Christmas Morning Scones (AKA Vanilla Bean, Cranberry and Rosemary Scones)

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This time last year: Baked Apple Cider Donuts with Cinnamon-Sugar Glaze (2012)

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YOU GUYS! It’s Christmas EVE!

I love this day.

Every Christmas Eve my mom, brother, and I spend all night together. We would spend it with my dad as well, but as a preacher, Christmas Eve is not vacation.

The night starts with the 5 o’clock children’s Christmas Eve service. Then we will come home and share a bowl of soup together- or something created with love and designed to keep us warm.

After dinner, without fail, I will watch Holiday Inn (the original White Christmas!), by myself, because my Mom will be busy cooking and my brother will be busy avoiding musicals. Then we will throw our coats back on, push back any sleepy thoughts, crawl into the car, and head to church for the 11 o’clock Christmas Eve service.

There we will sit in the pew together. We will sing our favorite hymns- Still, Still, Still, Away in a Manger, Joy to the World. We will light candles, and at the end of the service, as the clock strikes 12, we will raise our candles up. We will lift them above our heads, and my father- standing at the front with his candle mirroring ours- will whisper “It is Christmas,” and in my gut, I will feel that wave of hope, peace, love, and joy that we have been talking about all month, in one fell swoop.

There will be light, and then there will be joy, and it will be contagious.

When we were young, we would come home from the 11 o’clock service and  my mom would usher my brother and I to bed, so that she and my dad could “play Santa.” However, now that we are older, we all wait for my dad to get home. Once we’re all home- for the first time all night, we will stay up late, because the holidays aren’t the holidays unless you have time together. So we will make time, and we will likely do it by the fire, with a plate of crackers and cheese.

The next morning, we will stumble out of our beds- mom will make coffee, dad will turn on the Christmas lights, and somewhere between opening gifts, trying on new winter coats, and manning the fire, mom will pass around a tray of baked bread- muffins, scones, and loaf slices.

That is Christmas.

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When I stumbled upon this recipe, I knew I had to make it. The title alone pulled me back to those mornings around the Christmas tree, with our backs warming to the fire in the fire place,  and mom’s tray of baked bread circulating around the family. And I have to admit, I am so glad I did, because this recipe is AMAZING! These scones truly tastes like Christmas! Something about the favors, particularly the rosemary, smells and tastes like Christmas morning. I know that might sound crazy, but trust me on this. Tis the season for comfort and joy, and in my book, comfort and joy look a lot like scones.

Merry Christmas dear readers. Thanks for sticking with me for another year!

Gratefully, and warmly,

– Sarah
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Scone Ingredients:
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened dried cranberries, chopped small
  • 4 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and diced
  • 1 cup half and half (or milk or cream), plus 2 Tablespoons more for brushing on top
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
Glaze Ingredients: 
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons water
  • Optional: Unsweetened dried cranberries and fresh rosemary leaves
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 450˚F.  Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, dried cranberries, and rosemary.
  3. Using a fork or two butter knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture, until it resembles a coarse meal.
  4. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the half and half and the vanilla bean paste, and then add to the flour mixture.
  5. Stir the liquid into the flour mixture using your hands or a wooden spoon, until the dough begins to form.  Shape the dough into a ball,  cover it with plastic wrap, and put in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  6. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, roll out until the dough is in a large circular shape, about 3/4 inches thick.  Run a large knife in water, then then cut the dough into 8 equal wedges.
  7. Arrange the scones on the prepared baking sheet and lighty brush the tops with half and half.
  8. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until light golden brown.  Remove from the pan and allow to cool on a cooling rack.
  9. Meanwhile, whisk together the ingredients for the glaze- adding water to reach your desired consistency.
  10. Dip the scones in the glaze, and sprinkle with cranberries or rosemary leaves as desired. Allow the glaze to set, and then eat and enjoy!
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Notes and Tips!:
  • If you want to make this dough ahead, instead of placing the dough in the freezer for 10 minutes, simply wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight. Bake the scones straight from the refrigerator in the morning.
  • Source: An Edible Mosaic
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious bread recipes from A Rented Kitchen!

