Friday, October 24, 2014

Coconut and Chocolate Macaroons

When life gives you lots of egg whites, make macaroons!  That's what I decided, anyway.  You may wonder when life gives you lots of egg whites.  In my life, it happens when I make ice cream.  Ice cream recipes tend to call for lots of egg yolks, and then you have whites left over.  So I suggest making good use of those whites and making macaroons!  (You can also freeze egg whites, I have read, but I haven't actually done that before.... great idea though!)

These are actually really easy to make.  And yet they look as though you did something very complicated!  First, you gently cook some egg whites, sugar, salt, honey, coconut and flour in a large skillet, add some vanilla, and then let it cool.  I plopped mine in the refrigerator and finished up another day.  When you are ready to bake, moisten your hands with water and roll the coconut mixture into balls, place them on a baking sheet, and slide them into the oven.  If you want to dip them in chocolate (why wouldn't you want to do that??) melt the chocolate in a double boiler, dip each macaroon in the melted chocolate, and place on a baking sheet covered in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate until set.  DONE.  It really is that easy. 

You have to try this!

Coconut and Chocolate Macaroons
adapted from David Lebovitz, Ready for Dessert
makes approximately 30 cookies
4 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 TB honey
2 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ounces (or amount of your choosing) bittersweet (or semi-sweet) chocolate, chopped

Mix together the egg whites, sugar, salt, honey, coconut and flour in a large skillet.  Heat over low to medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to scorch on the bottom.  Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract.  Place mixture in a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.  You can now refrigerate the mixture for up to a week, or freeze for up to 2 months.

Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment.

Moisten your hands with water (this is important - it helps the coconut mixture stick to itself and not to you!).  Make mounds that are approximately 1 1/2 inches in diameter and place them evenly spaced on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown.  Cool completely.

Melt chocolate in a double-boiler set over simmering water.  Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap.  Dip each cookie into the chocolate and place on the baking sheet.  Refrigerate for 5-10 minutes, until the chocolate it set.
NOTE:  You should be able to find unsweetened flaked coconut in the baking aisle of a large grocery store.  I think mine was "Bob's Red Mill" brand.  It tends to come in tinier flakes than your typical sweetened coconut, and the bag is more rectangular instead of flat.  If you can't find it there, check your local natural foods store or Whole Foods type market.
Printable Recipe

These were a HUGE hit in my house.  Mr. Clever Mom thought the kids must have done something very special to warrant macaroons.  He wanted to know what the special occasion might be.  I just let him guess.....

Baby in a trance of coconut/chocolate bliss....

They are messy if you eat them before the chocolate sets! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Coconut Lime Shrimp Tacos

Ready for a quick and delicious dinner?  Here you go!  Coconut Lime Shrimp Tacos!  These are not only delicious, but they are very fast, especially you can get the people at the fish counter to peel and de-vein the shrimp for you before you even bring them home!  (I must admit, this is what I usually try to do.  I have a total aversion to de-veining shrimp.)  So if you can get said fishmonger to peel and de-vein the shrimp for you, you are golden and this recipe will be a snap! 

Besides the fact that the shrimp are coated in a tasty mixture of coconut and lime zest, there is an awesome salsa on top made of red pepper, mango and avocado.  Doesn't it look bright and cheerful?  It tastes that way, too!    I realize that these ingredients may be seasonal for some people, so if you can't get mango right now at your supermarket, print out this recipe and put it somewhere that you will remember it come summer.  If you CAN get mango, get it and enjoy a piece of summer for just a bit longer!

Coconut Lime Shrimp Tacos
adapted from The Housewife in Training Files
Serves 4 (2 tacos each)

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined (wild, if you can get it!)
1 egg
1 overflowing cup of unsweetened, shredded coconut
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 ripe mango, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced (or onion/shallot of your preference)
2 avocados, diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
8 corn tortillas

Preheat your oven to 375F.  Spray a wire rack with cooking spray and place over a lined baking sheet.

Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels.  Whisk the egg in a shallow bowl.  Mix the coconut, cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and lemon zest in another shallow bowl or pie pan.  Dip each shrimp in the egg and then cover completely with the coconut mixture.  Place on the wire rack, evenly spaced apart.  Bake shrimp for 10  minutes, or until coconut is lightly brown and shrimp is cooked.

While the shrimp are in the oven, combine the mango, red pepper, onion, cumin, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and lemon juice.  Once it is seasoned to your taste, gently mix in the avocado, being careful not to smash the pieces. 

