Last weekend, while tailgaiting in the Cowboys stadium lot at the ND game in Dallas, I ran into a distant friend from college. Not someone I keep in touch with frequently, but someone who it’s always nice to see. [Reunioning: it's what we do at ND games, even those hundreds of miles away from South Bend. To say I love my alma mater and its impressive following would be overkill, and I am nothing if not subtle, so I shall refrain ;) ]
The best part of our quick hello was her interest in my career. “I read your blog all the time, I just love the traveling and treats. Remind me what you do again? Nationwide research for a Madison bakery?”
YES. Yes. That is what I do. What an incredibly wonderful assumption.
First, I think I deserve points, from anyone who works with me at the company where I am actually employed, that I am so nondescript in this blog that a reader and regular follower of Sconemasters does not have any idea what my company, career, or job is. A job that I do not take lightly, a job that I spend upwards of 70 hours focused on every week, a job that is substantially demanding, both emotionally and intellectually. Yet sconemasters is so separate from this job (aside from the travel that said job takes me to), that it’s hard to tell that I actually do anything other than bake treats when in Madison, and eat fantastic treats while traveling the country. My company doesn’t love being in personal blogs or in public media of any sort, so I’d say Sconemasters is doing well at limiting its focus, and keeping my unnamed organization free of mention.
Second, what a dream career Callie envisions me to have. To travel as recon for a bakery, to other bakeries across the country, and then bring back great ideas. ‘Nationwide research for a Madison bakery.’ Sign. Me. Up.
In the meantime, while I actively search for the career Callie thinks I currently have, I think I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing. Working in my non-food related industry by day, baking with friends and sprinkles by night (every night). And traveling this wonderful little country to find the best local treats everywhere I go. Welcome to Sconemasters.
after spending 12 hour days together at work, let’s bake together!
making nutella mini souffles
beautiful, but missing something
nutella ganache, of course
topped with roasted hazelnuts. and sprinkles.
roasted pear, dark chocolate scones, to be shared at a 630am Monday morning meeting
worth it? jury’s still out. 6:30am is early.
cooking with another wonderful friend from work. yeah, I’m not afraid to admit it: all my close friends are people I’ve met at work.. one of the bi-products of working all the time.
they make a good cheese plate, I’ll give them that.
glazing beet crostini with beautiful balsamic
if only this were my job. I’d get a raise for this creation.
Nigella Nutella Souflee Cupcakes [we turned this cake recipe into cupcakes]
for the cake: 6 large eggs (separated)
1 pinch of salt 9 tablespoons soft unsalted butter
13 oz Nutella (1 large jar) 1 tablespoon Frangelico (or rum or water)
1 cup hazelnut meal 4 oz bittersweet chocolate (melted)
for the icing: 1 cup hazelnuts (peeled weight)
½ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon Frangelico
5 oz bittersweet chocolate
Method: Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4/350ºF. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites and salt until stiff but not dry. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and Nutella together, and then add the Frangelico (or whatever you’re using), egg yolks and hazelnut meal. Fold in the cooled, melted chocolate, then lighten the mixture with a large dollop of egg white, which you can beat in as roughly as you want, before gently folding the rest of them in a third at a time. Pour into a 23cm/9 inch round greased and lined springform tin and cook for 40 minutes or until the cake’s beginning to come away at the sides, then let cool on a rack. Toast the hazelnuts in a dry frying pan until the aroma wafts upwards and the nuts are golden-brown in parts: keep shaking the pan so that they don’t burn on one side and stay too pallid on others. Transfer to a plate and let cool. This is imperative: if they go on the ganache while hot, it’ll turn oily. (Believe me, I speak from experience.) If your hazelnuts have skins on then after toasting in the frying pan transfer them to a slightly dampened tea towel and rub them while they are still warm to remove the skins. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the cream, liqueur or water and chopped chocolate, and heat gently. Once the chocolate’s melted, take the pan off the heat and whisk until it reaches the right consistency to ice the top of the cake. Unmould the cooled cake carefully, leaving it on the base as it will be too difficult to get such a damp cake off in one piece. Ice the top with the chocolate icing, and dot thickly with the whole, toasted hazelnuts. If you have used Frangelico, put shot glasses on the table and serve it with the cake. – See more at: http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/nutella-cake-158#sthash.x7enkOY8.dpuf
