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!

Ginger Hot Chocolate

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To say I’m a hot chocolate fan would be an understatement. I am such a chocolate addict, that no matter the season, you can find me sipping on some hot chocolate. It’s embarrassing really.

Despite my huge love of this delicious beverage, I have never tried my hand at making homemade hot chocolate.  I’m on a mission to change that.

Thus, for the next few days, I am going to be posting several new and delicious homemade hot chocolate recipes. Yesterday I posted Pumpkin Hot Chocolate (AKA Christmas in a Cup!), and tomorrow I’ve got some delicious Coconut Hot Chocolate coming your way!

However today, I present to you, Ginger Hot Chocolate. I am not one of those people that loves to chew on candied ginger, so I was a little concerned I would not like this recipe, but it was delicious! By using cocoa powder at the chocolate source, this recipe has a slightly darker and more bitter taste than the Pumpkin Hot Chocolate, which used melted chocolate chips.  The ginger taste was there, but it was not overwhelming. Instead, there’s a little salty kick in every delicious sip.

If you love dark chocolate, ginger, and/or sea salt- this drink is for you.

Enjoy, and make sure you check back tomorrow for the next scrumptious hot chocolate recipe!

Love, A Rented Kitchen

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Ingredients:

  • 3 cups milk (soy, almond, dairy- your choice!)
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger (more if you really love ginger!)
  • ¼ cup cocoa or cacao powder
  • Generous pinch of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2-3 ginger candies (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, heat the milk until warm.
  2. Whisk in the cocoa powder, sea salt and ginger until smooth and fully incorporated.
  3. Once the milk is hot enough, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  4. Rub a ginger candy along the rims and inside of your mugs and then fill with the cocoa. (I do not advise leaving the candy in the mug, as it will get mushy and weird).
  5. Optional: top with whipped cream or marshmallows! Enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Yield: 2 Servings
  • Source: Minimalist Baker
  • The original recipe called for  2 cups milk and one cup water. I used 3 cups of milk and no water, just because I read it hastily and measured it out incorrectly. However, it tasted fine that way! Thus, do whatever you prefer!

Pumpkin Hot Chocolate

 

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It’s the day after Christmas.

I have a lot to be grateful for.

We all know the movie scenes where families are gathered around the fire, singing songs, the Christmas tree is perfect, and the snow is fresh.  We also know however, that there are too many people who spend Christmas in a hospital, or who are grieving their first Christmas without a loved one. We all know that there are too may people without a home on Christmas, without a meal, or who experience more violence than love inside their walls.

We all know those painful realities exist, those realities that challenge our ideal image of Christmas. To those stories and people, I want to say I have not forgotten you. As I sat around the Christmas tree this year, sipping on my hot chocolate, I was overwhelmed with how blessed I am to have a loving home to spend this holiday in.

I wish it was possible for me to share my experiences with those who were lonely or cold on that holy day. I wish it was possible for me to invite every hurting person into my kitchen and to share with them a piping hot cup of hot chocolate and the hope of a better day.  Unfortunately, from my little rented kitchen, that is not possible.

However, to those of you reading this, I hope you try this delicious hot chocolate recipe- because life is full of beautiful moments and treats, and I am a firm believer in celebrating those moments. And as you sip on your hot chocolate, I hope you slow down for a minute and count your blessings.  We all have something to be grateful for, and many of us have everything to be grateful for.

It’s a beautiful time of the year. And I have a lot to be grateful for.

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped*
  • 2 Tablespoon Brown sugar
  • Optional: Whipped cream or marshmallows for topping!

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, heat the milk.
  2. Add the pumpkin, seasonings, and sugar to the milk- whisk until smooth.
  3. Once smooth, add the chocolate to the milk and stir for a few minutes until melted and mixed in.
  4. Pour into your favorite mug, and garnish with whipped cream or marshmallows as desired!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Yield: 2 Servings
  • Source: Laura’s Sweet Spot
  • If you do not have semi-sweet chocolate chunks, chocolate chips will also work and will easily melt into your milk!
  • This hot chocolate recipe is the first of a series! Stay Tuned for more delicious hot chocolate recipes to come!
  • Vegan? Substitute the milk and chocoalte chips for soy milk and vegan chocolate chips! It will be equally delicious 🙂