Heat the tortillas in the microwave or over the flame of your stove.  Add the shrimp and place the salsa on top.  Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve immediately.
Printable Recipe

Yum!  Enjoy a bright, healthy, tasty dinner!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

TWD: Baking with Julia - Sunny-side-up Peach Pastries

Our Tuesday's with Dorie group decided that October would be puff pastry month.  Theoretically, the weather has gotten cooler (in many parts of the world, but not here, phooey!) so making puff pastry would not be as difficult.  Making puff pastry is a time consuming project but I find it rather nice.  It's kind of like a meditation.... Roll roll roll, fold into thirds, turn, do it again...  According to the book, when you are done with the 6 turns you make with puff pastry, there are 994 layers of dough and 993 layers of butter!  I'll have to take their word for it.  I will not be testing that theory! 

Pounded butter on dough

I have made puff pastry before and found this dough to be quite easy to work.  It was simple to make and rolled out very smoothly.  I did learn that while puff pastry recipes call for very cold butter, you should  NOT use frozen butter.  I had only 2 sticks of butter in the refrigerator when I started this recipe, and you need a pound, so I pulled 2 out of the freezer.  Well, frozen butter doesn't pound as well as cold butter does.  It just doesn't give!  In case you are wondering, when you first start working with the butter, you literally pound it with your rolling pin to get it softened a bit and into the right size to start.  It's quite nice, the pounding.  It just feels good, trust me!

A nice present.. Dough wrapped butter!
You wrap the butter in the dough and then roll it out into a long rectangle.  Fold it into thirds like a business letter, turn it, and roll it out again.  If you live somewhere that isn't actually cool, this can take a while because if the butter gets too warm, you need to cover the dough with plastic and put it in the refrigerator for at least 30-60 minutes to cool down again.  Then start again!  When you make puff pastry, you do 6 "turns" which includes rolling the the rectangle, folding the dough, and then turning the dough a different direction.  I refrigerated my dough after every 2 turns.  

Here is a hint for making puff pastry:  You need a cool room and a cool rolling surface.  I can't change the weather here that brought humidity into my house, but I could help out the rolling surface.  I do not have a marble board for rolling pastry (though obviously I NEED one!) so I improvise.  I set a metal baking sheet that just has a tiny rim on the ends upside down on top of a reusable ice mat.  The baking sheet becomes my rolling surface and it stays nice and cold with the ice mat underneath!   Here is mine:

I purchased mine at The Container Store but you can probably buy them on Amazon or other places.  

These pastries are supposed to look like sunny-side-up eggs.  There are supposed to be apricots on top, but since I could not find any, I used peaches instead.  Each pastry contains 1/2 of a peach, cut into two quarters for the "eggs".  While they aren't exactly what the recipe requested, they turned out pretty tasty just the same!

Me being me, I didn't sit down to actually WATCH the Baking with Julia episode that contains the puff pastry and Sunny-side-up Pastries until my own pastries were in the oven.  Yes, it is a bit late by then to change anything, but that is just how it goes sometimes!

My thoughts on this recipe:
  1. The book says to roll out the puff pastry to 1/8 to 1/4 inch and then cut into 4-inch circles.  The video says to roll out the puff pastry to 1/2 inch and then cut into 4-inch circles.  I think 1/2 inch would have been better.  By the time I had rolled my 4-inch circle into an 8-inch long oval, it was pretty darned thin in the middle.  Had I started out with a thicker circle, I'd have a thicker  oval.  And who would complain about a little more puff pastry??
  2. I prefer a different pastry cream recipe I think.  I didn't find this one to be as delicious as I thought it should be.  I wanted to want to lick the bowl, you know?  This was good, but it was not lick-the-bowl good.  It could be because I used vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean (out of sheer laziness and time conservation).  Maybe the vanilla bean would have made the difference?  But you could use any pastry cream recipe here.
  3. Speaking of pastry cream, I dalloped mine onto my pastry and then spread it around a bit to have a place for the peaches.  Wrong!  The better plan is to dallop it on and leave it in a mound.  Set the peaches/apricots up against the mound of cream. They help hold the cream in the pastry so it doesn't leak out.  Mine did leak a bit.  Lesson learned!
Overall, we  enjoyed these pastries!  They are certainly a delicious way to start the day, if you have them with breakfast as intended.  Mine were for dessert (I cannot imagine making these in the morning, but my mornings are a bit hectic with two kiddos) and they made a nice dessert as well!

