baking

Another delicious attempt at scone making

I love scones. I love going to tea houses for afternoon tea and having scones with lemon curd and cream. Sometimes it’s my favorite part of the tea tradition. With your afternoon tea, the tea sandwiches arrive first, then the scones with lemon curd and cream on the side and lastly, the little desserts.

I’ve made a few attempts at making scones in the past. Although they taste delicious, they don’t look how they are supposed to look because I always have difficulty managing the dough. It’s very sticky so instead of being triangles or cute perfect round scones made with a scone cutter I purchased, they end up looking like little muffins or imperfect flat circles. But they are still delicious!

I’ve tried many scone recipes in the past but I think I just found my favorite recipe so far. I found the recipe on wildwildwhisk.com:

https://wildwildwhisk.com/basic-buttermilk-scones/

The scones are so buttery and flaky. The texture, consistency and taste of the scones actually remind me of the scones that we eat when we are in London. Those scones came plain or with raisins.

For this recipe by wildwildwhisk.com, you will need buttermilk as well as cubed cold butter. I think those are the magic ingredients. Start with your dry ingredients which are flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and sift them into a bowl. Take the cold, cubed butter and work it into the dough with your fingertips until the dough is the size of peas. Next, take the wet ingredients which include buttermilk, vanilla and egg and fold them into the dry ingredients. The next part is the part that I always have difficulty with because of the stickiness of the dough. The dough is supposed to be turned out on a floured surface and shaped into a circle and then cut into triangles. The dough is so sticky that I have so much difficulty. I always end up spooning the dough onto a baking sheet.

I made two sizes of scones. For the bigger scones, I spooned about 2 tablespoons of dough onto a baking sheet. The dough spread, so the scones ended up as flat, imperfect circles. They might look imperfect but I must admit that they are still oh so delicious. Especially when they are hot and fresh out of the oven. They are so buttery, flaky and taste delicious with coffee or tea.

My flat, imperfect but delicious circle scones with cranberries

I made some plain and some with dried cranberries. For the smaller scones, I spooned some dough into a mini cupcake tin. The scones came out as cute little 2 bite mini scone muffins.

mini scones

To ensure that the scones end up buttery and flaky, make sure that there are still little pieces of butter in the dough. The little pieces of butter melt while baking and create a flaky texture. Turning the dough over itself in the last step also creates layers, making the scones flaky. It’s important not to use too much flour when turning the dough or else the scones will end up dry. In addition, the wet dough creates softer scones.

If you are able to make these scones into triangles, then each triangle is about 270 calories each. Since I couldn’t manage making the triangles, I made 12 round circles and 9 mini scones with this recipe.

Try this recipe for the most delicious scones to eat with your afternoon tea.

Happy baking!

My Gratitude Journal

The Breakfast Club

Before the lockdown, my friends and I formed a breakfast club. Every month, on the second Sunday of the month, we had breakfast or brunch together. We took turns choosing the restaurant and we were encouraged to be as creative as possible. If you couldn’t make it, no big deal, you can make it to the next month’s brunch. Also, anyone is invited to join. There were usually about 10 of us in attendance every month. Although, sometimes there were more and sometimes there were less.

We started with the letter A. My friend, Alicia, chose Humble Bee in Lake Balboa. A really delicious breakfast spot. It was February 2019 and it was our first brunch get-together. It was raining that Sunday. I remember it being very loud in the restaurant. I ordered the waffles and they were very good. There were about 9 of us that day. We had two birthdays to celebrate that month so I made lemon cupcakes with a Valentine’s day theme. I sprinkled red sprinkles on top and put a heart on top of each one. Valentine’s Day Conversation Heart Cupcakes

My friend Adriana handed out little bottles with messages inside. My message said “Let go of the need to control, Trust…”

For our March brunch, my friend, Adriana, picked out the Tam O’Shanter Pub in Los Angeles. It was the perfect spot for a St. Patrick’s day celebration. She handed out little 4 leaf clover charms. Most of us ordered the corn beef hash.

April’s brunch was at the 1919 Cafe at the Huntington Library in San Marino. We ate outside. It was a beautiful sunny day. Afterwards, we took our customary picture together at the gardens and some of us walked around the grounds.

I wasn’t able to make it to June or July’s brunch. August’s brunch was at The Malibu Cafe in Malibu. It was a hot day but we were all dressed in our pretty sundresses. We ate outside. I ordered the most delicious drink with my waffles. It was called The Lazy River and it was a lavender rosemary gin with lemon.

Afterwards, we walked around, took lots of pictures and found the perfect candles:

In August, we met at a restaurant in Pasadena. I missed September’s get together which wasn’t a brunch but was actually a cruise to Mexico. October’s brunch was at the Village in Woodland Hills. After brunch, we walked around Costco. In November, we met at The Public School 818 in Sherman Oaks. It’s a school themed restaurant. I ordered the waffles. I don’t know if you notice a theme here, but I seem to always order waffles at these brunches.

