blueberry scones

By now, you guys are probably getting sick of “sights and bites,” and are hungry for a real, meaty recipe post. Am I right?
Well here you go.
After being away from my kitchen for over a month, I went absolutely cray when I got home.  I really should have been unpacking, but you know what I did instead?  Whipped up a batch of this granola, a green smoothie, and these scones.  Oops. #noselfcontrol.  
Those of you who follow me on Pinterest know that scones have been on my radar recently (even created a new scone-themed board).  Now that I’ve dove headfirst into the world of scone-ery (?), I’ve learned that there are two types of scones, British scones and American scones.
The British are world-famous for their scones (pronounced “scon,” if you want to be authentic).  British scones are plain and simple (none of these crazy blueberry shenanigans going on across the pond…), and always served with tea.  They’re hot, crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth, and barely sweetened.  These guys are the perfect vessel for jams, marmalades, clotted cream, butter… you name it.
The American scone is really not a scone at all, it’s more like a snazzed-up biscuit.  And unlike the Brits, we like stuff in our scones, not on them.  We fold in cranberries, white chocolate chunks, fruits, cinnamon chips, even cheddar cheese and jalapenos.  Leave it to America to fold cheddar cheese into everything…  we seem to have a knack at taking recipes and corrupting them until they’re unrecognizable (Chicago-style deep dish pizza/Auntie Anne’s Bacon Jalapeno Pretzel Nuggets).  Sometimes it’s just plain nasty (corn dogs… sorry if there are any corn dog lovers out there…), and other times, that “corruption” can be a beautiful thing (the (in)famous cronut).  Kind of like when Dylan went electric, the abandonment of tradition outrages some, but it opens the door to entirely new genius and possibilities for others.  Like these maple bacon brown sugar scones.  Whoa.
this is what butter looks like after being grated in a cheese grater
I feel kind of sorry for scones.  They’re severely underrated.  Does anyone actually say that they like scones?  People love their blueberry muffins, coffee cakes, and doughnuts; a scone always seems to be seen as that thing that you order when you go to Starbucks at 10pm and the glass case is basically empty.
But scones are awesome.  They’re 100000x classier than any muffin I’ve ever seen, and they’re wickedly easy to make.  Scones don’t deserve the prejudice they are subject to.  Especially these blueberry scones. 
Before I wrap up my rambling, let me tell you about these scones.  These scones are leaning toward the American variety of scones, as they’re a tad sweeter than traditional scones and can be eaten plain.  They’re jam-packed with summer blueberries.  They’re crisp and crumbly on the outside (thanks to a generous sprinkling of raw cane sugar), and fluffy and muffin-y on the inside.  Basically, the classed-up cousin of my favorite blueberry muffins in the world.
With love,
Erica
Ingredients:
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons. baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Raw cane sugar for sprinkling


Preheat the oven to 425˚ F.  Grate the frozen butter with a cheese grater (neat trick right?!).
  
Whisk together the milk and sour cream.  Whisk together the flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl.  Add the grated butter to the flour mixture and mix. 

Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and fold with a spatula just until combined (dough should be shaggy). Transfer the dough to a generously floured work surface.  Dust the top of the dough with flour, and knead a few times.  DON’T OVER-KNEAD!!!!! (sorry if I scared you… but it ruins the scone-y texture)

With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12-inch square.  Fold the dough into thirds, so it’s a longish, skinny rectangle.  Then fold that rectangle lengthwise into thirds, so it’s a small square.  Chill in the freezer for 5 minutes. 

Roll the dough into a 12×12 inch rectangle.  Sprinkle the blueberries evenly over the surface of the dough, and gently press down (try not to squish them).  Roll the dough up to form a tight log (cinnamon bun style).  Lay the log seam side down and gently flatten the log into a 12 by 4-inch rectangle.  Using a sharp, floured knife, cut the rectangle crosswise into 4 equal rectangles.  Cut each rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles.  Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet.

Brush the tops of the scones with melted butter and sprinkle lightly with raw sugar.  Bake for 18-25 minutes, until the tops and bottoms are a nice, golden brown. 