Roasted Pear and Chocolate Chunk Scones
Tweaked from The Perfect Finish
Makes 6 generous scones; you can absolutely make these a bit smaller and reduce their baking time accordingly
3 firmish pears (about 1 pound or 255 grams)
1 1/2 cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar plus 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated or coarse for sprinkling
1 1/2 teaspoons (8 grams) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) table salt plus additional for egg wash
6 tablespoons (85 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy cream
1/4 cup (3 ounces or 85 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (or chips)
2 large eggs, 1 for dough, 1 for glaze
Heat oven to 375°F. Peel and core pears. Cut into 1-inch chunks. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange pear chunks on parchment and roast until they feel dry to the touch and look a little browned underneath, about 20 minutes. Slide parchment paper with pear chunks onto a cooling rack (or onto a plate in the fridge or freezer to speed this up) and cool to lukewarm. Leave oven on. Line baking sheet with another piece of parchment.
Whisk flour, baking powder, 1/4 cup sugar and salt together in the bowl of an electric mixer. Toss in cooled pear chunks, bits of butter, heavy cream and 1 egg. With the paddle attachment, mix the dough on low speed until it just comes together. Don’t overmix. Add the chocolate chunks and mix for 5 seconds more.
On a very well floured counter, pat out dough into a 6-inch round. Cut into 6 generous wedges and transfer to baking sheet at least two inches apart (do as I say, not as I did here!). Whisk remaining egg in a small dish with 1 teaspoon of water and a pinch of salt. Brush each scone with egg wash and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of sugar.
Bake scones until firm and golden, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack. Serve, and pat yourself on the back for your excellent host skills.
Do ahead: You can get this recipe all the way to the point where you’d bake them, and instead cover the pan with foil or plastic wrap and freeze them overnight. Bake them directly from the freezer in the morning; they should only take a few minutes longer. For longer than overnight, transfer frozen, already shaped, scones to a freezer bag until needed. In both cases, brush the egg wash/sprinkle the sugar on while still frozen, before baking the scones.
Smashed Beet, Crispy Chickpea, and Mint Crostini
Serves four to six
For the smashed beets
3 md. red beets
1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Trim and wash beets. Put them in a baking dish, add a splash of water, and cover tightly.
3. Roast the beets in the oven for about 75 minutes, until they are cooked through.
4. Allow beets to cool. Peel and smash them using a fork on a cutting board.
For the crispy chickpeas
1 15-oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp. olive oil
½ tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. cumin
¼ tsp. smoked paprika
1. Dry beans on a bed of paper towels, rolling the beans around to remove their thin skins. Discard the skins.
2. Place beans on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over the beans and toss to coat.
3. Roast 30-40 minutes in a 400° oven until the beans are a deep golden brown and crunchy, making sure they do not burn.
4. Season with salt and spices.
For the balsamic vinegar glaze
1/3 c. balsamic vinegar
1/3 c. water
1 tbsp. caster (superfine) sugar
1. Place the vinegar, water, and sugar in a small saucepan over high heat and stir to dissolve the sugar.
2. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes or until thickened. Set aside to cool completely.
8 slices bread, toasted
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 c. mint leaves, torn
Sea salt, to taste
1. Brush bread with olive oil, place on a baking sheet, and toast in a 400° oven for about 5 minutes.
2. Rub each slice with the garlic clove. Add smashed beets, crispy chickpeas, and mint. Top with a drizzle of the balsamic reduction and sprinkle with sea salt.