I’m in charge of the second dessert at our Thanksgiving celebration this year. I normally am. But here is the thing: we are already having pumpkin pie – and I’ve tried all kinds of other desserts in the years past and I’m at a loss of what to bake this year. We’ve had pecan pie, bread puddings, cheesecakes, chocolate pies, lemon meringues, and now I’m just stuck. I want traditional fall flavors, not something that I would make in the spring or summer. I want seasonal ingredients – and something that isn’t going to overwhelm me in the kitchen.. So I ask you friends… what to bake?!
Maybe an apple pie with a cheddar crust? A pear tart tatin? A maple walnut pie? What would you want on your table?
Today Chris came over and shot the pictures for the next issue of Little D After Dark’s flavor article. Its traditional holiday fare turned vegan. I’m pretty pumped. They’re super tasty. And his photos are amazing. I’ll let you know when it comes out in a few weeks. I’m also planning on trying to have a vegan alternative recipe or ingredient swap for the upcoming recipes in Little D. Veganism is a pretty big part of the culture here in Denton so I would like to be inclusive in as many of the articles as possible.
This does not mean I’m becoming vegan. This does not mean that I plan on ever omitting butter and cream and bacon from anything – ever.
Last month my fun friend Lauren and I headed down to West Elm in Dallas for the Design Sponge Event… so we got in the car – fought through the traffic, grabbed a copy of the book, and patiently waited to meet Grace Bonney. Here is something you probably don’t know about me – I get crazy star struck with people that are even marginally famous. Once I saw Queen Latifah in a record store in LA and just froze out of fear. I don’t have the guts to walk up to the radio guys when they are on location. I get sweaty and nervous – for no real reason. WE were at a concert in California this one time and Jason Schwartzman was sitting a few rows in front of us and I had a hard time enjoying myself after I found out — for fear that he would see me and acknowledge me. When I was working for a Starbucks in Plano Guy Fieri came in and ordered an Americano. I was the only person who recognized him immediately, he insisted on giving me a hug, and I just about peed my pants. (In case you were wondering I am also afraid of wasps and the idea of infinity.) So there we are, waiting in line, and I get nervous about my hair, what I’m going to say, whether or not to shake her hand. Poor Grace… she is only the sweetest woman in the world – and was so pleasant and patient and polite all evening long. So we get up there and I thank her for building the online empire that is Design Sponge and let her know she has changed the way that I face design for the last 6 years – and I get my book signed and we moved on. Then we ate the tastiest tiny cupcakes and played in the photo booth before leaving to go and eat dinner together. And it was glorious. And I’ve been brooding over my sweet sweet Design Sponge Book ever since.
My sweet little sister Ariel has been spending a semester abroad in Europe. While I am so excited that she has this opportunity and chance to do this – it doesn’t change the fact that I miss being able to talk to her whenever I want. We’re pretty close as sisters go, and even while she’s been in college at Baylor with a crazy course load and schedule, we’ve been able to find time to chat and call and visit pretty often. And I have to say – I really miss my buddy. Its no fun driving home and not being able to call her to hear all about her day and her classes and what she’s learning and all of her crazy drama. But right now she is in her final month of travel, and in a few weeks she’ll be home – just in time for Thanksgiving. The last I heard she was making her way through Italy eating pizza and pasta and having a blast. So this morning when I came across this video of four friends experiencing Paris, I couldn’t help but miss her more. But the video itself – is so beautiful – it makes me want to pack up and head to Paris for a few weeks right now. (Then again, I feel this way pretty often.)
This is the article that was published in this month’s Little D After Dark - in case you don’t live in Denton or didn’t pick up a copy!
Fall flavors are a personal favorite of mine. You get to experiment with spices and take on the challenge using seasonal produce and flavors that evoke in us memories of fall as children.
Typical flavors like apple, cinnamon, caramel, maple and pumpkin remind us of fall festivals and setting the holiday table and baking with friends and family. Just the thought of apple cider makes me want to don a sweater and grab a scarf.
But in reality, I sometimes tire of apples and cinnamon, and I just get sick of people finding odd new places for us to experience pumpkin.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m the first to line up for a pumpkin spice latte. It’s not Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie. And pumpkin soup is a family favorite in the winter.
Let’s be real though: Is pumpkin ravioli really necessary?
So this year, let’s shoot for something a little different to share with friends and family. Let’s go beyond pies and cakes and cookies and traditional holiday fare. Let’s get creative with breakfast – the most important meal of the day – and focus on the often-forgotten but always-tasty flavors of bacon and maple.
That’s right. A new breakfast must have something for us to slow down and savor with friends and family this holiday season, a tasty new scone that satisfies both your sweet and savory side.
Maple is great on its own, but let’s face it: Bacon makes everything that much better. And while some people aren’t hip to the idea of bacon in a baked good, this soft and flavorful scone will change the minds of naysayers in the first bight.
I like to enjoy my scones with a fresh French press of coffee, preferably the Indonesian roast by Bookish coffee. The spiciness, low acidity, and smoothness of the Indonesian coffee really balances the maple and vanilla flavors. French press is also my brewing method of choice since it eliminates the paper filter and allows the oils to give the most robust flavor to the finished cup of coffee. I also love that Bookish is roasted locally and frequently assuring freshness with each cup.
And if you really want to earn the best-guest award when visiting family this holiday season, whip up a batch of these scones and order an extra pound of coffee to give to your hosts. They’ll appreciate the extra tasty breakfast that they don’t have to get up and prepare for you, and they’ll love the caffeine boost after too many of Uncle Jim’s bad political jokes.
BACON MAPLE SCONES
3 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cups cold butter
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
5-6 strips cooked bacon, crumbled
2 tablespoons of melted butter
course sugar for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 425. In large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Cut in cold butter until it forms coarse crumbs. Stir in buttermilk and vanilla. Fold in bacon crumbles. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently. Divide in half and pat into two circles, each about 1 inch in height. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Cut each circle into 6 or 8 wedges. Bake at 425 for 12-14 minutes. Top with maple glaze.
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons water
1 cup powdered sugar
Combine syrup, vanilla and powdered sugar and stir until combined. Based on the consistency of the glaze, add water one tablespoon at a time and stir – if you accidentally add too much, just add a bit more powdered sugar. Continue to stir until desired consistency is reached. Pour over scones and enjoy.
Makes 12-16 servings
Bookish Coffee can be purchased online at bookishcoffee.com