Adapted ever-so-slightly from the wonderful Indigo Scones

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

recipe showdown: blueberry muffins

It’s been way too long since I’ve done a Recipe Showdown.  My last showdown was “Sweet Potato Casserole.”  That was before Thanksgiving.  Santa has come, we have rung in the new year, I’ve finished exams… heck, it’s almost Valentine’s day.  
 
For the past four months, the most prominent thing on my blogging to-do list has been “DO A RECIPE SHOWDOWN” (the second most prominent thing is my attempt at drawing a croquembouche… but that’s beside the point).  
What’s been getting in the way?

To tell you the truth, Recipe Showdowns are hard. 

First, I have to scour the Internet for the best recipes out there, making sure they’re each a bit different to make the tests interesting.  
Second, I have to halve each recipe so I don’t end up with 10,000 muffins in my house (being the OCD little math geek that I am, this takes a while…)
Third, I have to buy all the ingredients, battling my way through the supermarket in search of “Cream of Tartar,” and other funky ingredients.
Fourth, I have to bake them all. (coordinating oven times, oven temps, my stand mixer, and my sanity is quite an ordeal). 
By this time all I want to do is drown my sorrows for a few hours on Pinterest.  But the Showdown is not even halfway done.
I still have to conduct tests.
Do I seriously want to conduct tests?  Ain’t nobody got time for that! By this time, I JUST WANT A DAMN MUFFIN. 
But alas, I conducted tests. On my parents, on my friends, even on a few random freshman… and I found the supreme blueberry muffin recipe. Oh, the sacrifices I make for you guys.
Once I sunk my teeth into the soft, pillowy, sugar-crusted, blueberry-studded muffin of my dreams, I  realized why the painstaking process that is Recipe Showdown is so worth it.  I also realized that the big, blueberry juice stain on my Lululemon yoga pants was so worth it.  It’s like a battle scar. A mark of honor. 
Lastly, I realized I should really drag my butt off Pinterest more often and do more Recipe Showdowns. 
With love, 
Erica


The Facts:
Almost biscuit-like,  these muffins have a super thick, almost cookie dough-like batter, which keeps the blueberries afloat and evenly distributed. 
These are light and fluffy, moistened with vegetable oil and a touch of sour cream.  They are topped off with a light crumb topping and a sprinkling of sparkly raw sugar.
These have the magical addition of brown butter in them (you all know how much I love brown butter!).  There is no sour cream in the batter. These muffins are topped off with a chunky streusel.
Tasters’ notes:
A bit dry and biscuit like...
Very crumbly
For all of the butter and sour cream, you would think that these would be lighter and less dense.
LOVE the raw sugar crust
Light and fluffy
Pretty
Very moist
Don't miss the butter at all!
Sweet
Love the brown butter taste!
A bit cake-like
Dense
Crumbly
Verdict:
My dad liked these the best (he said the others were too sweet, and he loves biscuits).  However, this was definitely not the conventional favorite.
THE SUPREME BLUEBERRY MUFFIN!
Brown butter is delicious, and it is definitely a close second, but the dense, crumbly consistency wasn't up to par with Cooking Classy.

The Supreme Blueberry Muffin
From Cooking Classy
Yield: 14 muffins
Ingredients
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
7 Tbsp vegetable oil* (the easiest way to measure: measure 1/2 cup remove 1 Tbsp)
1 large egg
2 Tbsp sour cream
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp chilled butter, diced
1 1/2 Tbsp Raw Sugar
Prepare crumb topping by combining 1/3 cup flour, 1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar and 2 1/2 Tbsp butter in a food processor. Pulse just a few seconds until combine, it should be very fluffy (if you pulse it too much it will become dense). Pour crumb mixture into a small bowl and whisk in 1 1/2 Tbsp raw sugar (please do not leave this ingredient out, it's the crowning jewel of these muffins, it's a MUST), set aside.
In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside. In a seperate mixing bowl, using a wire hand whisk (no electric mixer allowed here =), mix together 1 cup granulated sugar, buttermilk, vegetable oil, egg and sour cream for 1 minute. Gently whisk in dry mixture just until combine, batter should be slightly lumpy (do not over-mix, key to fluffy muffins). Fold in blueberries with a spatula. Divide mixture evenly among 12 - 14 paper lined muffin tins. Allow muffins to rest at room temperature 10 minutes, meanwhile preheat oven to 400 degrees.
After muffins have rested, fluff crumb topping with a fork and sprinkle each muffin evenly with 1 Tbsp crumb topping mixture (if doing 14 muffins you will want to do a scant tbsp). Bake muffins 19 - 23 minutes until lightly golden and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool several minutes in muffin pan before removing to wire rack to cool. © Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

