Day 5 – Lemon Lavender Scones (Gluten Free)

12 Jul

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Day 5:  Well I have made it to the end of my first week!  Five recipes in five days.  Pretty impressive!  Today I made lemon lavender scones, gluten free of course, which I have never done before.  Scones are one my favorite baked goods, but in my opinion, often taste better at a cafe/bakery than they do at home.  We shall see.

I found this recipe on the site Serendipity Refined.  Kimberly’s recipe was not a gluten free recipe, but I adapted it, just changing the flour used.  I am posting the original recipe below with my changes in parenthesis.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (I used 1 cup coconut flour and 1 cup Trader Joe’s all purpose gluten free flour)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking  soda
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons lavender (divided – I only ended up using 1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 4 Tablespoons chilled butter
  • 1/2 cup nonfat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (I made a buttermilk substitute, as I always buy buttermilk and most of it usually goes to waste as I do not use the entire container.  I looked online and found that 1 Tablespoon lemon juice and 1 cup of milk makes a nice substitute.  I used vanilla almond milk, as that is what I had on hand.)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (I did not use – I did not make the frosting)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice (I did not use – I did not make the frosting)

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Directions

  • Preheat over to 400 degrees.
  • Combine flour(s), sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, lemon zest, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of lavender.
  • Cut butter into pieces and cut into dry ingredients with a pastry cutter (I used a potato masher – I am working with what I have here!)
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the yogurt and buttermilk (milk and lemon juice mixture)
  • Combine wet ingredients with the dry ingredients.  Form a dough that will be sticky and moist.
  • Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead a few times.  Shape into a circle about 1 inch thick.
  • Use a knife to cute the dough into eight triangles.  (I cut it in half, into quarters, etc.)
  • Transfer the triangles to an oiled baking sheet.  (I placed parchment paper onto my cookie sheet and sprayed it with non-stick cooking spray.)
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until the scones are golden brown. (Once again our oven is HOT, so mine were in for a shorter period of time.)
  • Remove from oven and cool on a baking rack.
  • While scones are cooling, dissolve powdered sugar in lemon juice and mix in 1/2 a teaspoon of lavender.  Drizzle over scones and serve. (I did not do this step.)

Outcome

The scones were definitely good.  They had a subtle lemon and lavender flavor.  They were a bit dry, but not terribly so.  I did not add the frosting, as we were planning on eating the scones with the lemon curd and peach lavender butter from earlier this week.

Here is what I will try changing for next time.

  • Bake the scones for a shorter period of time (at least in my oven.)
  • Make sure when rolling out dough not to get too thin.  The scones were a bit flat.
  • Work on the shape of the scones for better presentation
  • I will make one more confession as well.  I forget to put the butter in before mixing the wet and dry ingredients together.  I feel like this could have affected the consistency.  Oooopps.  I will try these again one day!

Otherwise, they were really good, especially with some lavender lemon curd and peach lavender butter!

Thanks for visiting.  Have a great weekend!

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Day 4 – Peach Lavender Butter (Jam)

11 Jul

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Day 4:  Today was a good day.  I woke up early and ran out to the fruit stand  (before it rained) to buy some peaches for this recipe.  I wanted to get the peaches at the Farmers’ Market, but I could not get there.  The idea for this recipe originated from my boyfriend who was recently in Nice staying with a friend.  Early in the morning, before his flight home, Julie ran out to pick up fresh pastries and paired them with her homemade Peach Lavender butter.  Now, Mike and I had just spent an entire week in Morocco, and while I flew back to NYC he had to fly to Nice for a day or two.  When he got home, after not seeing each other for two days, one of the first things he said was, “Julie made this amazing lavender butter.  I could get the recipe if you want!”  For a man who does not ask for much, this was a pretty upfront request.  The rest is history.  Julie (thank you!) sent us this recipe, which Mike devoured in France, and now can enjoy with our scones and lemon curd on Saturday morning.  I just hope the pastries are as good as those in Nice!

Julie noted that the recipe came from Homemade Living: Canning & Preserving with Ashley English.  The recipe was intended to yield 6 pint sized containers, but I halved the recipe, as it is just the two of us here.  Halving still produced a entire mason jar with a little bit left over.  Below, I am listing the recipe as Ashley English intended.  If you would like to halve it, please do so on your own!

