Today, as I sat down to write, there was a little voice in my head saying, “Come on Krista, just let it out.” As if this food addiction is something which requires regular therapy and a spilling of my culinary thoughts. In truth, I used to have a support group. We would meet monthly to express our pent up culinary creativity but since I moved away and abandoned them, here I am.
Even as I was preparing Potato soup for tonight’s supper, I was giddy as I thought about “soup theory”. You see, cooking is very much like musical composition. At first, you simply play someone else’s composition, following each note in the correct time. Once you have mastered the notes you add a little bit of interpretation, emphasizing a crescendo here or a making it more legato there. Then you start to learn the theory of music and why certain chords go well together, or dissonance and resolution. Soon enough, you are composing your own masterpieces, making a few mistakes here and there, but learning as you go eventually creating works of art which move the audience and fill them with the emotion you, yourself poured into it.
Maybe I have taken it a little too far, but in all honesty, when if comes to music, I really have no idea what I am talking about, but when it comes to food this is how I feel. And for me, in the last 4 years, I really feel like I have taken my culinary abilities to the next level. I see a recipe and say to myself, “you know, I really think this should be done this way, or this should be replaced with this.” Or I think of a theory, like “soup theory” or “french toast theory” and create something from scratch. Being here in the UK, has been an amazing experience because they approach cooking just a little bit different and I am learning to adapt to terms like “a mug full”. They have a simplified way of and tend to follow the seasons more making use of the less expensive veggies which are plentiful here on the island.
So this week lets talk about “Scone theory” since I am in England after all.
Basic method is as described in last week’s post. Flour, leavening agent, salty or sweet. Mix, add fat (shortening or butter) and liquid.
You can then try adding different elements such as orange zest, cranberries, fresh or frozen berries, apples, pumpkin, cheese, bacon: you name it! You might adjust the other ingredients based on the new element. For example if using raspberries which tend to be quite tart, you may want to add some more sugar or if adding canned pumpkin, reduce your liquid.
Let’s take it a step further however and think outside the box. Why not combine “scone theory” with “Cinnamon Bun theory” because really you can wrap anything in dough and it usually only makes it better. For example, piggies in a blanket (the English are CRAZY over these.)
Go ahead think outside the box and give these beauties a try. They are a great afterschool snack or morning coffee companion.
Apple Cinnamon Rolls
Serves: 9 small rolls
3 medium sized apples (whatever is your favourite kind) peeled and cubed
1/4 cup of raisins
3 Tbsp of water
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
a dollop of honey
1 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
1/4 rolled oats
2 tsp of baking powder
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp of cinnamon
3 Tbsp of honey
1/3 cup of milk
3 Tbsp of yogurt
2 Tbsp of honey
extra butter, cinnamon sugar and honey for topping the rolls
Grease or line a muffin tin (you can also do this in a baking pan)
Place apples in a small saucepan with raisins, water, cinnamon and honey. Cover and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and drain excess liquid. Let cool completely.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Meanwhile, combine the flours, oats, baking powder, brown sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl. In a medium sized bowl whisk together milk, yogurt and honey.
**Tip: I say yogurt but really use whatever you have. If you don’t have yogurt use buttermilk, or heavy cream or just extra milk**
Incorporate wet and dry ingredients into a sticky dough. Roll out onto a floured surface into a rectangle, about the size of your computer keyboard or so that the dough is about 1/4-1/2 inch thick.
Spread apple mixture over the dough and roll up lengthwise (like you would with cinnamon buns).
Cut into 9 equal pieces. I find a serrated knife works best.
Place one in each muffin spot and fill the empty places with water. I like to put a little dollop of butter on each roll and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Don’t give into the temptation to gobble them all up quite yet and instead drizzle with honey then bake for 5 minutes longer until golden brown.
Enjoy with a cup of tea and a friend.
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