Coconut Lime Scones

Scones are one of my very favorite breakfast/brunch treats. They’re not something I have the occasion to enjoy super often (breakfast is typically a something thrilling like greek yogurt or peanut butter toast, plus fruit), so I really like to dress my scones up when I DO have them (not that there is a damn thing wrong with a plain scone, because there most certainly is not). I was recently at a coffee shop with a friend, and I spied a blueberry lemon scone in the pastry case, so I ordered it to go with my hot chocolate (I don’t drink coffee – it’ll stunt my growth, and I plan to be 5’4″ by the time I’m 35)… and it SUCKED. Just straight up sucked. It wasn’t flaky and buttery and light. It was stale, dry, flavorless, and utterly disappointing.

It’s hard being a baked goods snob, you guys. My life ain’t easy.

Coconut Lime Scones

Anyways, a few weeks later I had the occasion to make some breakfast treats for a morning event, and I seized the opportunity to really do it up. No way a boring, flavorless scone is coming out of my kitchen! I’m not gonna lie, these bad boys were damn tasty. I would (and will) make them again in a heartbeat.

They’re relatively quick and easy to make, they’re pretty, and the bulk of the ingredients are things you might already have in your pantry! (Feel free to tell me I’m nuts if I think everyone has coconut cream in their pantry, I can take it.)

Coconut Lime Scones

Coconut Lime Scones

For the scones:
one stick (8T) butter, very cold
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1.5 tablespoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
zest of 2 limes
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup coconut cream*

For the glaze:
zest of one lime
juice of 1-2 limes
powdered sugar (about 1 cup)

Coconut Lime Scones

*I buy the coconut cream from Trader Joe’s, but you can find it in the Asian section of your grocery store, usually. It’s thicker and has more fat that coconut milk, but you can use coconut milk if that’s all you can find. Just DON’T use lite or low-fat coconut milk!

1.) Preheat your oven to 425°. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, shredded coconut, and lime zest.

2.) Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture, until the largest pieces of butter are the size of small peas.

3.) Pour the heavy cream and coconut cream into the flour and butter mixture, and use a rubber spatula to mix everything together (be careful not to overmix – you want all the ingredients to JUST come together).

4.) Lightly dust your countertop with flour, and turn the scone dough out onto it, including any dry bits of flour. Knead the dough together just a few times, until it holds together. Pat into a rectangle, and cut into about 12 even squares.

5.) Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat, and place the scones on it, about 2″ apart. Bake for 14-17 minutes, until the scones are nice and golden brown at the edges.

6.) Remove the scones from the oven, and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

7.) While the scones cool, you can mix up your glaze. You want about 3 tablespoons of lime juice; stir in the zest, and add powdered sugar as necessary until you get a nice, thick-but-drizzleable (yeah, it’s a word) consistency.

8.) When the scones are totally cool, drizzle them with the glaze – as much or as little as you like. They are definitely best the day they’re made, but will hold up well in a loosely covered dish overnight.

Coconut Lime Scones

Not that I would have personal experience with something like this, but I’m just SAYING… if, perhaps, you were to over-indulge on this upcoming holiday weekend, these scones would make a great morning-after breakfast with a side of your caffeine of choice. Feel free to pair them with a mimosa, if a little hair of the dog is more your speed. I’m certainly not judging.

You bring the bacon and mimosas, I’ll cover the baked goods,
Tina

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Coconut Maple Pecan Granola

I’ve never really understood the appeal of granola. I don’t dislike it or anything, it’s just not something that’s ever gotten me real hot and bothered, you know? Not to mention, I think most granolas are about 1,000,000 calories per four tablespoon serving, and if I’m gonna be blowing a week’s worth of calories in one sitting, I’m gonna be consuming those calories in the form of a giant pizza, thankyouverymuch.

