I had the idea for these Maple Cranberry and Dark Chocolate Scones on Thanksgiving Day. And of course, I had to attempt to make them RIGHT AWAY. Because over the years, I’ve learned that if I don’t execute an idea almost immediately, it will get lost forever in the milieu that is my brain, never to be seen or heard from again.
So…since I had used up all my fresh cranberries for Thanksgiving, I had to go to the grocery store on the day after Thanksgiving to buy some more. This did not go well. Because there wasn’t a fresh cranberry within a 20 mile radius of my home. A fact that I should have anticipated. All the cranberries had all been snatched up for Thanksgiving. So I had no choice but to wait. And try to not lose the idea for these scones until the grocery stores had a chance to re-fill their shelves.
But now, I’m well stocked (cranberries everywhere!) and ready for Christmas baking. I love using cranberries all December long, in everything from savory breads to sweet treats (and don’t forget to throw in a few salads in for balance!). They add such a wonderful, festive touch to any recipe!
These Maple Cranberry and Dark Chocolate Scones aren’t just any ordinary cranberry scone. Nope. These babies are filled with roasted cranberries.
I didn’t want to use dried cranberries (‘tis the season for fresh!), and I worried that fresh cranberries would be too tart in the final baked good (the base recipe for these scones isn’t overly sweet), so I came up with the idea of roasting the fresh cranberries first with maple syrup before folding them into the scone batter. The cranberries get slightly soft and sweet, and end up somewhere between a dried cranberry and a fresh cranberry. It’s the perfect middle ground.
Because I was thinking these scones would be for Christmas morning, I added in big chunks of dark chocolate to make them more decadent. But you could skip the chocolate if you want something more virtuous. I also made them fairly large, using my 2 3/4-inch biscuit cutter. Again, feel free to make them smaller if you don’t want to overdo it (or if you have to feed a crowd on Christmas morning).
One thing that’s important in this recipe is to let the roasted cranberries cool COMPLETELY before adding them to the scone batter. Also, the batter will be wet (and will probably turn a little bit pink), and your hand will get messy. But that’s OK. It will all work out!
Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker
How’s your salad game these days?
I’m going to brag here for a second: mine has been pretty epically awesome.
This is partly because I just love getting my creative juices flowing when it comes to assembling salads. But also, it was of the utmost importance that my salads be on point the last few days. Because holy shit, did I overdo it on Thanksgiving (and in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, if I’m being completely honest with myself). By the time the Holiday was over, the combination of excess eating, drinking and stress had me run down in a way that I hadn’t felt in a long time.
So it’s been salads, water, rest and exercise. On repeat. Until I have to ramp things up again for Christmas madness.
The idea for this Autumn Harvest Panzanella Salad with Pumpkin Bread came to me in the shower (I always get the best ideas in the shower!) about two weeks ago. I was struggling to come up with a new Fall/Winter salad combination. And then BOOM! The idea hit me like a ton of bricks: make a panzanella salad with pumpkin quick bread instead of regular bread.
At first I didn’t know if that would be totally weird. Would pumpkin quick bread be too sweet? Or not hold up as well against the dressing? But it totally works. And I just love the combination of flavors and textures that this salad provides. It’s anything but boring. And I really digging the seasonally appropriate nature of this recipe, too. Panzanella salads aren’t just for Summer anymore, friends!
I used leftover pumpkin quick bread that I had from the grocery store (yes, I didn’t even bother making my own). But you can bake up a loaf of your favorite recipe. Or buy a loaf from your local bakery. It’s all good. Since quick breads are generally moister than regular breads, just toast the pumpkin bread cubes in your oven (sans olive oil) for a few minutes until they dry out a bit. This will help the bread from getting overly soggy in your salad.
As with most salads, you can totally do your own thing if you want to switch up some of the ingredients. Carrots instead of parsnips totally works. Broccoli instead of brussels sprouts is spot on. And maybe try pears instead of apples. Go wild and have fun with it!