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Ingredients

  • 3 pounds peaches (I used 4 large peaces for 1.5 pounds)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh or dried lavender buds
  • 3 tablespoons bottled lemon juice (it has to be bottled to ensure sufficient acidity, as juice from lemons can vary in pH)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest (I zested one lemon)
  • 3 cups granulated sugar

Directions

1.  Blanch the peaches for 30 seconds in boiling water & immediately follow with ice bath.  When they are cool enough to handle, peel, pit and chop.  **Most I could peel solely with my fingers, but some needed a knife.**
2.  Bring 1/3  cup of water to boil.  Place lavender buds in a small bowl.  Pour in the boiling water, cover, and steep for 15 minutes.  Strain the liquid through a mesh sieve and set aside.
3.  Wash and prep jars and lids (sterilize & warm lids if you’re properly canning, or just wash everything in warm water.)  **I just washed in warm water because I am not canning it.  Although, one day I hope to begin canning my own jams.**
4.  Combine lavender water, peaches, lemon juice, and zest in a heavy, medium, stainless-steel saucepan.  Bring to boil over med-high heat.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until the peach mixture thickens and clings to a spoon.  Remove from heat.
5.  Once the peach mixture has cooled slightly, either press it through a food mill of fine-meshed sieve or puree using a food processor or immersion blender.  I used an immersion blender, which worked beautifully and did not take much time.
6.  Return the puree to the pan, add the sugar and lavender buds, and bring the mixture to a gentle boil over medium heat.  Stir continually until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered 25 minutes.  **I lost track of time here (selling on eBay) and my butter boiled for a long while.  It still looks and tastes okay, but be careful!**
7.  If canning, can with 1/2″ or 1.3 cm head space, removing air bubbles, etc. and process for 10 minutes in boiling water bath.  **I did not do this.  Instead I just spooned the butter into clear mason jars and placed it into the fridge.  If we do not eat it in the next couple of days, I may attempt putting it into the freezer.  Julie said she puts it right into the freezer, so I am assuming I can do so as well.**
Variations: substitute an equal amount of peeled nectarines for the peaches.  To introduce an additional layer of flavor, add 1/2 t ground allspice, 1/2 t cloves, and 1 t ground cinnamon.  **I did not try any of these, but may in the future.**
Outcome
I loved this recipe.  I loved the fresh ingredients.  I loved the aroma my kitchen/apartment took on.  I love that I have fresh jam in the refrigerator and do not need to buy any pre-made jam.  And, surprisingly, it was easy to make.  While preparing this recipe I had the realization that I do not need to buy any pre-canned jams, sauces, or jellies anymore.  I have thought about this in the past, as we have attempted to eat less processed foods.  But, you never really feel powerful enough to make all of your own foods until you give it a try and realize how easy it can be – this week I have seen this!  I can easily make many of the prepackaged foods that I have relied on over the years.  And, when you make your own food, you enjoy it more!  Actively participating in a process, you become more invested, and it tastes better!
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Day 3 – Chocolate Lavender Fudge

10 Jul

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Day 3: Well, I almost did not have time to cook/bake today, but as dinner heated up (yes, I made leftovers), I snuck a quick recipe in.  This recipe is for chocolate lavender fudge, another item I have never dreamed of making in my own kitchen.  You think of fudge (or maybe I think of fudge) and remember trips to the New Jersey boardwalks of Atlantic City or Ocean City, or the town of Long Beach Island where I spent many, many summers growing up.  Spending the night in the fresh sea air, and stopping along the way for a taste of the decadent fudge was always the best way to end a day of fun in the sun.  Reliably, you could find the typical flavors – chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter, Rocky Road.  You could only have one or two pieces, as each piece was extremely rich, but it was always a treat.

When I came across this recipe on Serenity Lavender’s website, I just had to try it.  Much like my childhood fudge, I knew it would be sweet and delicious, but, with the lavender added in, it seemed that it would become more “gourmet”.  Below is the recipe and my thoughts.

Ingredients

  • 2 cupes semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 300 ml can of sweetened condensed mile
  • 1 Tablespoon ground lavender
  • 3 Tablespoons butter

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients into a double boiler.  ***This just means to heat a pot of water to boiling.  Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and place a bowl on top of the pot. ***
  • I added the chocolate chips first and allowed them to melt.  Once melted, I added the condensed milk, the butter and finally the lavender.  Stir continuously until all ingredients are melted together.
  • Line an 8X8 pan with wax paper (although I used parchment paper, as I did not have any wax paper – another item I will have to purchase this weekend!)  I also sprayed the bottom with a bit of cooking spray so that it would adhere to the pan.
  • Sprinkle extra lavender leaves onto the top to add beauty.
  • Cover the dish with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.