Yogurt  + Granola Breakfast Bowls with Coconut Maple Pecan Granola

Anyways, in recent years, I’ve become a big fan of greek yogurt. It’s delicious, packed full of protein, comes in tons of flavors, and is easily portable – but I prefer to eat it with something added to it for crunch. (I feel weird eating a big bowl of food that requires absolutely no chewing, for reasons I can’t explain.) I’ve found a few different varieties of granola that are quite serviceable, but nothing that’s life-changing (in fairness, perhaps I’m expecting too much out of my breakfast)… until recently. And wonder of wonders, it was a homemade granola, served up in a tiny little pie shop in the middle of Detroit, that made me understand the appeal of granola. The most spectacular yogurt + granola bowl, with a starring ingredient of… mint! Mind. Officially. BLOWN. Clearly, the only appropriate course of action was to go home and recreate the entire bowl, from top to bottom.

Coconut Maple Pecan Granola

Coconut Maple Pecan Granola
makes… a whole bunch. I did not measure.

2.5 cups oats
1.5 cups coarsely chopped raw pecans
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 oz roasted coconut*

Yogurt + Granola Breakfast Bowls
per individual serving

6 oz plain greek yogurt (2% or full fat)
honey to taste
1/4 cup Coconut Maple Pecan Granola
2 T dried cherries
3-4 mint leaves, minced or sliced into thin ribbons

*I love the roasted coconut chips from Trader Joe’s in this granola. If you don’t have a TJ’s near you, you can use flaked coconut of your choice – just be sure to toast it separate from the granola (either in a skillet or in the oven), as it will toast much faster than the rest of the ingredients, and you don’t want it to burn.

Yogurt  + Granola Breakfast Bowls with Coconut Maple Pecan Granola

1.) Preheat your oven to 300°F. While the oven preheats, whisk together the maple syrup, melted coconut oil, honey, kosher salt, and ground ginger. Pour the oats and raw pecans into the wet ingredients, and gently stir with a rubber spatula until everything is evenly coated.

2.) Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking sheet. Evenly spread the granola out on to the baking sheet, and place it in the oven.

3.) About every 10-15 minutes, remove the granola from the oven and give it a good stir before returning it. This will help ensure even browning.

4.) After about 35-40 minutes, the granola should have a nice, even, golden brown color. Stir it one last time, then put it back in the oven; turn the oven off and crack the oven door, and allow the granola to cool completely – about 45 minutes or so.

5.) Once the granola is totally cooled (you want to be sure there is NO warmth whatsoever – because that warmth will just translate to soggy granola once it’s stored), lightly crumble the coconut and add it to the granola. Transfer the granola to an airtight container. The granola will be good for several weeks, but I bet it won’t last that long!

Yogurt  + Granola Breakfast Bowls with Coconut Maple Pecan Granola

To assemble your yogurt and granola breakfast bowl, start with a base of yogurt; top with a drizzle of honey (as much or as little as you like). Add the granola, dried cherries, and mint. Enjoy!

I’m not sure why it didn’t occur to me sooner that, if I was not pleased with the granola options available to me, I should just make my own – but I can be a little dense sometimes, so, there ya have it. Turns out, granola is really easy to make, and can be customized in several million different ways – though I think this particular combination of ingredients is pretty darn heavenly.

I have to tell you, the use of mint in the yogurt and granola bowl was a huge surprise to me. I was half-convinced I would hate it – but as it turns out, it MADE the dish! It added a brightness and a freshness that was absolutely fantastic.

Guess it’s time to plant some mint in the backyard,
Tina

Gruyere and Black Pepper Biscuit Sandwiches (with Strawberry Balsamic Jam)

I’ve always said: “Happiness is a warm, fluffy, buttermilk biscuit!”

Actually, that’s a lie – I’ve never said that before. But, I have felt that sentiment deep down in my heart for a very long time, and NOW I’m saying it… and I mean it! Seriously, a buttermilk biscuit is a beautiful, wonderful thing, especially when it’s fresh from the oven and slathered in butter. Part of the beauty of a buttermilk biscuit is that you can dress it up in millions of ways. Add cheese! Pop it on top of a chicken pot pie! Slice it in half and use it to sandwich a delicious piece of fried chicken!

