Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Rosemary & Goat Cheese Corn Muffins

Is anybody else's behind getting kicked by the time change? Because mine majorly is. I mean, I like the extra hour of daylight, blah blah blah...but I don't like not being able to fall asleep and then waking up even earlier than usual. Even my run game is off. To be fair, I know I run better in the morning than at, say, 4 PM. But something was just wonky.

This. This is what I felt like after my run. Just...unset. Kind of wiggly. 

I'd rather feel like this. Together. Sweet. Buttery? Ugh, let's just shake it out and make fancied up corn muffins.

Let's be real. It's just like making cornbread except it's in muffin form. You'll need: flour, cornmeal, buttermilk, an egg, goat cheese, rosemary, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Chop the rosemary until you don't have any super big pieces left.

Add the rosemary, salt, baking powder, and baking soda to the flour and cornmeal.

Mix with a fork until everything is evenly distributed.

Crack the egg into your buttermilk and give it a vigorous whisk. I definitely used the same fork I stirred the dry ingredients with. I must mention the buttermilk I used. If you're in South Carolina, try to find milk from Hickory Hill Farm. It's seriously the best buttermilk I've ever used.

Wet goes into dry and mixing brings it all together.

Crumble in some goat cheese and gently fold it in.

Scoop the corn muffin batter into a greased muffin tin. It's a pretty thick batter, so scooping is easy.

Bake until the tops are golden and set. I mean, I don't think I've every made a cuter muffin. 

So you know how I don't believe in sweet cornbread? Well in the spirit of contradiction, I recommend finding some good preserves and smearing them over warm, buttered corn muffins. Such a good breakfast.

A drizzle of honey ain't bad either, y'all. 

Rosemary & Goat Cheese Corn Muffins (makes 12 muffins)

1 c cornmeal
1 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Heaping tablespoon chopped rosemary
1 c buttermilk
1 egg
1/3 c goat cheese, crumbled
  • Preheat oven to 375º. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and rosemary.
  • Measure the buttermilk and crack the egg into the cup. Whisk together until combined.
  • Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in the goat cheese. 
  • Portion the batter into the muffin cups. Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden on top.
  • When muffins are cool enough to handle, take them out of the tin and let cool. Serve warm with butter (and honey or preserves if you like it on the sweet side).

Monday, March 4, 2013

Lemon-Almond Scones

Oh my, y'all. It's March. I've moved into a new apartment. I'm still rearranging furniture. I made these scones like 3 weeks ago. It's felt like madness for about a month, but it's all starting to return to...let's call it normal.

I think we can all agree that it's time for bright flavors and sunny mornings. Even though it's still just getting into the 50s here, the days are longer and the sun makes everything seem happier.

Even training for the Bridge Run is a happier experience. I love running around the Shandon neighborhood, and I'm pretty sure I never ever thought love and running would be in the same sentence. Unless it was "I love eating a chocolate chip cookie after running". But not right after because all I can handle are bananas and water after running. It's a thing, I just go with it.

I don't use almonds nearly enough in baking. Probably because I don't like almond extract, so I just avoid the nut altogether. Lame. But like running, an aversion can turn to adoration. These scones have almonds and lemon, which makes them wonderful. 

You'll need: Flour, vanilla extract, butter, almond milk (or regular), baking powder, slivered almonds, sugar, lemon zest, and salt.

I learned this tip from Joy the Baker. Rub the zest into the sugar to release the lemony oils. It'll make everything start to smell like heaven.

Combine the sugared zest, almonds, baking powder, and salt. Stir with a fork to distribute everything.

Cut the butter into small cubes and use a pastry blender or pair of knives to blend it into the flour until you have pea-sized pieces.

These are a little large, but I was using my fingers and didn't want to warm the butter too much.

Stir together the almond milk and vanilla extract.

Pour it over the flour mixture and stir with that fork you used earlier. It should come together in a rather shaggy dough. Turn that out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and you're in business.

Knead the dough a couple of times and pat into a round that's about an inch in thickness. You know you're doing right by the world when you can see pieces of butter in the dough.

Cut into six triangles. You can try to make them evenly-sized, but if you're anything like me you'll have a couple of oddly-sized pastries. That's life, and they're no less delicious. Bake until lightly golden brown.

I don't always glaze scones, but when I do I like to top them with toasted nuts. 

You'll need: vanilla extract, lemon juice, powdered sugar, and more slivered almonds.

Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven a few minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don't burn.

Stir together the powdered sugar and lemon juice. Fact: This process is much smoother if you sift the powdered sugar first and use a whisk. Real life: I used a fork and wore a little bit of it in my hair. Don't forget the vanilla!

Pour pretty glaze over equally pretty (cooled) scones. I made far too much glaze and used it all. I had lots of puddles that I swiped up with my finger. It's a win-win.

Top with the toasted almonds and let the glaze set. Or not. It's up to you and your willpower.

My willpower took a vacation when it saw flaky layers and tasted tart, sugary glaze.

Lemon-Almond Scones (makes 6 medium scones)

1 tbs granulated sugar
1 tbs lemon zest
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c slivered almonds
6 tbs unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
1/2 c almond milk
1/2 tbs vanilla extract

2-3 tbs slivered almonds
1/2 c powdered sugar
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • For the scones, begin by rubbing the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingers. Add it to the flour along with baking powder, salt, and almonds. Stir with a fork to distribute evenly. Add butter to the flour mixture and cut in with a pastry blender until you have pieces the size of peas.
  • Stir together almond milk and vanilla extract and pour over dry ingredients. Stir with a fork until it just holds together. Turn out onto the prepared baking sheet and knead dough a couple of times to bring it together. Pat dough into a round about an inch thick.
  • Chill dough 10 minutes in the refrigerator. While dough chills, heat oven to 400º. Cut the chilled dough into 6 triangles and bake 13-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
  • When scones are cool, prepare glaze. Spread almonds on a baking sheet and toast in a 350º oven until fragrant and golden brown, 5-7 minutes. 
  • Whisk together powdered sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour over cooled scones and top with toasted almonds. Let set and enjoy with coffee or tea.