Tag: fall recipes

21
Sep

Caramel Apple Scones

Caramel_Apple_Scones

I ate all my scones before I could get a good picture, but they looked just like these ones from oneingredientchef.com 🙂

I love the autumn. Crunchy leaves. That wonderful chill in the air. Scarves, sweaters, Halloween (my FAVORITE holiday). And the food. Oh, lordy, the food. In my opinion, it just doesn’t get better than the flavors of fall and those sweet-spiced treats you just can’t get enough of.

Like these caramel apple scones, for example.

You heard me right: caramel. apple. scones. The ooey-gooey-ness of caramel meets the sweet-tart of apple, and it’s all wrapped up in a fluffy scone. Can it get any better? YES! Because this recipe is ENTIRELY FREE OF REFINED SUGARS.

Wait, wait. A caramel sauce that’s free of refined sugars? But, how?! Surely, there must be some trick! You are right to be wary, but let me assure you that this is the real deal. Let me introduce you to my secret weapon: dates.

detoxinista.com

If you’ve never had a date before, you need to go to the store and buy a bag. Right now. In fact, you need to buy two because you will immediately want to make this caramel sauce. Dates are a sweet, succulent dried fruit that are essentially nature’s caramel. They are ooey. They are gooey. And they are the main ingredient in this homemade, no-cook caramel sauce.

Now, let’s talk about these scones. I usually dive head-first into pumpkin baking, but this year I wanted to explore the other flavors of fall as well (never fear, I’ll be posting a plethora a of pumpkin recipes before too long. Did I mention pumpkin is my favorite flavor EVER?). I adore caramel apples and look forward to them every year. However, the “caramel” you buy at the store–whether individually wrapped in plastic or in those white tubs–has a lot of questionable ingredients and is laced with scary chemicals. On the other hand, making a homemade caramel sauce is a PAIN (at least in my mind). I don’t have a candy thermometer, so I thought my caramel days were over.

Then, I met dates and my life changed forever.

*Cue romantic music*

I discovered that if you soak dates and throw them in a food processor (or blender) with some vanilla, milk, and salt it becomes INSTANT CARAMEL SAUCE. It really does taste like traditional caramel, and yes it is FANTASTIC to dip apples in. I’ve been snacking on caramel apples all week, and feel good about it because I’m essentially getting two servings of fruit instead of tons of artificial ingredients and empty calories.

My recipe tester (aka, Shane) is a notorious scone-hater, but he has been raving about my caramel apple scones. They taste like heavenly dessert, but are healthy enough to eat for breakfast. Now that’s what I call a win-win.

Julia’s Caramel Apple Scones

Scones

2 small-medium apples, coarsely grated

2 cups white whole wheat flour + enough to dust work surface and hands

½ cup Sucanat

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 Tbsp cinnamon

½ tsp ground coriander

½ tsp ground nutmeg

½ tsp ground ginger

pinch salt, optional and to taste

½ cup coconut oil, cold

1 large egg

½ cup plain Greek yogurt

1 tsp vanilla extract

Caramel Sauce

1 cup Medjool dates (they’re the most caramelly), soaked (note: make sure your dates are pitted! You can buy most with the pits already removed)

¼ tsp sea salt, or more to taste

1 tsp lemon juice

¼ cup milk, plus more to add for texture

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 Tbsp coconut oil

For the Scones:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
  2. Grate the apples using the coarsest blade of a box grater and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, add 2 cups flour, Sucanat, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, optional salt, and whisk to combine.
  4. Add the coconut oil, and with a pastry cutter or two forks, cut the butter in. I smoosh the butter with forks and when it’s the size of large marbles, I use my hands and knead it in. It will feel like semi-wet, cool sand. Some larger pea-sized butter clumps are okay.
  5. Add the egg, yogurt, vanilla, to the apples and whisk together
  6. Pour wet mixture over dry, and fold until just combined. That’s enough. Good job. The dough will be wet and soggy. You want that.
  7. Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons flour over a clean work surface and lightly coat hands.
  8. Turn dough out onto surface and shape it into a 8-inch round, approximately. Dough is very moist, wet, sticky, and tacky, but if it’s being too stubborn or too wet to come together, sprinkle with flour 1 tablespoon at a time until you get it to come together and into a round.
  9. With a large knife (coating the knife in flour helps), slice the round into 8 equal-sized wedges.
  10. Using a flat spatula or pie turner, carefully transfer wedges (aka, curse and yell as the scones stick to the work surface) to prepared baking sheet spaced at least 2-inches apart. Do not crowd because scones puff and spread while baking. Bake for about 20 to 24 minutes, or until scones are very lightly golden and cooked through. Because they’re baking in quite a hot oven, watch them closely starting after about 15 minutes to ensure the bottoms aren’t getting too browned.
  11. While the scones cool, make the sauce!