(Stop drooling on your keyboard. It’s unsightly.)

ANYWAYS. When I was brainstorming some menu ideas for a wedding shower I was helping to throw, I knew I wanted to make a biscuit sandwich of some sort. A biscuit sandwich fulfills many of the requirements for food at a brunch: it’s dainty, it’s cute, it’s carb-y to soak up all the mimosas in your stomach. I wanted to add a couple other elements, too – something Italian (I met the bride while working in her dad’s Italian bakery nearly 20 years ago), something cheesy (please tell me I don’t need to explain the need for cheese?), and something to give it a real savory/spicy edge. Mission accomplished!

Gruyere and Black Pepper Biscuit Sandwiches (with Strawberry Balsamic Jam)

Gruyere and Black Pepper Biscuit Sandwiches (with Strawberry Balsamic Jam)
makes about 16 petite sandwiches, with jam left over

For the jam:
1 pound strawberries, rinsed, hulled and quartered
1 cup brown sugar
2 T water
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (white, if you have it)
a healthy pinch of kosher salt

For the biscuits:
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
generous 1/2 t kosher salt
3/4 t coarsely ground black pepper
8 T butter, super cold, and cut into cubes
2 oz gruyere cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)
1 1/2 cups cold buttermilk

For the sandwiches:
16 thin slices of prosciutto
arugula

Gruyere and Black Pepper Biscuit Sandwiches (with Strawberry Balsamic Jam)

1.) Start by getting your jam going on the stovetop. Add all the jam ingredients to a small sauce pan, stir well to combine, and set over medium heat. Let the mixture come up to a boil; turn the heat back just a bit (you don’t want it to be a hard boil, but you want more action than a simmer), and let the mixture cook down until it’s nice and thick. Keep an eye on it, and stir often, and it should take about 45 minutes.

2.) While the jam cooks, make your biscuit dough (and preheat your oven to 425°). In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt, and black pepper. Using a pastry blender (or two knives, or your hands), cut the butter into the flour mixture, until there are still some bits of butter the size of small peas. (More thorough biscuit-dough-making directions are here.)

3.) Add the grated cheese to your flour/butter mixture, and use a fork to toss it all together until the cheese is evenly distributed. Then, drizzle the buttermilk around the bowl, and use the fork to lightly mix everything, until a shaggy dough starts to form.

4.) Lightly flour your countertop, and dump the dough out on to it. Working quickly, press the dough together into a lump, and then shape it into a square that’s about 3/4″ thick. Remember, the goal is to handle the dough as little as possible, so it doesn’t get overworked and it stays COLD!

5.) Cut the dough into 16 neat squares. (You can also cut traditional round biscuits out of the dough – I just find the rolling of scraps to be cumbersome, and the constant handling of those extra pieces can result in a tough biscuit. So, I go with squares.) Place the biscuits on to a parchment-lined baking sheet, about 2″ apart. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the biscuits have risen nicely, and are a light golden brown on top.

6.) While your biscuits bake, finish up your jam. Dependent on what kind of texture you want, you can do a few things: leave it as is (for a super-chunky jam); mash up the strawberries with a potato masher (for a finer, but still chunky, jam); or blend the jam with an immersion blender (or in a traditional blender, for a much smoother jam). Let the jam cool completely.

7.) When your biscuits are done baking, let them cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then move them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Gruyere and Black Pepper Biscuit Sandwiches (with Strawberry Balsamic Jam)

8.) Time to assemble the sandwiches! Gently slices the biscuits in half, and then spread jam on both sides of the biscuit. Layer on a piece of prosciutto, a small bunch of arugula, and then the top half of the biscuit. Serve at room temperature.

