and set them onto an ungreased baking sheet at least an inch apart.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 17 minutes until they are golden.  Serve them warm from the oven with lots of jam or berries or butter or whipped cream— or any combination of those yummy toppings.

Apple Currant Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

IMG_5598Hello friends–  It’s that apple-y time of year.  And when my super cooking cousin, Brenda sent me this recipe via facebook, I knew it would be good!  Studded with apples, walnuts and tiny currant bursts of sweetness, its all an apple cake should be.  Then slather on the cream cheese frosting.  It’s pretty darn good.  Thanks bunches Brenda!!

2 medium apple, peeled, cored & chopped to small bits
3/8 cup butter (3/4 stick) at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup currants

Prepare the apples.  Then with an electric mixer cream together the sugar, butter and egg.  Blend in the milk.  And then mix in the flour, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and salt.  Finally with a spoon stir in the walnuts, currants and apples.  Spoon the whole bowlful of batter into a cake pan (or 9″ square baking dish) sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes until the cake is cooked through and firm to the touch.

1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
4 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
Walnuts & currants to garnish

Beat together the butter, cream cheese and vanilla with an electric mixer.  Then slowly beat in the powdered sugar until it’s a  blended.  Spread it on the cake after it’s cooled completely. Garnish with walnuts and currants.

P.S.  I made this one layer version of the cake for my Bible Study Buddies– they’re dainty eaters.  You can double it for a standard two layer cake.

Carrot Cake Pancakes

IMG_0889Good evening all–  Sunday evening supper. To tell the truth, Sunday supper around here is usually a thrown together quesadilla or peanut butter toast in front of the t.v.  But when the kids were young, lots of Sundays, it was pancakes for supper.  So in memory of those “good old days,” I’m making pancakes for Sunday supper this week– with a fresh, spicy, nutty twist– and loads of maple syrup!

2 cups grated carrot, about 2 large carrots
1 1/4 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tab. canola oil
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup coconut
1/4 cup currants or raisins
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts

Grate the carrots and set them aside.  Stir up the flour, baking powder, salt, pumpkin pie spice and sugar.  Then add in the eggs, vanilla, oil and buttermilk*.  Finally stir in the carrots, coconut, currants and nuts.  Cook them up on a griddle sprayed with cooking spray (or butter, if your cholesterol is lower than mine) on medium heat.  Pour out small scoopfuls.  They do spread to get bigger on the pan!  Top with pecans and globs of maple syrup!  Hope you like them as much as we did.

*For butter milk, I just added a a couple tablespoons of cider vinegar to regular milk.

Nutty Maple Granola

IMG_0833Hi all–  I’m taken with this new granola recipe.  Had a bowlful for breakfast, took a little baggie-ful to snack on at recess break at work and then ate more before bed.  It’s the nuts. Nutty delicious.   I got the recipe from my culinary cousin, Brenda.  We drove out to eat breakfast by her fireplace when we were in Chicago and this stuff was on the table –SOOO good (along with everything else she made).  I’ll be keeping a tubful of this in my kitchen cupboard from now on…  (thanks Brenda!)

Cooking Spray
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup chopped raw, unsalted walnuts
1/2 cup chopped unsalted almonds
1/2 cup chopped unsalted pecans
2/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
1/2 cup currants* or raisins, optional

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.  Prepare a large rimmed baking sheet lined with foil.

IMG_0819In a medium bowl combine the oats, nuts, maple syrup, salt, pumpkin pie spice.  Spread the mixture onto the baking sheet and bake until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Transfer the sheet to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Stir in the currants (or raisins).  Store in an airtight container.

Feel free to eat it morning, noon and night.

And thanks Bigarels for the luxurious maple syrup!

*I use currants instead of raisins because they are small enough to add sweetness but not to taste gummy.  I know they’re hard to find in Socal–Look at Sprouts.

Nutty Currant Oatmeal Muffins

IMG_0096Hello friends–  Oatmeal.  You know it’s good for you.  And I like it just fine as long as it is loaded with all my favorite goodies– pecans, cranberries, brown sugar, bananas, walnuts, currents, pecans, granola, berries…  So I do love these pretty little muffins.  You can add any or all of these little goodies to make your muffins scrumptious.  This version has currants and lots of walnuts, so good hot from the oven or split and toasted the next day.

1 cup oatmeal
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup currants
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg
3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup walnuts


In a mixing bowl stir together the oatmeal, milk, brown sugar, currants, oil and egg.  Then add in the flour, baking powder, salt and nuts.  Mix just until everything is moist and drop into muffin pans lined with paper wrappers or sprayed with cooking spray.  Bakes at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until they start to turn golden on top.


P. S. –Last week when Willa came to lunch, she brought a generous jar of pineapple orange marmalade her daughter had made.  The prettiest jam and so, so good on muffins (or anything else for that matter).  I’ll try to track that recipe down, if I can, and send it on to you…

Apricot Chicken Salad

Hi there– Don’t you love potlucks?  Trying out everyone’s favorite dishes.  We did salads last week at Sue’s– a dining table spilling over with freshness.  Nineteen friends made a big circle around the table, sang a truly beautiful doxology and filled our plates.  We sat around tables outdoors on a balmy evening and laughed and told our stories.  Good summer night.  Thanks Sue.

This is what I trundled off to the potluck:

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
a splash of olive oil
a shake of garlic salt
3 stalks of celery
10  apricots
1/4 cup currants
1/2 cup toasted pecans
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup fat free sour cream

Cut the chicken breasts into chunks and sauté them in a non-stick pan with a small splash of olive oil and a sprinkle of garlic salt.  Cook til slightly browned.  Meanwhile chop the celery in to small bits and cut the apricots in nice little chunks.  Cool the chicken and then mix it all together.

Good cool dinner on a summer evening with some sliced fruit, a crunchy bread roll and a  frosty lemonade-ice tea.  Eat it outdoors–pure summer!

Banana Carrot Muffins

Weekend with the kids in town calls for Sunday morning muffins.  These little guys are packed with different flavors.  I think you’ll like them.

2 smashed bananas
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup flour
1 carrot, coarsely grated
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup currants

Smash those bananas in a mixing bowl with a fork.  Stir in the oil, eggs and sugar.  Then add in the wheat germ, baking powder, salt and flour.  Finally fold in the grated carrot, walnuts and currants.  Bake them up at 350 degrees for about 20 to 25 minutes until they are firm to the touch and gold brown on top.

Serve them up with a mug of tea and a bowl of fruit– and if you have time scramble up some eggs.  Breakfast!