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
I like to consider myself to be a bit of a squash connoisseur. Or maybe even a squash whisperer, if you will.
But recently, I realized there was one squash missing from my repertoire: red kuri squash.
I’ve passed these bright, red-skinned beauties at the market many times. They were certainly enticing enough based on their color, shape and size alone. And I knew from my readings that their flesh was rich and creamy with a mellow sweet and nutty flavor. Yet I would always reach for my more familiar standbys: butternut and delicata squash. But then a few weeks ago, I decided on a whim to toss one into my shopping cart. And now I don’t think I’ll ever look back. Red kuri squash is taking up a permanent residency in my kitchen!
I decided to make a puréed soup, so I took some direction from one of my favorite butternut squash soup recipes and finally landed on this version of Red Kuri Squash and Fennel Soup with Savory Granola.
I started by roasting the red kuri squash, using my friend Traci’s instructions for roasting whole pumpkins (which I also did earlier this Fall to make these pumpkin chocolate puddings), then I scrapped out the softened flesh and combined it in a large stockpot with fennel, apple, shallots, garlic and vegetable broth. After puréeing the soup, I added a touch of heavy cream to make it extra smooth and luxurious. But you could certainly skip this ingredient all together. Or try using coconut cream instead, if you prefer.
I dressed this soup up with a few microgreens for extra color. And a nutty, savory granola for major crunch. Because I firmly believe that puréed soups should never be served naked.
Savory granola is something that I’ve been wanting to play with for a while now, and I’m so glad I finally took the plunge and tried out a couple recipes (today’s recipe is adapted from this one I found on Bon Appetit). I’m finding lots of ways to use it, including salads and breakfast bowls. I think once you try it, you’ll be hooked, too!
I’m sharing the recipe for this Red Kuri Squash and Fennel Soup with Savory Granola as part of our monthly seasonal eating initiative organized by Becky from Vintage Mixer. Becky has lots of recipe suggestions for December, which you can find here in her December produce guide. And you can also have a peak at the recipes linked up below to see what some of my other blogging friends have created for this month. I hope you find some inspiration for your Holiday gatherings!
December Eat Seasonal Recipes
Beet & Pomegranate Green Smoothie by JoyFoodSunshine
Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette by Flavor the Moments
Mini Fruitcakes by Healthy Seasonal Recipes
Garlic and Herb Twice Baked Baby Potatoes by She Likes Food
Roasted Butternut Squash and Grape Crostini by Vintage Mixer