Dairy Free Pumpkin-Pecan Scones


Hello! I’m back and this time WITH SCONES. I’m sorry I know I’ve been absentee for two months (Ah!). I’ve been busy – I got a new job (two actually) that I think about a lot and my summer has been, well, a bit lazy. I haven’t been cooking so much. But, today marks the beginning of fall. So a new season means a fresh slate, and pumpkin, and apples, and nutmeg, and all the lovely flavors of fall. I can’t WAIT to get into the kitchen and start cooking, so here’s hoping I can come back here rejuvenated and full of new recipes for everyone. So, here you go, starting NOW: Pumpkin scones – WITHOUT DAIRY.
I am as accepting of a challenge as the next person (unless it’s squishy, or slimy, or in general unpleasant – then no, just no). So when BF’s family was visiting recently and his father requested scones made without dairy my mind started whirring, in that way it does.  I started thinking about butter alternatives (which seems like some sort of blasphemy coming from me) for BF’s dad, of course.  I pulled down books I loved, I searched blogs, and I checked my shelves for a semi-solid fat alternative, preferably with a good flavor. And then, I found it.  A can of coconut milk that had been sitting unshaken in my pantry.

I grabbed it almost immediately and started modifying the recipe I was thinking on.  Pumpkin (ok, I used Squash), cinnamon, coconut cream, flour, leavener, sugar – I was good to go.  I’ve been making these scones for about two months now.  They’re a little sweet and with a nice tartness from the berries. I love them.  BF loves them.  BF’s dad loves them.  They are universally loved.  These are best enjoyed with a debaucherous amount of butter, or jam, if butter’s not your thing.

Dairy-Free Pumpkin Raspberry Scones
Note: I love these scones and I will continue to make more of them without butter in the future. This recipe is adapted from one in The Best Quick Breads by Beth Hensberger, which is a book I can’t recommend highly enough. Especially if you like sweet breads. It’s perfect.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 Tbs dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp pie spice (or make your own with what you’ve got on hand)
  • 6 Tbs Coconut cream the fatty heavy stuff on the top on a can of unshaken coconut milk)
  • 1/3-1/2 cup fresh or frozen berries, I use raspberries or dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (use the water from th can after you’ve gotten the cream from on top)
  • 1 tsp apple-cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (I use One-Pie Squash, because it’s my favorite and canned in Maine from Maine pumpkins)
  • Cinnamon-Sugar
  • 1 egg gently beaten (for brushing the scones with)
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a cookie sheet with parchment.
  • In a medium bowl combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spice. Mix until evenly combined.
  • Cut in the coconut cream – the mixture will look a little loose, it’s ok go with it. The nice thing about using coconut cream here instead of butter is that it doesnt require the labor that butter will to cut in. you should just be able to stir it with a fork and get nice little bits of fat.
  • Mix in the pecans.
  • In a small bowl (I usually just use a two cup measure) combine the pumpkin, coconut water, cider vinegar, and 1 egg. beat this with a fork until it comes together.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine. Mix until everything just comes together.
  • Fold the raspberries in, gently.
  • Using a large cookie scoop, spoons work too, measure out the scones (I use a 2 oz cookie scoop, it makes my life easier). Place the scones on a cookie sheet 1 to 1 1/2 inches apart.
  • Brush the tops of the scones with the beaten egg and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.
  • Bake the scones for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are slightly golden and a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Serve these warm. With a smear of butter and coffee. They make a great afternoon snack later, too!
  • Enjoy!

Chicken Marsala Ravioli and Mushroom Bake

Note: These pics are not my best.  This dish is just NOT photogenic.