Finally, it was December and it was my turn. I decided to be creative and although I didn’t pick a fun, new restaurant to try out (I picked Mimi’s Cafe in Northridge), I collaborated with my friend, Adriana and after breakfast, we went to her home which was fully decorated for Christmas to play games, drink wine and have dessert. We were too full from breakfast to have dessert but we did drink a lot of wine. We had two teams and we played Pictionary. My team won. I brought little prizes for the winners. Later, we exchanged our White Elephant gifts. The theme for the White Elephant gifts was that they had to be re-gifted items. I ended up with the coolest Christmas decoration. It was a little Christmas house that lit up.

January’s brunch was actually the most fun out of all the brunches and also the longest. Or at least it seemed like the longest. Everyone had a chance to pick and it was Alicia’s turn for the second time around. Round 2. She picked IKEA in Burbank. I’ve never had breakfast there and it was really fun (and cheap). Afterwards, we all broke off into groups and shopped. The group I was in, who were my closest friends, stayed the longest. I have never in my whole entire life, spent 6 1/2 hours in IKEA. I’m not much of a shopper anymore. I almost had a panic attack (I might be exaggerating) and I guess I could’ve left at anytime since I did drive there separately, but part of me didn’t want to abandon my friends. I think I was feeling claustrophobic. At one point (the point when I almost had a quote-unquote “panic attack”), I though we were almost out of there, but it turned out that there was a whole other section we had to go through. Finally we made it to the lines. After we paid, we ate for a second time, since we got there at 10:00 a.m. to eat breakfast and it was now 4:00 p.m. Good times…

I missed February’s brunch. And in March, I suggested that we postpone due to concerns regarding the coronavirus and not long after that, we were in lockdown.

I really enjoyed all of our brunches together and I look forward to doing it again sometime in the future. Maybe 2021…

So today I am grateful for breakfast, brunch, waffles, messages in little bottles, lucky charms, lemon cupcakes, sun, rain, pretty sundresses, group pictures, trying new things, Costco and 6 1/2 hours at IKEA.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

My Gratitude Journal

A morning filled with gratitude at Cafe Gratitude

My friends and I recently had a day of fun at Downtown LA. One of our stops was at Cafe Gratitude for breakfast. This wasn’t planned and was more of a spontanous decision being that we had a list of places that we wanted to hit that day. It ended up being one of my favorite stops of the day.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day after all. I’m such a hypocrite of that because I usually skip breakfast and ironically, breakfast is my favorite meal. So you can imagine my excitement when we chose this cafe for breakfast.

Cafe Gratitude serves up many great dishes, bakery items and drinks for breakfast. Everything is 100% organic and plant based.

We started off with drinks. We were told by the server that when we order, we can order (only if we wanted to) by saying “I am…” and stating the name of the drink or meal.

All of the meals and drinks are named after positive affirmations. I wanted an iced hibiscus tea which was called “love”. So I said to the waitress, “I am love”. One of my friends ordered the turmeric pepper tea and my other friend ordered the matcha green tea (both hot drinks). I can’t remember the name of their drinks but I tried a sip of each of them and they tasted so healthy. Yes, that’s my way of being positive because both of these drinks weren’t my cup of tea (haha, punny…)

We decided to get a couple of dishes and share them family style. We decided on the “I am open-hearted” buckwheat flax pancakes and they were good. We ordered cashew coconut whipped butter on the side and that was even better than the maple syrup it came with. We also ordered the breakfast toast which was named “I am peaceful”. I love toast for breakfast or anytime of the day. I wanted to try one of each so we got a breakfast toast sampler which was called “peaceful flight”. It had a smashed avocado toast, a chickpea frittata toast and a sliced banana toast. My favorite was the chickpea frittata toast. Just writing about it is making me hungry! Those spicy pickled vegetables were delicious and savory. It was a perfect compliment to our pancakes.

After we ordered the waitress left us with a question or thought of the day. Ours was “what are you looking forward to?” I was very excited to share my answer with my friends so I answered first. I said “today” which meant our day trip in DTLA.

We chit chatted while waiting for our food. When it arrived, our server put the food and drinks down in front of us and said “you are love”, “you are open hearted” and “you are peaceful”. Our server then went back to get us some plates since we were sharing and on the plates it stated “what are you grateful for?” We took turns answering. I loved hearing everyone’s answers.

What a great breakfast and such a great way to start off the day.Starting off your day with gratitude is the fastest path to happiness. I do it every morning. I list 3 things I am grateful for. I try to pick three different things but I admit that some mornings are a little harder than others and my list ends up being the same three things. Then there are some mornings when I can just go on and on. Those are the days that start off the best. I feel abundant which leads me to more happiness and gratitude.

I am happy and grateful for my friends and our fun adventures. I look forward to more adventures together.

Happy Friday,

Sweet Monday