Making these pastries gave me some nice scraps of puff pastry that will be used in the next Tuesdays with Dorie challenge.  However I also have another 1 1/4 pounds of puff pastry (this recipe used 1/2 of a puff pastry recipe, if  that makes sense) so what should I create with that???  Any suggestions?

The recipe for the puff pastry can be found on pages 46-49 of Baking with Julia, or you can find it here.  The recipe for the sunny-side-up apricot pastries can be found on pages 192-194 of Baking with Julia, or you can find it here. Remember, you don't have to make your own puff pastry to make this recipe!  You could grab a box at the grocery store and have an awesome pastry in no time!

Check out our other bakers thought by going to the TWD blog and clicking on the different baker's links!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Playdate Pizza!

The clever girl had one of her friends over for a play-date!  Since we were going to have dinner together, I thought it might be fun for the two of them to make a pizza! 

Before we picked up the clever girl's friend, we made the pizza dough.  I used Bobby Flay's recipe, which is easy to make and makes a tasty crust.  The clever girl carefully kneaded the dough before we left it alone to rise.

I made the scary decision to pre-bake the crust a little before adding the toppings.  I bake it on a pizza stone in a really hot oven (450F+) for about 5 minutes.  This means that when you put the toppings on, you are dealing with a hot crust on a SUPER  hot stone.  I decided to brave the hot stone and wrap the visible areas with kitchen towels to prevent burns.  These awesome girls are 6 so when I explained that the stone was super hot so they could not touch any of the toweled areas, they were very careful and did just fine.  Phew!  I had prepared all of the toppings in separate bowls in advance... the sauce and different cheeses were all ready. 

Pizza Dough
adapted from Bobby Flay
makes 2 14-inch pizza crusts

3 1/2 to 4 cups bread flour, plus more for rolling (bread flour yields a crispier crust.  If you substitute all-purpose flour, you will get a chewier crust)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups water, 110F
2 TB olive water, plus 2 teaspoons

Combine the flour, sugar, yeast and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer.  With the mixer running, slowly add the water and 2 TB olive oil and mix until the dough forms a ball.  If the dough is sticky, add more flour, 1 TB at a time, until the dough is a solid ball.  If the dough is dry, add more water, 1 TB at a time.  Scrape the dough onto a lightly flowered surface and gently knead into a smooth, firm ball.

Grease a large bowl with the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil.  Add the dough and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.  Place the bowl in a warm location and let it double in size, about 1 hour.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 2 equal pieces.  Cover each with a clean tea-towel or plastic wrap, and let rest for 10 minutes.

Place a baking stone in the oven and preheat the oven to 450F+.  Sprinkle cornmeal over a pizza peel or rimless baking sheet.  Press and gently tug one piece of dough into a 14-inch circle on the peel or baking sheet.  When the oven is heated, gently slide the crust onto the stone and pre-bake for 5 minutes.  OR you can skip this step.  Shape the dough and cover with your choice of pizza toppings.  Gently slide the pizza onto the hot stone and bake for 15-20 minutes, until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly.
Printable Recipe

This was a total hit!  The girls had such fun making their own pizza!  We used shredded mozzerella, fresh  mozzarella and Parmesan.  Yum.  The cheesier the better, right?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Chocolate Cherry Almond Cookies

Since we are on an almond/cherry kick this week, I'll continue with some Chocolate Cherry Almond Cookies.  This recipe comes from Loaves and Stitches, which is another crafting/baking blog that I enjoy.  When she posted this recipe, I printed it immediately because I knew I would have to make these!  The cookies are nice and soft and chocolatey and then the dried tart cherries give you a delicious zing in your mouth!  Mmm.  Add in the bits of crunch from the almonds and you have one delicious cookie!

Chocolate Cherry Almond Cookies
adapted from Loaves and Stitches
makes about 3 dozen cookies
1 cup dried tart cherries
1 TB kirsch, cherry juice, rum, or water
1 cup light brown sugar
12 TB unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 TB sour cherry jam (I left this out, unfortunately couldn't find any, and substituted some concentrated sour cherry juice instead)
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/4 cups dark chocolate, chopped into bits, or chocolate chips
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted

Center your oven rack and preheat the oven to 350F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine the dried cherries and kirsch/cherry juice/rum/water in a bowl.  Since my cherry juice was concentrated and a thick syrupy liquid, I also added in a TB water.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave for 45-60 minutes or until the liquid boils.  Remove from the microwave (caution - it is HOT) and give the bowl a little shake before letting it cool to room temperature.  Keep the plastic wrap over the cherries as it cools. 