Pumpkin French Toast Bake

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This time last year: Superfood Guacamole (2012)

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It’s finals week. Usually during finals week I turn into a barbarian, quickly running out of clean clothes, coffee, and devolving into a sleep deprived mess that eats popcorn three meals a day because there is no other food in the house.

Shining moments, I know.

However, this year, be proud of me, I am prepared! Last night I stayed up to ungodly hours doing all my laundry, grocery shopping, and cooking up a storm! (Literally, there was flour flying around the air. God bless my patient roommates.)

Moral of the story, this weary student will not go hungry this week, and I have some delicious recipes to share with you! So, add this to your “to-cook” list. It would make for a wonderful holiday breakfast dish over the holidays!

And for all my  student friends out there, I know y’all are trolling the internet, because it’s finals week, and everything feels better than studying. So, troll on through this site, and definitely book mark this recipe! This french toast bake is worth getting out of bed for.

Happy baking, and come back soon!

love, a rented kitchen

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Toast Ingredients:
  • 1 day old French bread, diced
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (Not pumpkin pie filling!)
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla
  • 1 Pumpkin pie spice
Streusel Ingredients:
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup chopped pecans
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
  • ½ cup cold salted butter, diced

Directions:

1. Spray a 9 x 13 inch casserole pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Arrange the bread in the pan evenly and set aside.
2. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the remaining wet ingredients- milk, cream, sugar, eggs, pumpkin, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice. Mix well, and pour over the bread. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours, or preferably, overnight.
3. Preheat the over to 350˚F.
4. In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, flour, pecans, and pumpkin spice. Add in the butter, using your fingers or a fork, until small clumps form.
5. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the toast, and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until thoroughly cooked through. Add a layer of aluminum foil over the top if the toast layer browns too quickly.
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Notes and Tips!:
  • Yield: 6-8 servings
  • Source: Little Spice Jar
  • Like this recipe? Try these other dishes from A Rented Kitchen! (recipe links below photos):

Pumpkin Nutella Muffins

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On this day last year: Caramel Delight Chocolate Covered Pretzels (2012)

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Well, I think it is safe to say I have found my new favorite muffin recipe!

I had to bake something for a birthday party recently, so in a very typical fashion, I found myself trolling the internet looking for some cooking inspiration.

That’s when I stumbled upon these pumpkin Nutella muffins, and Woah, they are a game changer!

I have baked and cooked with pumpkin numerous times. Pumpkin  is an extremely versatile ingredient, pairing well with sweet tones as well as savory!

Want to see for yourself? Check out my Pumpkin Spice Bread with Streusel Topping or these Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts.  Not interested in baked goods or sweets? Check out this Vegan Pumpkin Curry or my Creamy Pumpkin Pasta with Roasted Rosemary!  Seriously, like I said, pumpkin is versatile!

While I am well acquainted with pumpkin, Nutella is somewhat of a different story.

Some people consider Nutella a critical part of the food pyramid foundation. All signs (such as the chocolate section of my recipe page and my absurdly large sweet tooth) should point me to being on of those Nutella fanatic people, but for some reason I have never been a big Nutella user.

That might have just changed.

In the last three weeks, I have made six batches of these muffins. Wooooops.

In my defense however, I was doing some experimenting!  I tried baking these mufffis with entirely white all-purpose flour, a combination of flours, all the way down the the other end of the spectrum, with entirely whole wheat flour.   I found that all forms of flour combinations worked wonderfully with this recipe! The muffins stay moist and rich in flavor, and the texture differences were not noticeable.  Thus, if you want to lean towards the healthier side, or if you have gluten free needs, feel free to substitute your flour out for something that works for you!