For the Sauce:

Drain water from the soaking dates. Dump all the ingredients into a blender or food processor. Blend. Add more milk. Blend some more. Add more milk. Blend again. Blend until you get the creamy, delicious texture you want for your caramel sauce. Lick the spatula. Heck, lick the blender. I won’t judge. Okay, you’re done.

Slather the warm apple scones with the date caramel sauce and enter to autumnal baking heaven!

Suggested Pairing

A mug of pumpkin coffee and a winding trail through fall foliage

Happy Monday!

 

14
Sep

Slow Cooker Chicken Dumpling Soup

The first pictures with my new smart phone!

The first pictures with my new smart phone!

As soon as the first chill is in the air, I start craving soup. I ADORE soup. To me, soup means fall just as much as scarves, sweaters, pumpkins, and crunchy leaves. When September rolls around, it’s all I seem to want to eat: a hearty bowl of soup and some crusty bread. Mmmmm. I get hungry just thinking about it.

There is something immeasurably comforting about soup. With all the changes in my life lately, I needed something familiar and warm. When the temperature suddenly dropped and my soup craving kicked in, I knew exactly what I wanted to make: Chicken Dumpling Soup.

Cooking has always been a big part of who I am. Making homemade food for the people I love is one of my favorite things to do. Cooking is also what helps make a house feel more like a home. With all the craziness of the move, I hadn’t been able to cook in our new place yet, so it still didn’t feel “right.” Well, after whipping out my Slow Cooker and letting my soup fill the apartment with warm, inviting smells, it feels a lot more like home. I spent my Saturday evening writing a new chapter with a pumpkin candle burning next to me and Chicken Dumpling Soup simmering in the kitchen. It was pretty perfect (minus the homework).

The best thing about this soup (like all my recipes) is how incredibly easy it is to make. The only real prep work you have to do is chop veggies and mix the dumpling ingredients together. The slow cooker does all the rest! And if you are intimidated by making your own dumplings, FEAR NOT! It is simple and super fun to plop the raw dough into the soup. Trust me. Slow cooker soups changed my life, and I hope this recipe helps you greet fall with a belly full of warm soup.

Julia’s Crazy Good Slow Cooker Chicken Dumpling Soup

Say hello to a big bowl of cozy

Say hello to a big bowl of cozy

The Soup

1 yellow onion, diced

5 cloves of garlic, diced

5 carrots, diced

5 stalks of celery, diced

2 organic chicken breasts

10 cups of chicken broth (I usually do water and organic bouillon cubes)

1 Tbsp Thyme

1-2 Tbsp Herbs de Provence (note: I had these on hand, so I threw them in and they were FANTASTIC! If you don’t have Herbs de Provence, just use whatever blend of herbs you like. Rosemary is always good with chicken dishes) 

Salt & Pepper, to taste

The Dumplings

2 cups white whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 Tbsp Earth Balance or butter

1 tsp salt

1 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy is up to you!)

1-2 tsp herbs of your choice, optional (I used more Herbs de Provence)

Directions

Add the veggies, garlic, and onion to the slow cooker and cover with broth. Submerge the chicken breasts whole. Add herbs, salt, and pepper. Turn your slow cooker to “Low” and walk away for 8 hours (don’t have that much time? Crank that dial to “High” and cook for 3 hours).

Mmmm…smell that? It’s ready for the dumplings! If you were cooking your soup on “Low,” turn it up to “High.” Take those chicken breasts out of the soup and shred the meat with two forks. Put all that goodness back into the soup.

To make the dumplings, mix the dry ingredients together. Then, add the butter and milk. Mix again. Take a spoon and plop the raw dough into the slow cooker. Cover, and let the dumplings cook in the soup for about 15-20 minutes.

Check the dumplings to make sure they are cooked all the way through, and DEVOUR!!!

Pair with a delicious crusty bread.

Happy Fall!

What’s your favorite fall comfort food?