Some days I am lazy and want nothing more than some al dente pasta with butter and salt and pepper for dinner.  This is a regular (if moderately unhealthy) meal in my house.  I am always please by it, BF can make it if i’m not motivated, and it’s more or less fail proof.  When Buitoni contacted me about creating recipes for their delicious new refrigerated pastas I just couldn’t say no.  If I’m buying pasta in the refrigerated section of the grocery store I reach for theirs anyway – having fresh pasta is a great an simple way to fancy up a meal that can be a bit boring (pasta, butter, salt and pepper) or bring something that is awesome anyway to the level of extraordinary.
What I was not expecting was a thoughtful package that contained an ultra-soft bamboo fiber hand towel, an apron, and a cutting board from Vermont all artfully branded with the buitoni logo.  Not to mention the pasta – both bf and I fell in love with the pastas we were sent; a chicken marsala one that tasted of earthy mushrooms and sherry and a lovely butternut squash one that tasted like thanksgiving.
After indulging in each pasta doused in butter (I had to sample them to look for pairing flavors…) I started to plot recipes.  Initially I thought I would end up working with the butternut, it was definitely my preferred flavor, but then I had an idea sort of based on an old episode of The French Chef where Julia Child makes a mushroom lasagna with cream sauce.  I wanted to bake with the Chicken Marsala Ravioli, I wanted those complex flavor layers good mushrooms would give me.  I wanted rich heavy cream and butter.  I wanted cheese.  I wanted to make something for colder months because that’s when I most like stuffed pastas – when it’s cold and I want something hearty, filling, and rich. And that is exactly what this is. It is also great with a salad :)  Also, make sure to read down to the bottom for a fun giveaway!

Chicken Marsala Ravioli and Mushroom Bake

Note: I don’t care for mushrooms and as I ate my second bowl of this I was exclaiming that I couldn’t believe how much I liked it. Just saying.

  • 2 Packages Buitoni Chicken Marsala Ravioli
  • 1 lb Cremini mushrooms gently cleaned and sliced
  • 4 Tbs butter, separated
  • 2 Tbs flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tbs brandy
  • 1/4 cup swiss cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (or any other hard cheese)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Preheat the oven to 350. Spray the inside of a medium sized casserole dish with cooking spray
  • In a medium saute pan melt two tbs of butter over med-high heat. Once the butter is fully melted and the pan is hot add the mushrooms. Saute the mushrooms gently until they are a nice golden brown all over, 5-7 mins.
  • Add the ravioli straight from the package to the mushrooms and gently toss everything together so it seems evenly mixed. Put the ravioli and mushrooms in your casserole dish and set it aside.
  • In a medium sized saucepan combine the two tbs of butter and the flour. Stir them until they form a paste then let them simmer for one minute without browning.
  • In a second saucepan (I know a lot of dishes, I’m sorry!) warm your milk to hot but not boiling or simmering. Gently stir the hot milk into the butter/flour roux, in pan 1. This will help prevent clumping. If you add the milk cold (like I usually do) you will have lumps; be okay with the lumps or have the patience to sit by while the whole thing cooks over low heat and you whisk it.
  • Add the brandy and mix well. Once the brandy has incorporated into the base white sauce add the Swiss cheese. Stir to combine and allow the cheese to melt into the sauce, it should take a minute or so.
  • Pour the cheese sauce over the ravioli/mushroom mixture. Top this with the Parmesan.
  • Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, until bubbly and light brown.
  • Remove it from the oven and let it rest for 5-10 mins. This is a perfect meal to make when your partner is dawdly about coming to the table.
  • Enjoy. Eat this with gusto. It’s pasta, that’s how you eat pasta.

 

Now the fun part! Did you see that pretty picture up there? That one with the snazzy apron, sexy cutting board and pretty kitchen towel? You could totally own ALL.THOSE.THINGS. and I will send you four coupons so you can hunt down and try some of this delicious pasta yourself! Just leave me a comment telling me what your favorite way to eat ravioli is. I will give you until July 13th to get your comment in. I like mine with a rugged red sauce if it’s ricotta filled or with a browned butter-sage sauce if it’s butternut squash. :)

Disclaimer: I was provided this pasta and the kitchen goods free of charge in return for this recipe/review. All opinions here are my own, I would (and do) buy this pasta on my own dime in the future.

Yeast Risen Pumpkin Bread

Photo taken by Rachel Leah Blumenthal of Fork it Over, Boston and Boston Food Bloggers

There are some days that are just plain nasty.  It’s cold outside, or rainy, and all you really want to do is stay in, huddle up to a toasty oven and bake while reading a good book.  As fall sets in I am encountering more and more of those days.  Days where the rain outside makes everything gray and the world seems like it would be much more appealing in my warm and cozy, down comforter covered bed with a good book.  As I am home more on rainy days trying to come up with creative ways to spend my time that don’t involve replaying Diablo 2 (which is AMAZING) I head for the oven and my baking bibles – Flour, Boston Cooking School, the internet – whatever strikes my fancy and I bake a lot, usually more baking than BF and I can eat on our own, happens in the colder weather.  It’s an obsession, also – I tend to bake so I don’t have to turn up the heat!