It turns out, pumpkin and Nutella are a match made in heaven.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 1/3 cups flour* (all-purpose, whole wheat, gluten free, or any combination of those will work!)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • Nutella

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400˚F, and line a muffin tin with liners.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. (Feel free to sub in Pumpkin Pie Spice for the other spices if needed).
  3. Once mixed, add the remaining ingredients, stirring until blended, and then fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.
  4. Drop a teaspoon (give or take) of Nutella onto the top of each muffin, and swirl in with a toothpick.
  5. Bake for 16-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin can be removed clean. (There may be some hot Nutella, which is fine.  You do not want wet batter!)

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Yield: 36 muffins (Feel free to half the recipe if desired!)
  • Source: Your Cup of Cake
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious recipes from A Rented Kitchen (Recipe links below photos!)

Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Pancakes

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On this day last year: Mini Okra Frittata Cups (2012)

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GUYS. Yesterday was the first official day of fall- September 23rd.

It has been circled on my calendar for weeks now, because fall is a beautiful, wonderful, delicious season.

Welcome to it.

In celebration of fall, I thought it only appropriate to share this incredibly scrumptious sweet potato pancakes. If you like pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, sweet potato biscuits, or anything delicious, you’ll love these.

Dig in, do your happy dance, enjoy every bite, and celebrate- because it is the start of a new season, and new starts are always good.

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Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 Cup sweet potato puree
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Chocolate Chips (as many as you want!)

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the first five ingredients- flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients- egg, milk, brown sugar, and sweet potato puree.
  3. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until well mixed.
  4. Heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet or griddle over medium high heat.
  5. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, dole out batter onto the skillet, and cook for about 2 minutes per side. Serve warm and enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!: 

  • Source: Weelicious
  • Like this recipe? Check out these other delicious A Rented Kitchen Pancake recipes! Guaranteed to make your mornings better. (Recipe links found below photos!):

Blueberry Bunt Cake

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On this day last year: Homemade Pigs in a Blanket (2013)

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Some people are culinary saints- those who have gone before us and paved the way with delicious holiday treats, birthday cakes, kitchen secrets, and recipe cards so worn down you need a magnifying glass to read them.

There are a lot of culinary saints in my life. People who have taught me their ways and passed down their kitchen secrets- all of whom I am so very grateful for.

This recipe is one of those inherited from a saint. When my family moved to Kansas City, in the dead of winter, from warm sunny Florida, this cake showed up on our door. It was baked by a woman in our church who is known for her skills in the kitchen, and whom we have been eternally grateful for ever since.

Moving states is hard. Moving to Kansas from sunny Florida is harder. Moving as a middle schooler is the hardest. Eating delicious cake is not hard.

Therefore, this recipe goes out to all of those culinary saints- the people who have shared their time, energy, recipes, and coffee cakes to neighbors, friends, family, and strangers. This world is better for it.

And if you think you have the world’s best coffee cake recipe, and you haven’t tried putting blue berries, cinnamon, and sour cream in it- try, try again. I know sour cream may sound strange, but this cake is so moist and light that you will have a haaaard time stepping away from it. Just trust me on this one.

Love, a rented kitchen

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Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup dairy sour cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup all purpose four OR cake flour
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup blueberries, rinsed and dusted with flour
  • Powdered sugar for dusting the top

Filling Ingredients:

  • ½ brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup nuts- chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Thoroughly grease and flour a bunt pan or tube pan.*
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and white sugar. Add the eggs, and then fold in the sour cream and vanilla.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and mix until smooth.
  4. Fold in the blueberries.
  5. Stir together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and chopped nuts, and set aside.
  6. Pour 1/3 of the batter into the bottom of the pan, and then sprinkle half of the brown sugar filling over top.
  7. Add another 1/3 of the cake batter to the pan, and top with the remaining half of the brown sugar filling.
  8. Pour the remaining 1/3 cake batter into the pan, and using a knife, gently swirl the brown sugar filling and batter together.
  9. Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until light brown on top and a toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Allow to cool in the pan. Once cool, sift powdered sugar over the top, serve, and enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • To flour a bund pan, sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of white flour along the bottom of the greased pan, and shake the pan around until all sides have a thin coat of flour. This will help the cake slide out of the pan easier once cooked.
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious bread options from A Rented Kitchen (recipe links below photos!):