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!

Homemade Peach Cobbler

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As I wrote in my last post (Healthy Peach Cobbler Oatmeal), my family just picked peaches. Knowing me, and knowing that we just picked peaches, you had to know this cobbler was coming! I tried to be healthy by starting out with the cobbler oatmeal, but let’s be honest, the true cobbler was where my heart really was!

I have never made a cobbler, so this was a new experience for me! I took some time researching a variety of recipes.  I found dozens of delicious-looking cobbler recipes, but what I was missing time after time, was that delicious streusel topping you often get on top of a good apple crisp (or my all-time favorite sweet potato casserole!). Thus, I added a streusel topping, and let me tell you what, it made all the difference.

The soft warm peaches, the perfect golden brown crust, a little sweet and crunchy streusel topping- mmmmm mmmm MMM! Tastes like vacation already.

In the one-week my family vacationed in New York we went through not one, but two of these cobblers. That had a little something to do with the fact that my father is always trying to cover something warm with a little ice cream (Man of my own heart), as well as the pressing reality that we had an entire bushel of peaches to finish in 5 days.

Thus, I present you with a scrumptious, vacation inspired, New York summer, fresh, streusel-topped cobbler. I hope you’re able to share it with your family, and maybe a little vanilla ice cream too 🙂

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4-6 cups fresh peach slices, rinsed and cut into small chunks
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • ½ cup oats
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375˚F.  While the oven preheats, place one stick of butter in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish, and melt in the preheating oven.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, white sugar, baking powder, and salt, mix well.
  3. Add the milk and vanilla to the dry mix, stirring just until the wet ingredients are moist. Set aside.
  4. Combine the brown sugar, peach slices (with peach juice), lemon juice, and cinnamon sticks in a large saucepot, and bring to a boil over high heat.  Allow to boil for 5 minutes (this allows the cinnamon flavor to blend into the peaches), stirring regularly.
  5. Pour the batter over the melted butter (do not stir).  Remove the cinnamon sticks from the peach mixture, and then spoon the peaches and their liquid over the batter.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes.  In the meantime, whisk the oats, brown sugar, and nutmeg together in a small bowl.
  7. Remove the cobbler form the oven and sprinkle the oat streusel topping over the peaches.  Bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until cooked all the way through and light brown on top.
  8. Serve warm or cold (optional: with vanilla ice cream!). Enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Adapted form: Southern Living Magazine, June 1997
  • If you like this recipe, check out these other delicious summer treats from ‘A Rented Kitchen!’ Click on the links below for the recipe!: