It’s amazing how the weather can affect one’s mood. The off-and-on winter/spring weather has been frustrating enough, but nothing dampens my spirits more than waking up in the morning, looking out the window and seeing nothing but grey skies. No sun, no rain, just bleak, somber skies. Even though it’s Good Friday and we have no intentions of doing a lot today, it’s sort of off putting.
So naturally, after I was greeted by grey skies this morning, I knew I had to bake something special for breakfast and these skor toffee scones were just the answer. I splurged and used cake flour in place of some of the flour and butter in place of my usual margarine. Instead of sugar, I substituted pure maple syrup. Right before I baked the scones though, I brushed them with a bit of milk and sprinkled a little brown sugar. I’m pretty sure that last part is the secret to all scone-making because the result was flaky, savoury scones with a delicious crunchy sugar top. Sometimes I can’t believe that in the three years I’ve been blogging, I only have six scone recipes. Note to self – make scones more often.
Ever since I purchased my new, fancy-pants 11-cup Cuisinart food processor, I’ve been on a chopping, slicing and pureeing crazy spree. In the last two weeks, I’ve made falafels, granola (3 batches), homemade veggie burgers and chopped a variety of vegetables for homemade soup. To say that this upgrade was a well-needed purchase is an understatement and I’m thrilled now to be able to make things that my previous 3-cup little baby processor couldn’t handle. A few of the items on my to-make list include hummus, homemade peanut butter for Trevor and another batch of these quinoa brownies.
Some of you may remember last summer when I made my chocolate espresso quinoa cake and if you compare the ingredients list from that cake to these brownies, they don’t appear to be that different from each other. Where I think these brownies really shine is the crazy addictive chocolate date icing. Rather than using powdered sugar, I used medjool dates, which are naturally sweet and full of potassium and fiber. Ever since I had my first medjool date, I’ve had to keep a package hidden somewhere in my fridge for when I’m craving something sweet.
Every year, without fail, I get the spring cleaning bug and nothing in our apartment is safe. The weather is only just starting to warm up now, but I’ve already completed our bedroom closets, bathroom storage, the DVD/bookshelves and our kitchen cupboards. Recently, I had tackled the fridge and freezer and uncovered about a dozen half-bags of chocolate chips, flavoured baking chips, Hershey chocolates, Skor bar bits and a variety of chopped nuts. At first, I was very tempted to just snack on what little was left in each bag, but as I gradually discovered more and more bags, I realized that I had enough to make a decent “everything” cookie recipe.
“Everything” cookies go by many names. Loaded cookies, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink cookies, and even the somewhat questionable “garbage can cookies.” But no matter what you want to call them, everything cookies are a great way to get rid of, well, everything in your pantry. I ended up saving the chopped nuts to make homemade granola (my currently breakfast addiction), but below is what I added to my cookies.
If you take a look through my recipe archive, you’ll notice that I tend to favour certain ingredients more than others. Besides fruit, some of my most common baking ingredients are chocolate, espresso and peanut butter. Baking with chocolate is obvious because chocolate anything is delicious. If chocolate is the main ingredient, I’ll add a quick dash of espresso to enhance the delicious chocolatey flavour. Peanut butter is a common baking staple because we always have some in our kitchen and Trevor is a fan of anything I make with peanut butter. Plus peanut butter and chocolate together rocks.
Speaking of peanut butter and chocolate, I’d been meaning to make this recipe for a while now, but until recently I was so convinced that I had already posted a peanut butter chocolate banana bread recipe. Does this happen to anyone else? A couple months ago, I had planned on making white chocolate cranberry cookies only to realize that I had already posted a recipe back in 2011. Since then, whenever I have a recipe in mind, I panic and search my archives to make sure I’m not accidentally repeating myself.
One of my personal goals this year is to not stress myself out over things I cannot control. This was tested at the end of February when things got a little busy and I couldn’t find the time to bake or think up something to write about. I normally maintain a pretty good routine of posting once a week, and I’m not going to lie, I did get a little twitchy. Rather than stress myself out over not having a recipe to share (or worse, throw something together in a panic), I decided to shrug it off and start fresh again this week.
Another thing that happened was that I fell in a food rut and I managed to dig myself out by purchasing one of my favourite bloggers, Angela at Oh She Glows, first cookbook. I’ve been following Angela’s vegan food blog for years, long before I started blogging, and none of her recipes have disappointed me. Normally I avoid using cookbooks for my everyday cooking and like to save them for special occasions (I know, weird), but since this book arrived in my arms, I’ve made a point to make a new recipe every few days. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen the photos and it’s been great trying new recipes and buying ingredients I’ve never purchased before.