Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bon Bons

How to begin a post on chocolate? Chocolate means something different to everyone - whether it's an addiction that begins with a bar of Toblerone and ends with an empty wrapper, or a begrudgingly strict avoidance of anything to do with cocoa beans and sugar.

Personally, I try to employ Michael Pollan's sensible directive to, "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." but it seems to get thrown out of the window when chocolate is around. And lately it seems to be around more often than not because of the recent focus on chocolate in our course at FCI.

We have spent the last couple of classes making chocolate candies, more specifically bon bons. These are products of our collective effort making an assortment of flavors, including espresso, toasted coconut, bourbon pecan, spice, and champagne fillings. Believe me when I say that they're worth putting a temporary hiatus on even the strictest of diets.

While I'm not surprised that these chocolates have turned out to be delicious, I am surprised by how much I've enjoyed creating these little bon bons. I now find myself daydreaming about all of the upcoming special occasions we can make chocolates for, and which ones of our friends would appreciate them the most. Who knows, maybe if you're lucky I'll make some for you!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Cheddar Dill Scones

It's been raining, in case you haven't noticed. It's the kind of drawn-out, drizzly rain that lasts for days and makes me want to curl up in a Snuggie on the couch (not that I have one ... hint hint). In weather like this, the waft of cheesy scones baking in the oven gives me with a warm comfort and tides me over until the sun comes out of hiding.

Yesterday was the perfect day to go into a baking frenzy, seeing as I was confined to being indoors anyway. I took the opportunity of being home-bound to bake up a care package for my brother A. in California. My afternoon of baking began with these scones, a slight variation of Ina Garten's recipe - but with some whole wheat flour for a healthy kick. And since I like my scones fluffy, I double the cream for a biscuit-like crumb (if you prefer a drier, more dense texture this recipe is not for you).

Cheddar Dill Scones (adapted from the Barefoot Contessa)
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
2 T baking powder
3 tsp salt
3/4 lb cold butter, diced
2 cups cold heavy cream
4 eggs
1/2 lb grated cheddar cheese
1 cup fresh dill, minced
heavy cream, for brushing

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients, less 1 T (reserve for coating cheese and dill), and add butter. Mix until the butter is in pea-sized pieces.

Beat eggs and heavy cream together, add to dry ingredients. Mix just to combine.

Toss 1 T flour with cheese and dill, then knead into batter. Form four large rounds from the batter, and cut each round into 6 wedges. Place on parchment-lined sheet pans, bake for 25 minutes.

Cool on racks and enjoy!