Saturday, June 16, 2012

Orange-Poppy Seed Scones

Lately I've been developing some breakfast pastry recipes for my summer restaurant job here on MV and one of my favorite things to make are scones. But not those dry as sand scones, no sir! These Orange-Poppy Seed Scones, adapted from a CIA recipe, are moist and have a tender crumb structure with some crispy bits on the edges. They're loaded with Vitamin C from all the citrus zest and a healthy dose of Dutch Blue Poppy Seeds.

Dutch Blue Poppy Seeds, you ask? Well, Virtual Potluck has joined forces with Savory Spice Shop in developing a few new recipes using their products. We each have an entire shop section and mine was seeds; this was were I fell in love with their Dutch Blue Poppy Seeds. I'm the one that goes for the poppy seed bagel 9/10 times at the coffee shop, so it seemed natural I'd bake with them!

Poppy seeds come from a yellowish brown opium plant native to the Mediterranean. They have been cultivated since the 6th century for the seeds, but also for opium, the narcotic that comes from the unripe seed. These mature seeds do not have narcotic properties. Nowadays these tiny blue gray seeds are mainly produced in Holland and Canada.  Poppy seeds have a nutty tasting flavor and are mainly used in baking. They are popular in breads, cakes, rolls and cookies. Although poppy seeds are difficult to grind, try dry roasting them first, then buzz them in a coffee grinder or spice mill. To make a paste, soak the seeds in water for 2-3 hours and then process in a blender with a touch of the liquid. Refrigerate or freeze poppy seeds to maintain freshness.
-Savory Spice Shop

Each Virtual Potluck member had a different set of spices to play with, so make sure to stop by Cookistry and check out the round-up post of recipes and giveaways! More spices, more chances to win!

Orange-Poppy Seed Scones with Citrus Glaze
Makes 8 large scones

1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 3/4 cup bread flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla salt
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon orange extract
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/4 cup sliced dried apricots

1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon milk
to decorate: orange zest, poppy seeds

1 cup powdered sugar
2-4 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
orange zest

  1. Stir together sugar, flour, baking powder, and vanilla salt. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk milk and lemon juice until it "curdles". This takes about 2 minutes. Add orange extract, poppy seeds, and apricot slices. 
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir together. You can do this in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, but using a dough whisk is a faster and easier way to go! 
  4. On a baking sheet fitted with plastic wrap, place dough and naturally form into a circle. Cut into 8 slices and freeze for 4 hours or overnight. I found it easier to cut after 30 minutes in the freezer.
  5. To bake: Preheat oven to 350F and place frozen scones on greased baking sheet. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with orange zest and poppy seeds. Bake until golden brown.
  6. To make glaze, stir together powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and orange zest. Glaze scones and serve! You can always serve glaze on the side as well. 

Thanks to the generous folks over at Savory Spice Shop, we're giving away a spice gift set for one lucky Cooking with Books reader! It's a fantastic set of spice blends that you can add to everything from popcorn to grilled steak! Entry Guidelines: leave a comment for each action done, as well as a contact email.
  • Tweet: Love Spices? Enter to win a spice gift set via @nella22 & @SavorySpiceShop
  • Head on over to the Savory Spice Shop Facebook page and post on their wall your favorite spice
  • Follow Savory Spice Shop on Twitter
  • Follow Cooking with books blog via Google Friend Connect (right-hand side bar)

Connect with Savory Spice Shop

Disclaimer: Savory Spice Shop sent Virtual Potluck members spices to test and develop a recipe with, free of charge. My opinions, as always, were based on product testing and tasting!  US mailing addresses only. One (1) winner will be chosen randomly. Prize will be shipped by Savory Spice Shop. The contest ends Sunday, April 22nd, 2012 at 11:59 pm Eastern time. The winner will be announced on Monday, April 23st via email and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Country Crock at the Murray Household

This post is sponsored by Country Crock. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

You all must be wondering, why is this die hard baker talking about something other than butter? Well, because more than a food blogger, I'm a wife that married into an apparent Country Crock loving husband. Before being married to M, it was rarely something I bought at the store but after almost 5 months of marriage, Country Crock has been a staple at the Murray household.

The first time we were grocery shopping and he grabs the huge tub, I stared in dismay. He explained it was so much easier to spread, as well a it was a comfort food to him; he grow up with it melted into his veggies and spread on his morning toast. How could I ever go against childhood memories?! And now, it's become a favorite of mine as well, for the best reason is that I love buttered toast and it's SO much easier to spread Country Crock than frozen hard butter early in the morning. Plus, I definitely agree with the homey, comforting tasting.

Since we're newlyweds and childless, we really don't have to get veggies into the kids, but if you are a Mom or Dad looking for quick and simple tips and recipes to make serving veggies more fun, this is great:  Download the free Clare Crespo Cookbook here for fun and whimsical recipes your family is sure to love! In the meantime, I adapted one of the cookbook recipes and made it as breakfast! 

Sweet Potato Hash Browns
Adapted from the Clare Crespo Cookbook
Makes 2 servings

1 sweet potato, peeled and grated
1/2 small yellow onion, peeled and grated
1 large egg, slightly beaten
to taste: salt, pepper, Sriracha
1/4 cup Country Crock Spread

  1. Mix the grated sweet potato, onion, and egg in a small bowl. 
  2. Season with black pepper, Sriracha and salt.
  3. In the Clare Crespo Cookbook, she then makes small mounds and brushes Country Crock over them to bake at 350F until golden brown. Since I didn't feel the need to turn on the oven so early, you can melt some Country Crock in a cast iron pan on the stove top and cook the hash browns until golden brown and cooked. 

    Connect with Country Crock:
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    Country Crock’s Twitter page:!/countrycrock