Sunday, August 1, 2010

Breakfast for 15

Last weekend, we hosted our annual family reunion at our house in Chelan.  This by no means a complete reunion of our entire family; but it is a group of people who are family who come up every year and have been doing so for many summers.  We had fifteen people that we were cooking meals for so my mom and I spent a lot of time planning menus and doing work in advance of everyone arriving.  I have lots of things to share from the weekend but I will start with breakfast since we did a lot of baking and had some delicious results. 
I am not a baker because I hate measuring.  The thing I hate measuring most is flour.  I have a knack for getting it all over the counter as I use a knife to ensure that I have the perfect amount.  I have also heard that you should never scoop flour because it compresses it too much and the measurement will not be precise.  I went through a (very brief) stage where I would spoon the flour into the measuring cup to ensure accuracy which inevitably led to more opportunities for spilling.  ANYWAYS, this is a very long way of saying that despite my repulsion to measuring flour, I have actually been doing quite a bit of it lately.  In fact, we went through a ten pound of flour last weekend alone!  For some reason, making a mess with flour when I’m in my mom’s kitchen doesn’t seem as annoying as doing it in mine (she is also very gracious about cleaning up when I cook for her).  The first breakfast recipes I will share are for blueberry scones and some semi-healthy berry muffins.  
 (This picture is my first experimentation with the Hipstamatic app on my phone- it has different lenses)

I found the scone recipe after an exhaustive search of Tastespotting and I only made a few changes.  The biggest change was reducing the amount of sugar because the berries at Chelan have been so sweet.  I liked the result because I’m not a fan of super-sweet breakfast pastries.  But you may want to add more sugar if you have a sweet tooth.

Blueberry Buttermilk Scones
Makes 10ish scones

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1  tablespoon granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 heaping cup fresh blueberries
zest of one small lemon
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 large egg, plus 1 large egg lightly beaten for egg wash
1/2 teaspoon pure almond or vanilla extract (I used almond)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk together flours, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  Add butter and rub with your fingers until mixture has the texture of course meal.  Gently stir in blueberries.
In another bowl whisk together buttermilk, 1 egg , lemon zest and vanilla.  Drizzle over flour mixture and incorporate with your hands until the dough comes together but a small amount of flour remains in bowl.  It’s important to not overwork the dough and you also want to be careful not to pop the blueberries as this adds too much liquid to the dough.
If you want typical triangle scones follow these directions: turn out dough onto work surface and gently knead dough once or twice just to incorporate the flour.  Pat the dough into a 1-inch thick round.  Cut the round into approximately 10-12 wedges.  Transfer to baking sheet.
 I like round, roughly shaped scones so I just scoop them onto the parchment paper and molded them with my hands.
Bake until golden brown and cooked through, roughly 25 minutes.  Transfer scones to a wire rack to cool.

The muffins are a recipe that my mom has been making for years and they are my favorite muffin recipe by far.  I'm sorry that I didn't get any pictures of the muffins!  They were eaten too quickly.  The original recipe came from Simply Classic, the Seattle Junior League Cookbook.  Given my mom's obsession with healthy food, she has made changes (less sugar, wheat flour) to make these less unhealthy than muffins usually are.  Although the streusel topping limits negates most of the healthy changes in the muffins themselves…
Berry Best Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

Streusal Topping
½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 ½ teaspoons lemons zest
½ cup pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
½ cup butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
1 ½ cups berries (we used blueberries and raspberries)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
For streusel topping: mix brown sugar, flour, lemon zest, and cinnamon together in a bowl.  Stir in nuts and butter.  Mix together until butter is evenly distributed and the mixture is crumbly.  Set aside.
For muffins: combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center and add milk, butter, and egg.  Mix until smooth.  Fold in the berries- be careful not to smoosh them or the muffins will be to liquidy.
Spoon the batter into paper-lined muffin cups, filling each only 2/3 fill.  Top with 1 tablespoon of streusel topping.  Do not overfill muffin cups or topping will run over onto pan.  Make on middle rack for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Place on a rack and cook 5 minutes.  Remove muffins from tin and serve warm.

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