This pumpkin bread was baked on one of those gross, rainy autumn days that kept me tied to my apartment and fidgety.  BF had been asking me to make monkey bread so I went to the pantry hunting for a recipe (really the only recipe I use, the one from Smitten Kitchen) but it was a white monkey bread, I wanted mine to be pumpkin – so I did what I always do when I don’t have a recipe for something, I called my mom.  After a discussion on the rain, yes it was raining in Maine and Boston (such craziness!) I got around to my question; can I sub in pumpkin for a liquid in bread or did she have a yeast bread recipe with pumpkin?  She paused, reprimanded my little brother and then proceeded to consult her wall of cookbooks.  As Mom searched her cookbooks I searched the net – to no joy, seriously the internet makes me a sad panda sometimes.  Mom however, was victorious – nestled in the pages of the King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook was a recipe for yeast risen pumpkin bread, what joy!  I flipped over the monkey bread recipe and wrote down ingredients and steps.  I was ready.

So I measured, mixed, kneaded, waited, shaped, waited, baked and ate.  Making yeast risen bread is one of my favorite activities and on a rainy day it was perfect.  And this bread?  I made it three ways – as a cinnamon roll (which I sent to work with BF), a plain loaf of pumpkin bread, and monkey bread (of course).  I think the cinnamon raisin bread was the best usage of the dough and next time I will not try to make it stretch so far.  The monkey bread was dense and over cooked :( and  the plain loaf lacked the oomph I was looking for.  But the cinnamon-raisin bread?  it was bread gold; rich and sweet without being cloying.  It was decadent and totally fantastic.

Yeast Risen Pumpkin Bread
Adapted via Mommy from the King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook
Note: This makes two full loaves, don’t try to stretch it into three unless you’re making mini loaves anyway.  I adapted this recipe a little bit out of necessity because I realized I only had one egg, so this is mine after the one egg change.

For the Bread Dough
1 1/2 cup milk, at 110 degrees (should be just warm to the touch)
1 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs yeast
1 Egg
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cup pumpkin puree (I always use One Pie, made in Maine of Maine pumpkins :)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 cups all purpose (AP) flour
1 Tbs salt
3 1/2 – 4 1/2 cups AP flour

For the Cinnamon raisin swirl
1/4 cup butter melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2-1 cup raisins

In a large bowl combine the milk, yeast, and sugar and allow it to get bubbly (2-3 mins).  Add the egg, butter, brown sugar, pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix until everything is fully incorporated and smooth.  Add the 2 cups of flour and salt to the liquid mixture.  It should look like a thick brownie batter at this point (but orangey as opposed to dark chocolatey).  Add the additional flour 1/4 cup at a time until the dough is no longer sticky and is in a nice dough ball.  Knead this dough ball for 3-4 minutes – until it is smooth and elastic. Allow the dough to rest for 3-4 minutes then briefly knead it again.  Put the fully kneaded dough into a large, clean, oiled bowl, cover it with either plastic wrap or a bread towel (one with no terry on it), and let it rise until doubled in volume.  This takes about two hours.  Maybe you should go watch a movie?  And since it’s October I will suggest Zombieland, because it’s fun.

After your dough has risen go ahead and punch it down, you know you want to.  Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured countertop and split it into two halves with a sharp knife (or counter scraper if yours is sharp like mine).  Move one half of the dough over to the side.  Roll the second half of the dough out until it’s about 9″ wide (this should be the height of your bread pan) and 15″ long.  Using a pastry brush, spread half of the melted butter onto the rolled out dough.  Sprinkle the melted butter with half of the brown sugar, cinnamon, and raisins.  Starting on the 9″ edge roll the dough up.  Tuck in the ends and place the loaf in a well greased pan with the seam side down.  Repeat with the second loaf of bread.  Cover the shaped loaves and let them rise a second time, this time for just half an hour or so to let the gluten calm down.

Place the bread loaves in a cold oven preheating to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, cook for 15 mins.  Turn down the temp to 375 and leave the loaves for 20 mins.  The loaves will be a nice golden brown when done.  When the bread is still hot rub butter over the top, this will keep the bread from getting too hard and dry and it will also infuse it with butter, which is AWESOME.  Eat this bread as breakfast or a late night snack, maybe with some Doves and Figs jam?