This is as far as I made it tonight, as it is cooling in the fridge.  I will take it out in the morning, cut it into pieces and give it a taste so that I can report back.

Outcome

So far, this has been an easy recipe.  It includes few ingredients and was easy to pull together last minute.  As I licked the bowl (hey, I’m allowed, it’s my kitchen!), the fudge tasted delicious.  I will report back tomorrow as to the taste once all of the flavors come together and cool.  Keep your fingers crossed – this weekend we are going to a party, and we are hoping to take some fudge with us!

The verdict is in.  The fudge had a wonderful consistency, just like the fudge you buy at a store.  As for taste, I felt like it tasted just like the chocolate chips I used.  I did not find anything  special about my fudge.  There was a slight lavender taste, but nothing overpowering.  Maybe in the future I will make some adaptations to the recipe to add more flavor.  But, let me be honest, chocolate is good no matter what.  So, yes, they are edible!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Day 2 – Lavender Lemon Curd

9 Jul

Day 2: Today, I was very excited to get back into the kitchen.  Yesterday’s cookies were such a success (bigger than I thought they would be) that trying something new today was exhilarating.  Like yesterday, the second recipe I found included lavender, as we have a big bag from the Farmers’ Market.  After cooking with the lavender yesterday I now understand why it is such a valued herb in the kitchen.  Tuesday’s recipe was a Lavender-Lemon Curd.  Now, I am one who enjoys Afternoon Tea and my favorite part is always the scones (I will make them on day 5) and lemon curd.  Lemon curd is always so fresh and delightful, but it was never something I thought of attempting to make in my own kitchen, but instead  a special treat mom visited and took me to tea, I traveled to London, or we were celebrating my aunt’s 60th birthday.  Now, I feel confident that my mom and I could celebrate my aunt’s 65th birthday here (not in London) while enjoying some delicious and light Lavender-Lemon Curb.

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I found this recipe on Happy Valley and Lavender Herb Farm‘s webpage.  It was surprisingly super easy to prepare for and carry out!  Lynda’s Lavender-Lemon Curb was delicious and I would recommend it for a Saturday morning breakfast, high tea at your place, or just simply to sneak a spoonful of while deciding what to eat in the fridge.  The recipe is as follows.  Thank you Lynda!

Lynda’s Lavender-Lemon Curd

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of real butter
  • 1¼ cup white sugar
  • 2 lemons, rind & juice up to 1/2 cup
  • 4 well beaten eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers or 3 tablespoons fresh

Directions

  • In order to make this, I used a double broiler, as Linda suggested.  I boiled a medium pot of water and once boiling, lowered it to a simmer and placed a bowl on top of it.
  • Into the bowl I added the butter and sugar and mixed until melted together.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and whisk gently until thickened.  **After doing some research on the web I found that this process would take about 15 minutes to do.  I was concerned about the eggs being raw and wanted to make sure to cook them through.  Some websites told me if I was using a thermometer it should read 170 degrees.  Another website told me to dip a spoon into the curb.  If I run my finger down the middle the two sides of curd should stay separate. I tried using a thermometer, but with the double boiler I could only get the temperature up to 160 degrees.  Using the spoon method I was successful!
  • Pour through a sieve – I used a colander,as I do not own a sieve – but will be going to get one this weekend 🙂
  • Once it cooled, I spooned the curd into small jars.  I spooned mine into two jars, as I will be taking some to my mom tomorrow.
  • Keep refrigerated!

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Outcome

Wow!  It was delicious and easy to make with so few ingredients and steps.  I will be keeping this in my refrigerator and look forward to eating it with my scones on Saturday morning.  Check back on Friday for the my scone recipe and experiences!  Thanks for visiting!