Meanwhile, cream the butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.  Add the cherry jam, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.  Mix until evenly distributed.

Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl.  Add all at once to the butter mixture and mix on low speed  until almost completely incorporated.  Add the chocolate, almonds and macerated cherries (make sure these are cool when you add them or they'll melt the dough!).  Mix just until evenly distributed.

Scoop the dough into large tablespoon-sized balls and place them 2-3 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets.  Press the balls down lightly with moistened hands, until they are about 1/2-inch thick.  Bake one pan at a time for 12-15 minutes.  The cookies should be firm around the edges but soft in the middle.  Cool on the pans. 

For some spur-of-the-moment cookies, you can freeze these and bake them as you get a desire for fresh cookies!  To do this, scoop out the dough onto the baking sheets as described above, but space them as close together as you want for now.  Cover the pan with plastic wrap and press lightly to ensure that all of the balls are pressed into 1/2-inch disks.  Freeze the pan for 1-2 hours.  Once frozen, transfer to a freezer bag and store in freezer for up to 6 months.  When ready to bake, follow the instructions above for spacing and add a few minutes to the baking time. 
Printable Recipe

This was a fantastic change from the typical chocolate-chip cookies that you will often find at our house.  They are luxurious tasting, with that beautiful combination of chocolate, almond and tart cherry.  What could be wrong with that?  NOTHING!  Mmmm. And the idea of freezing some to have a nice warm cookie whenever you want some?  That is nothing short of brilliant! I will be doing this with cookie dough from now on!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Happy Birthday, Sister!

My sister came to visit for her birthday!  Yippee!  She lives in Kansas City which is WAY too far from Houston for us to see each other as much as we would prefer.  Which would probably be about once a week at least, if we had our druthers!  Phooey.  So when I found a great sale on flights, I jumped at them!  An opportunity for us to spend her birthday together?  SOLD! 

One of my sister's favorite flavors is almond, so we picked a couple of recipes to put together for her birthday dinner celebration...  Almond Cake with Toasted Almond and Candied Cherry Ice Cream!  YUM.  The cake recipe is from Giada De Laurentiis.  While it was super tasty, it was a bit dry... maybe I could have cooked it a tad less.  The top was golden and the cake was pulling away from the sides of the pan, as the recipe suggests, but I thought it needed a little something.  If you were to make JUST the cake recipe, I would poke some holes in the top of the cake and drizzle over some sort of glaze when the cake came out of the oven.  A powdered sugar/milk/amaretto glaze would be quite tasty... 

However, the day after actually celebrating my sister's birthday, I had another slice of cake and drizzled the candied cherry sauce from the ice cream recipe over the top.  PERFECTION!  Why didn't I think of that for the birthday night?  Ugh.  Yum, yum, yum.

The ice cream recipe comes from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz.  Zowie.  That book has yet to steer me wrong!  This ice cream was SO good.  It was so creamy and the flavors were spot on.  Mmmmm. 

Are you ready for the recipes?  Here you go:

Almond Cake
adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
1/2 cup fine yellow cornmeal (I whizzed my stone ground cornmeal in the food processor to get it "fine", which seemed to work!)
1/2 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup almond paste, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, plus more to dust cake if desired
4 egg yolks
2 eggs
1/4 cup sour cream

Place a rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat to 350F.  Butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan.

Whisk the cornmeal, flour and baking powder together in a medium bowl.  Beat the butter and almond paste together on high speed with an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, until smooth.  This will take approximately 3 minutes.  Reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla extract. Slowly add the powdered sugar.  If the sugar is puffing up in clouds around your mixer, add the sugar slower and drape a tea-towel over the top of your mixer to help keep the sugar in the bowl and your kitchen safe from pesky white sugar dust.  Mix until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Increase the mixer speed to high and add the egg yolks and eggs, one at a time.  Reduce the speed to medium and add the sour cream and flour/cornmeal mixture.  Mix only until just incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.  Bake for 35 minutes, or until cake is golden on top and pulls away from the sides of the pan.  Transfer (in pan) to a rack to cool.  Remove from pan and dust with powdered sugar if desired.  Drizzle with some sort of glaze or candied cherry sauce before serving.
Printable Recipe

Toasted Almond and Candied Cherry Ice Cream
adapted from The Perfect Scoop

1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
5 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup Candied Cherries, coarsely chopped (recipe follows) (I used about 1/2 cup)

Warm the milk, sugar, salt, and 1 cup of the cream in a medium saucepan.  Finely chop 1 cup of the almonds and add them to the warm milk.  Cover the pan, remove from heat, and let steep at room temperature for at least one hour.