little bites copycat blueberry muffins

I read Mindy Kaling’s book over the summer, and I literally laughed out loud through the entire book. One of my favorite quotes was:

“One friend with whom you have a lot in common is better than three with whom you struggle to find things to talk about.”  

Mindy Kaling, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

While reading this, I immediately thought of my friend Emilia. She shares my love of running, baking, and meticulous gift wrapping (her tape and paper collection is bigger than mine — which is slightly scary …in an awesome way).  Oh, and just like me, she prefers fresh, zesty lemon to deep, rich chocolate.  She was the inspiration behind these lemon crinkle cookies.

Emilia and I take the subway home together every day from track practice, and we always whip out our phones and compare recipes on Pinterest (we also share a bit of an addiction to Pinterest…).  I often bake little treats to eat in the locker room after track (after 10 x 100 m dashes, we can all use some butter and sugar!).  The other day, we were discussing what I should bake for practice that afternoon, and eventually settled on these teeny-tiny blueberry muffins.

I whipped these up when I got home, and I was amazed when I took my first bite — they tasted exactly like Etenmann’s Little Bites!!! In lower school, my dad used to pack my lunch for me every day in a Hello Kitty lunchbox.  He would always pack a sandwich (either salami or jelly-cream cheese) and a little bag of blueberry Little Bites mini muffins.  The taste of blueberry Little Bites brought me back to the days of nap-time and Legos.  These tiny muffins whip up in matter of minutes, and are the perfect thing to sneak in your purse or backpack when you need a “little bite” of something delicious. 😉

What did you eat for lunch in elementary school?

With love,
Erica

Ingredients 
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 1/3 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

glaze:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter; melted
1 cup confectioners’ sugar; sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1 tablespoon warm water

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a mini muffin tin.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, cream together the butter, vegetable oil, and sugars until smooth. Add the eggs, lemon extract and vanilla, beating to combine. 
 
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined. Fold in the blueberries. 
 
Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pan, filling the cups nearly full. 
 
Bake the muffins for 5-8 minutes, or until they’re a pale golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean. 
 
In a medium bowl, prepare the glaze by mixing together the melted butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, lemon extract and water. Whisk until smooth.
 
When muffins have cooled slightly, dip the muffin crown into the glaze and allow the glaze to harden. At this point, you can leave them as is or go for the double dip. I glazed my muffins twice.
 
Serve warm, or cool on a rack and wrap airtight. Muffins will keep at room temperature for about a day.
Adapted from My Baking Addiction

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

lemon blueberry sunshine cake

This cake was sitting pretty in the freezer for about a week, and I finally decided to cut myself a piece. OH MY GOD. It was like eating sunshine in the form of a cake. I am now obsessed with the lemon-blueberry combination. These bright flavors are the perfect way to celebrate as the summer season comes to a close.