Day 1 – Honey Lavender Butter Cookies (Gluten Free)

8 Jul

Day 1: On Friday at the Farmers’ Market in Union Square I picked up a bag of culinary lavender, as I have always been curious about how to use it in the kitchen.  After scouring the internet for lavender recipes, I decided on five to create in my kitchen this week!  This idea came to me this past weekend, as I am off from teaching in the summer and wanted to do something meaningful and exciting.  I decided that cooking something new each day and recording it would allow me to explore in the kitchen, find new and interesting recipes, but also have a product to show at the end of the summer.  I plan on documenting my recipes, how the recipes work, and my thoughts and experiences as I navigate the kitchen, as well as new ingredients.  Below is the recipe and pictures from my experience in the kitchen today – my first day.

Cookies are ready!

Cookies are ready!

I found this recipe on The Hummingbird High: A Baking Blog and could not wait to get started.  As I am on a gluten free diet, I have adapted some of the ingredients of the recipe to work for my household.

Ingredients
For the Honey Lavender Butter Cookies
(makes approximately 24 3-inch cookies)
  • 1 tablespoon culinary lavender (dried or fresh will do – I used dried)
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour – I used gluten free flours – both coconut flour and trader joe’s gluten-free baking flour.
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons water  (I used more than 2 tablespoons in order to keep my dough together)
For the Lavender Glaze
(makes approximately 1/4 cup of glaze)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1 tablespoon culinary lavender (dried or fresh will do – again, I used dried)
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla
  • a couple drops of purple food coloring (optional) I did not do this as my food coloring was away and too hard to pull out
Directions
    1. Put the 1 1/2 tablespoons almond milk and 1 tablespoon dried culinary lavender used in the glaze recipe in a small ramekin, cover, and refrigerate for 3-4 hours (or overnight if possible).
    2. Preheat the oven to 350 (F) degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and grease both the parchment paper and the cookie sheet.
    3. (This step is optional but I find it distributes the lavender better) In a food processor, whir 1/3 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon of dried lavender for about a minute until the lavender buds are chopped and distributed throughout the sugar and the sugar has a purple hue. (I did this which I believe helped distribute the lavender.)
    4. In a medium bowl, sift together 2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, and 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
    5. Using a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or, do this manually with a wooden spoon in a big bowl), beat together 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, 1/3 cup sugar, and 3 tablespoons of honey until very creamy and smooth.  (I did this without a mixer, as I do not have one in my tiny NYC apartment.  I let the butter soften so that it was almost liquid-y, which was helpful.)
    6. Slowly sift in the flour mixture and beat just until the dough forms large clumps. The dough should be a little crumbly at this point. Add 1 teaspoon of water from your 2 tablespoons of water and continue beating at a low speed, adding water teaspoon by teaspoon until the dough comes together and is less crumbly.  (I added more water, maybe because of the gluten-free flour?  It was definitely crumbly through to the end.
    7. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and squeeze the dough into a ball. Use a rolling pin or the back of your hands to flatten the ball into a 9-inch square that is approximately 1/4-inch thick.**My hand worked much better than my rolling pin.)**  Use a cookie cutter to stamp out whatever cookie shapes you want.
    8. Transfer the cookie dough shapes onto your greased and parchment-lined baking pan, using the twines of a fork to poke holes in each cookie.
    9. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cookies are golden-brown and feel firm when lightly pressed. **My oven is very hot and my cookies were done within 20 minutes.  Make sure to know your oven or get yourself an oven thermometer.  Leave the cookies on the cookie sheet and set on a wire rack to cool for a few minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
    10. Once the cookies have cooled, take out the ramekin of lavender and milk from the fridge. (from the first step in the recipe) At this point, the lavender should have cold-infused the milk full of flavor. Strain the flowers from the milk.
    11. Stir together 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, the strained lavender infused milk, 1/8 teaspoon vanilla, and food coloring in a small bowl. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved and the color is uniform. Use immediately to glaze the cookies, sprinkle a couple lavender leaves on top of the cookies.

Outcome

The cookies were out of this world!  As they went into the oven I was a bit nervous, as they were flakey and seemed to be falling apart.  As soon as they were baked, though, they came together.  I loved working with a new ingredient – lavender – which I will be working with all week.  It was floral and fresh, without being too overpowering.  The cookies were sweet, but not too sugary.  Nothing like a chocolate chip cookie, as they are more subtle in flavor.  They were a delightful treat at the end of a hot summer day.  I will definitely be making them again, and will most likely share the leftovers with friends and family!

Day 1 - Honey Lavender Butter Cookies

Day 1 – Honey Lavender Butter Cookies