These sandwiches really have a lot of flavor going on – but it all ends up working really nicely together. The biscuits are nice and savory from the gruyere, and a little spicy, from the pepper. The prosciutto is smoky and salty, and pepperiness of the arugula complements the biscuit, and the strawberry balsamic jam adds just enough sweetness to round it all out. They’re rich and delicious, but small enough not to be too filling and heavy.

A couple items of note:

1.) You’ll have lots of jam left over. Use it on EVERYTHING – your morning toast, a slice of toasted baguette slathered in goat cheese, drizzled into your yogurt, eaten directly off a spoon. It will last for several weeks in the fridge.

2.) If you’re making these sandwiches for a party, make the biscuits ahead and freeze them. Once the biscuits are cut, lay them out on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and pop the baking sheet into the freezer. After 3 or 4 hours, when the outsides are completely firm, toss them all into a ziploc freezer bag, and keep them frozen until you’re ready to use them. Bake from frozen, but allow about 25 minutes for them to bake. (This is also a good idea if you just want to keep biscuits on hand for quick breakfasts or snacks – you can bake as many or as few at a time as you like.)

Gruyere and Black Pepper Biscuit Sandwiches (with Strawberry Balsamic Jam)

If you’re still feeling apprehensive about attempting homemade biscuits, just DO IT. It takes a little practice and finesse, but once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll be so glad you tried it. You can do it!

A world of buttery, flaky, deliciousness awaits you,
Tina

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Biscuits with Honey and Hot Sauce

Sometimes, you just need to fry something. And in the case of this particular week? That something was chicken. Not your traditional bone-in, skin-on chicken – but a well-breaded chicken cutlet, just the right size to plop into the middle of a honey-ed, hot-sauced-ed, delightfully buttery biscuit. Don’t get me wrong, the whole thing was a little involved for a Tuesday night… but despite having a lot of steps and about a million dirtied bowls and utensils, making these fried chicken biscuits doesn’t take ALL that long – and regardless, they’re totally worth it!

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Biscuits with Honey and Hot Sauce

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Biscuits with Honey and Hot Sauce
makes 8 sandwiches

For the chicken:
8 chicken cutlets*
2 c buttermilk, divided
1 T hot sauce (I prefer Frank’s Red Hot)
1.5 tsp kosher salt, divided
1 tsp black pepper, divided
0.75 tsp cayenne pepper, divided
1 clove of garlic, smashed
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
vegetable or peanut oil, for frying

For the biscuits:
2.5 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
0.25 tsp baking soda
0.5 tsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
12 T cold butter, cut into cubes
1 cup cold, well-shaken buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten well

For the sandwiches:
butter
hot sauce
honey

*you want the chicken to be about 2 pounds total. I like to buy the “thin sliced” chicken breast at Trader Joe’s, but you can also take regular chicken breasts and butterfly them (some of those things are monsters, and you’d be able to get 3 thin pieces out of each breast). I have another dish planned for later in the week that requires chopped up chicken breast, so I also trimmed a couple inches off the end of each piece of chicken, so they’d be ever so slightly more biscuit-sized, rather than having 4″ of chicken hanging off the side. Proceed as you see fit.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Biscuits with Honey and Hot Sauce

1.) In a large ziploc bag, combine one cup of buttermilk, one tablespoon of hot sauce, half a teaspoon each of kosher salt and pepper, one quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and the crushed garlic. Add the chicken, squeeze the excess air from the bag, seal it, and move everything around until the chicken is coated well. At this point, you can let the chicken marinate in the fridge for a couple hours (up to 8); or, if you’re short on time, just leave the chicken in the marinade while you prep and bake the biscuits.

2.) While the chicken marinates, let’s make some biscuits. Preheat your oven to 400°. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Use a pastry blender (or two knives) to cut the cold butter into the flour mixture, until the mixture looks like coarse meal, with some pea-sized bits of butter. Pour the buttermilk over the flour and butter mixture, and use a fork to gently mix everything together until everything is just moistened. (If you require more detailed instructions on making biscuits, see this post.)

