Posts Tagged healthy breakfast

Whole Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones

This past week, my lovely little niece Jubalee was born.

At the exact time of her birth, I was having lunch with my family at a nearby cafe. We had been waiting patiently at the hospital, but the nurses told us to go get lunch as it would be hours until Jubalee made her entrance. After all, she was already 10 days late…why not stall a few more hours? But, of course, she decided to arrive while we were having lunch. Life is funny that way.

We quickly made our way back to the hospital to meet the little one. My sister was a champion (16 hours of labor!), but her and the baby are happy and healthy. Jubalee has a full head of black hair, powerful little lungs, and the cutest chubby pink cheeks. I may be biased, but I happen to think I have the cutest nieces on the planet.

So, after a long day of driving, waiting, cooing, picture-taking, baby-gazing and the like, we finally headed home. I was exhausted, but my heart was full. It was a really wonderful day.

When I got home, I did what any normal person would do after a long and emotional day: I baked raspberry scones. I probably should have collapsed onto the couch and zoned out in front of the television, but I just couldn’t help myself. Call me a little crazy, but I find that cooking (and baking) is my favorite form of relaxation. For whatever reason, I’ve found that when I step into the kitchen, my outlook on life changes.

So after the birth of my niece, I cooked. I celebrated her entrance into the world by making a whole host of goodies, including these raspberry scones. The reason I’m writing about the scones now – as opposed to the other goodies I made that evening – is simply that they were my favorite creation of the evening. They were simple, flavorful, and a joy to bake. The dough came together easily, the scones cooked quickly, and when I finally sat down to relax – I munched happily on warm scones and all felt right with the world.

Whole Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar (I used turbinado sugar)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup (plus a little more) fresh raspberries
3/4 cup whole milk ricotta
1/3 cup heavy cream

Optional: Raw or large grain sugar to sprinkle on top of the scones.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat. In a large bowl, whisk together the white and wheat flours, baking powder, sugar and salt.

Add the butter and use a pastry blender (or knives, or fingers) to cut the butter into the flour mixture until the biggest pieces are the size of small peas. Toss in raspberries and use the pastry blender (or knives) again to break up the berries into smaller chunks.

Add the ricotta and heavy cream to the flour/butter mixture. With a spatula, stir together until a loose dough has formed (the mixture will be thick and wet). Using your hands, gently knead dough into an even mass, right in the bottom of the bowl.

With as few movements as possible, transfer the dough to a well-floured counter or surface. Flour the top of the dough and pat it into a 7-inch square (about 1-inch tall). With a large knife, cut the dough into 9 even squares. Transfer the scones to prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, until lightly golden at the edges.

Whole Wheat Apple Muffins

My husband made an observation about me the other day, and I thought it was rather funny (and yet strangely true). He’d been at work all day at his new job, which happens to be on the other side of town. When he got home, he found me finishing up a bunch of projects: namely, laundry, mopping the floors, and baking a batch of whole wheat apple muffins. He took one look at me (and our sparkly house) and said: “Whenever I leave you at home alone for an extended period of time, I know one of two things are going to happen. One: you’re going to cook. Two: You’re going to clean. Honestly, you’ll probably do both.”

Its funny because he’s right. If left to my own devices, I will do one (or both) of those things. So, now I’m left to wonder: when did I get so predictable? Or, rather, when did I get so darn domestic?

You see, Nich and I share a car and I’m still getting used to being “stuck” at home when he’s at work on the other side of the city. Thankfully, with the way our work schedules overlap, I’m not stuck at home too much (and if I really wanted to go out and about, I can just walk or bus. I’m not actually stuck). And, really, I’m starting to realize that I like this new arrangement. I like having a few hours at home by myself as it gives me a chance to clean, get organized, catch up on emails, etc. More importantly: it gives me a chance to work on cooking projects!

As I mentioned in my last post, I tend to be a bit of a busy bee. So, in a weird way, this new arrangement is somewhat of a blessing. I actually really enjoy cooking and cleaning and now I have ample time to do both. Nich, bless him, places absolutely no expectations on me. Because of this, I feel a certain freedom with getting things done around the house. I’m domestic because I want to be, not because its expected of me. I cook and clean because I find it relaxing and rewarding.

So, then, getting back to the whole wheat apple muffins. I made a batch of these on a Saturday when Nich was at work. I had the day to myself, a few extra apples lying around, and I was itching for something to bake. I discovered this recipe from Smitten Kitchen and thus my Saturday plans were decided. I baked to my hearts content and the muffins turned out splendidly!

Whole Wheat Apple Muffins
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
(Makes about 1 and a half dozen)

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown or muscovado sugar
1 large egg
1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
2 large apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Prepare the muffin tins: Grease or line 18 muffin cups and set aside.

Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together butter, white sugar and 1/4 cup of the brown/muscovado sugar. Beat until fluffy. Add the egg and mix well; stop once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Gently mix in the yogurt. (Note: I found the mix to be a little thick and dry at this point. I added a couple tablespoons of water to thin the batter) Stir in the dry ingredients and then fold in the apple chunks.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, sprinkling the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar on top. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the heat down to 400°F, and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Note: These make for great on-the-go breakfasts! I froze the muffins and would grab a couple every day for breakfast at work. 30 seconds in the microwave (and with a little bit of butter) and they were as good as fresh!