This is a supremely moist cake due to the sour cream. It has a sweet, puckery lemon flavor and is bursting with bright, juicy blueberries. I iced it with my favorite, simple buttercream, but it would also be delicious with some luscious cream cheese frosting.
This cake freezes beautifully — as a matter of fact, I enjoy my cakes best after they have been in the freezer for a day or two (or even a week!).
With love,

Erica

Ingredients

 For the cake:

2 cups plus 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon pure lemon extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs

For the filling:

1/2 cup blueberry jam  (or lemon curd)

For the frosting:
2 sticks butter, room temperature
4-6 cups confectioner’s sugar 
1/4 cup milk 
1 teaspoon lemon extract
 
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Grease 3, 8″ cake pans. Sift dry ingredients into medium
bowl. Transfer 1 tablespoon flour mixture to larger bowl. Add fresh
blueberries and toss to coat them with flour. Set remaining flour
mixture and blueberries aside.
Stir whole milk, sour cream, vanilla extract, lemon extract and lemon
zest in small bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and
sugar, until pale yellow and very fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs
one at a time, until well combined. Mix in flour mixture alternately
with milk mixture, starting and ending with flour mixture. Stir until
just combined. Gently fold in blueberries. Divide batter equally among
8″ round pans.
Bake cakes until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean,
about 25 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks for about 10 minutes, then
invert onto racks until completely cool.

Once cakes are cool, spread blueberry jam and sandwich it between the layers.

Frost with lemon buttercream (recipe follows)

Lemon Buttercream

Beat butter in stand mixer until pale and fluffy. Slowly add the 4 cups of confectioner’s sugar. Add the milk and lemon extract. Add more confectioner’s sugar until desired consistency is achieved.

adapted from Sweetapolita

blueberry french toast casserole

We have been enjoying the last few days in Point Reyes, CA — soaking up the serene, rural atmosphere away from the bustle of San Francisco. Thankfully, the house where we are staying has a well-stocked kitchen, and I had the opportunity to make this leisurely breakfast to enjoy before heading out and exploring the nature and local flavor of the Bay.

There is something very satisfying about cooking at home on vacation. This is probably due to the fact that we have been eating out for almost every meal — and I can savor every gooey, buttery bite of this french toast casserole while thinking to myself “this would’ve cost me $12.95 at a restaurant.”

This is a very simple recipe that takes less than 10 minutes to prepare and can be made the night before. After soaking in the fridge overnight, you simply pop the dish in the oven, sit back, relax with a magazine and a cup of coffee, and watch the magic happen as it bakes into this glorious, custard-y, gourmet casserole! Forty minutes later, the custardy mixture that you prepared the night before has  gently puffed into this custardy, light, toasted casserole — complete with golden, sweet caramalized edges. 

The plump little blueberries add a tart, sweet pop to every bite (and how could I pass up buying a big, juicy pint of California blueberries?!) What a
great way to get some antioxidants in your diet, am I right?! 😉  This would be the perfect recipe for an impressive, low-maintenance holiday breakfast or brunch party (because who wants to stay up light making time consuming pastries and cinnamon rolls the night before a party?). Or even just to treat your family to a lazy weekend brunch. 

What’s your favorite lazy morning breakfast?
With love,
Erica

Ingredients

  • Butter, for greasing
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (use whole milk for a richer taste)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup, plus extra for serving
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus 1 tablespoon (I used pumpkin pie spice)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 loaf day-old challah or sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2  cups fresh or frozen, thawed, and drained blueberries
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Butter a square baking dish (mine was 9×9). Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Add the milk, maple
syrup, cinnamon, and salt. Add the bread cubes and mix until
coated. Stir in the blueberries. Pour the mixture into the prepared
baking dish. I suggest leaving it in the fridge overnight so that the bread can really soak up the custard, but you could bake it now if you wanted to.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a small bowl, mix together the remaining cinnamon and sugar.
Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the egg mixture in an even layer. Bake
for 30-40 minutes until the top is golden and the filling is set. Let sit for 5 minutes after removing from the oven.
Spoon onto serving plates and drizzle with maple syrup.

blueberry buttermilk pancakes (guest post)

Today I’m so excited to be featured on Top With Cinnamon which is run by one of my favorite fellow teen bloggers Izy! Since breakfast is by far my favorite meal of the day, and since blueberries are in season now — I decided to share my Blueberry Buttermilk Pancake recipe. A big stack of
these fresh off the griddle is the perfect thing to wake up to on a
Sunday morning. In my opinion, the ultimate weekend luxury is a
big stack of warm, fluffy pancakes covered in a shiny, golden layer of
syrup.

Click here to get the recipe!