3.) Lightly flour your countertop, and pile the dough together. Use your hands to VERY briefly knead the biscuit dough until it forms a somewhat cohesive lump, then pat it out into a circle about 3/4″ tall. (Keep in mind: with biscuits you want to handle the dough as LITTLE as possible, so it stays cold, and gluten doesn’t have a chance to form – so, work quickly, and with light hands!)

Buttermilk Biscuits

4.) Use a 2.5″ biscuit cutter to cut rounds from the dough. Re-roll scraps once, and cut more biscuits. Place the biscuits on a parchment or silpat-lined baking sheet, brush the tops with the beaten egg, and bake for about 20 minutes, until they’re golden brown.

5.) While the biscuits bake, you can work on your chicken! Place a large skillet (preferably cast-iron, 10-12″) over heat set at slightly above medium. Fill the skillet with oil to about 1/2″ depth; it will take about 10-15 minutes to come up to temp for frying.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Biscuits with Honey and Hot Sauce

6.) Set up your breading station for the chicken. Set out two shallow bowls; in one, pour one cup of buttermilk, and in the other, whisk together a cup and a half of flour, one teaspoon each of kosher salt, garlic powder, and onion powder, and half a teaspoon each of black pepper and cayenne pepper.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Biscuits with Honey and Hot Sauce

7.) Remove the chicken from the marinade, and let any excess buttermilk drip off. Immediately dredge each piece in the seasoned flour, being sure to coat them well. Then, dip each piece back into the buttermilk, and then back into the flour, for a second coating. This double coating of buttermilk and seasoned flour is what helps give the chicken a nice, crispy coating, without any skin!

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Biscuits with Honey and Hot Sauce

8.) When all your chicken is breaded and ready to fry, your oil should be ready. You can use a candy thermometer to check the temperature – it should be about 360°. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, throw some panko bread crumbs or a small piece of bread into the oil – it should bubble pretty vigorously around the bread, and take a minute or so to turn golden brown.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Biscuits with Honey and Hot Sauce

9.) Add the chicken, a couple pieces at a time, to the pan (being sure to lay them into the oil so that the last end to go in faces away from you, in case of splattering). Be sure not to overcrowd the pan; I like to fry 2-3 pieces at a time. Fry for 3-4 minutes per side, until they’re golden brown. Once they’re done cooking, remove them to a baking sheet lined with foil, paper-towel, and a baking rack; this will allow them to drain any excess oil (and can be thrown into a 200° oven to keep warm while you finish frying, if needed).

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Biscuits with Honey and Hot Sauce

10.) When your biscuits are baked and your chicken is fried, it’s time for sandwich assembly. Split each biscuit in half, and spread both sides with butter and hot sauce (as much or as little as you like). Add a piece of chicken to each biscuit, drizzle it with honey, then add the top of the biscuit. Serve immediately.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Biscuits with Honey and Hot Sauce

I mean… what really needs to be said here? Do I really need to convince you that a buttery, flaky biscuit topped with hot, crispy chicken, and dripping with honey and hot sauce, will be amazingly delicious? If you need convincing, then I am not sure we should be friends, quite frankly.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Biscuits with Honey and Hot Sauce

Yeah, these sandwiches are awesome. Really, really awesome. The buttermilk marinade keeps the chicken super moist, and the double-dip in very well seasoned flour gives the coating a great amount of flavor and spice. Add in the acidic edge of hot sauce, the subtle sweetness of the honey, the buttery richness of the biscuit… what I’m saying is, it’s a damn good thing I hate to fry stuff, or I’d be making these daily, and then I’d need much, much larger pants. It would probably be worth it.

When I find a foolproof method to remove the fried smell from your house, I’ll let you know,
Tina