Strain the almond-infused milk into a different medium saucepan.  Press the almonds with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to extract as much flavor as possible.  Discard the soaked almonds.

Reheat the almond-infused milk.  Whisk the egg yolks together in a medium bowl.  Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, and then pour this mixture back into the saucepan.  Stir this mixture over medium heat with a rubber heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom of the saucepan as you stir, until the mixture thickens and  heats to 170-175F.  The mixture should coat the back of the spatula.

Pour the remaining cup of heavy cream into a large bowl sitting in an ice bath,and set a mesh strainer on top.  Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream.  Add the almond extract and stir until cool.  Refrigerate the mixture until completely cool, overnight if possible.  Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's  instructions.  Once the ice cream is finished churning, fold in the remaining 1 cup of chopped almonds and the chopped cherries.  Freeze to desired consistency.

Candied Cherries
makes 2 cups

1 pound cherries, fresh or frozen, stemmed and pitted
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 drop almond extract

Heat the cherries, water, sugar and lemon juice in a large saucepan until the liquid starts to boil.  Reduce the heat to a low boil and cook the cherries for at least 25 minutes, stirring frequently to make sure the cherries cook evenly and do not stick.  The liquid will reduce to a light syrup consistency.  The syrup will become thicker after refrigeration.  Remove from the heat, add the almond extract, and allow to cool completely.  Drain the cherries for about an hour before chopping for use, reserving the syrup for other uses (like drizzling over almond cake!).  NOTE: I did not drain the cherries for an hour before chopping, I just took them out of the syrup, squeezing out as much syrup as I could before chopping and adding to the Toasted Almond ice cream. 
Printable Recipe

My sister loved her birthday cake and ice cream!  It was a delicious treat!  If you enjoy almond flavor too, give these recipes a try!  They are worth it!  Mmmm.....

Friday, September 19, 2014

Cream Scones

It was a Saturday morning, and we were out of buttermilk.  In my home, this is a real travesty!  That means no pancakes or waffles for breakfast!  Yes, I know I can make a buttermilk substitution with milk and vinegar/lemon juice, it just isn't the same when it comes to pancakes.  Breakfast was quickly becoming a gigantic dilemma when I recalled that I had once clipped a recipe for scones made with heavy cream.  And by golly, I had cream in the refrigerator!  Breakfast was saved!  Phew.

I whipped up a batch of cream scones and made some poached eggs to go with them (my first time ever, what a delight!!!) and the day got off to a good start!  These cream scones are totally divine, I have to admit.  They are delicate and flaky and not too sweet but just sweet enough, mmmmm.  They are marvelous.  Now I am not sure which my favorite scone recipe might be, this one, or my traditional buttermilk scone recipe!  I might just have to do a taste test....

Cream Scones
adapted from Cooks Illustrated
makes 8 scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 TB baking powder
3 TB sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 TB cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1/2 cup currents or other chopped dried fruit (I used tart cherries!)
1 cup heavy cream

Move your oven rack to the center, and preheat the oven to 425F.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large bowl.  You could also do this in a food processor with a steel blade, if you want.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives, working until the mixture looks like coarse meal, with all butter lumps no larger than pea-sized.  Stir in the dried fruit.  If using the food processor, distribute the butter over the flour mixture pulse 10-12 times.   Add the dried fruit and pulse one time.  Transfer the dough to a large bowl if it was in the food processor.

Stir in the heavy cream with a rubber spatula or fork, until the mixture begins to look like dough.  This takes about 30 seconds.   Don't stir too much!  It just needs to barely come together.

Transfer the dough and all of the floury-bits from the bowl onto the counter or a piece of parchment and knead JUST until the dough comes together a bit more, 5-10 seconds.  If there are still some pieces left out, no big deal, it will all come together in the next step.

Press the dough into an 8-inch cake pan (this is what helps those extra random pieces get into your dough) and then turn it out again onto a piece of lightly floured parchment or other surface.  Cut into 8 wedges with a sharp knife or a bench scraper.  You could also just pat the dough into a circle approximately 8 inches in diameter and the cut out the wedges.  Place the wedges onto an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, until the tops are golden.  Cool on a rack for at least 10 minutes.  Serve while warm. 
Printable Recipe

Thank goodness we were out of buttermilk!  It gave me the impetus to try these scones, which are downright amazing.  I HIGHLY recommend that you whip up a bunch, right about now!