three treats with all the feel of fall

Happy First Day of Autumn! A strong warm wind blew all day yesterday warning us that the piles of leaves will soon be rustling under our feet. The sounds of summer fade to a crinkly whisper and rich green turns to dusty gold. Acorns keep the squirrels busy and we know the world is changing.

harvest apple dip

Applesauce, fresh apple slices, apple butter, baked apples, apple pie, or just a whole apple in your pocket can only mean one thing. September is for apples, and we love this three ingredient apple dip. I always double the recipe, cover the bowl we served it in, and store it in the fridge for next time. We have this at lunch, for a snack, and as a fruit side with supper. It’s only three ingredients: cream cheese, brown sugar, and vanilla extract.

https://letsdishrecipes.com/2017/09/three-ingredient-apple-dip.html

apple bread

Apple bread is at the top of our family’s favorite quick breads. It’s sweet and soft and we often serve it alongside dinner. You’re going to love this recipe full of chunky apples! We use 1 cup of sugar instead of 2 cups.

https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/apple-bread/

maple milk

The maple milk is turning into our family’s year around favorite special drink. We used to only have it cold during the summertime, but warm is the best alternative to hot chocolate in case sometimes you want something else :).

It’s just two ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk (cold, warm, hot)
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (we prefer FirstFruits Farms maple syrup :). Comment or email us if you’d like some!

We sometimes sprinkle cinnamon on top or a little nutmeg (the children’s preferred way).

Do you have simple recipes your family loves? Happy Fall Friends!

 with love, Damaris
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Easy Scones and Crème Fraiche

For years I only every made muffins for a quick snacking or breakfast food, but a friend (an amazing baker too) enlightened me to the wonders of scones. Same one-bowl idea, quick in the oven, and a crumb that delights all palates, scones are amazing. I have tried many recipes since then depending on what ingredients I had on-hand (buttermilk recipes, no egg recipes, you name it), but this one is by far the most dependable.

Scones have a subtle different texture than biscuits since they’re less creamy/buttery. This simple scone recipe will prove that they are a dense, crumbly deliciousness. Sometimes we sugar dust the scones before baking, but the traditional treat just takes a little spreading of jam for sweetening. Dried currants as an add-on is so authentic, but dried currants are not easy to come by. Some of our favorite combinations have been lemon extract and dried blueberries, orange extract and dried cranberries, and vanilla extract and diced dried apricots.

The perfect topping to this tasty treat is the delicate addition of the crème fraiche. It takes the place of British clotted cream with a silkier texture. Crème fraiche literally makes itself on your counter, and the results couldn’t be dreamier! Pretty soon, you’ll be using crème fraiche in all sorts of recipes! I promise you’ll feel very accomplished in the kitchen and be forever grateful that you learned to make it.

Easy Scones*

  • 2 1/2 cups flour

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 4 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/3 cup room temperature butter

  • 2 beaten eggs

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

  • 3/4 cup dried currants or raisins or any dried fruit (chocolate chips would be fun)

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or your favorite extract

Heat oven to 375° F. In a medium bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and use your hands (a fork, two butter knives, pastry blender) to break up the butter so that the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. We mostly use the food processor and pulse until crumbly. Add the eggs, heavy cream, extract, and dried fruit at once and stir until moistened. Turn your dough onto a lightly floured surface. Form it into a ball and with floured hands, gently press it into a round or square. You may need a rolling pin. For American sized scones, cut into 8 wedges or squares (cut outs are good too, but they bake faster). For traditional scones, cut into 16 wedges, round cut-outs, or squares. Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Brush scones with milk or cream and dust with coarse sugar (optional). Bake at 375F for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with crème fraiche and strawberry jam (lemon curd is amazing too). They freeze well.

Crème Fraiche**

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 1 tablespoon buttermilk

Combine the cream and the buttermilk and warm in the microwave or stove until lukewarm (not to exceed 90F or 32C). Pour the mixture onto a glass jar and cover lightly (so steam can escape). Let it stand at room temperature overnight (warm place – 70F) or all day (up to 24 hours) until it is has thickened. Stir, cover, and refrigerate for the flavor to develop and the crème to thicken even more. Before refrigerating, try stirring in vanilla beans (just a 1/4 teaspoon will do) for an over-the-top treat! If you’d like to try the crème sweetened, stir in powdered sugar to taste. Crème Fraiche is delicious in savory dishes too (no vanilla).

*Adapted from Home and Gardens New Baking Book

**Adapted from Super Natural Every Day, Heidi Swanson

with love. Damaris


Crusty Country Bread

Recently I admitted to our eating too many carbs, and this is one of the culprits! This crusty country bread loaf doesn’t require kneading! It can also be left alone all night on the counter until the next day’s supper or whenever you have a couple of minutes to toss it into a very hot oven. I have been hearing of these recipes for years, but we didn’t have a pot that would work well for it. A couple of days ago, we just welcomed a fabulously gorgeous Dutch oven into our farmhouse kitchen! The very same night it arrived, we got are hands dusty with flour. Everyone was giddy with expectation! Eva’s first thought in the morning was to check on the rising dough – ha! She ran back upstairs with it, so we could all get our noses in the bowl. Does your family love yeasted carbs as much as we all do around here?

When you grow up in Spain, bread is a culinary fundamental for household happiness. But since my baking abilities are limited (and my time), we were thrilled to finally try our hand at this promising loaf! With only four ingredients that you already have in your kitchen and very little effort, this golden crusty loaf will yield an airy bread that is artisan quality. The long fermentation process allows for the development of good flavor, while the covered pot ensures the moisture needed for a crisp crust. This country bread recipe is as forgiving as it is flexible, too. We have often doubled it with great results. I can’t wait to experiment with aromatic herbs!

Crusty Country Bread

  • 3 1/4 cups flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon yeast (I used active dry)

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (95 to 110 degrees)

Incorporate all the ingredients in a bowl. This dough will be very sticky. Mix until there are no flour clumps left. Remember no need to knead! Cover the bowl with clear plastic wrap and allow it to sit on your counter overnight or around 8 hours. When the surface is covered in bubbles (2 hours), the dough is ready, but it can sit longer for more flavor. Cut a piece of parchment paper and dust it with flour. With heavily floured hands, or using a spatula or a spoon, remove the dough from the bowl and onto the floured parchment. Use as much flour as you need to have it not stick as your shape it, but not working any flour into the dough. Shape a round loaf (seam-side down) and cut a cross (x) or score it two or three times to allow for a better rise as it bakes. Cover it with the clear plastic wrap while you preheat the oven. Place the Dutch oven with the lid in the oven and turn it on to 450 degrees. When it reaches the temperature, pull out the pot and remove the lid (carefully-it’s ver hot!). Place your shaped dough into the oven-safe pot keeping the parchment paper under it. Cover with the lid and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover the Dutch oven and bake for 15-20 more minutes until it looks deeply golden and crusty.

You’ve got a huge, delicious, homemade bread loaf in your hands! Leave a comment (I love your pictures too!) if you’ve tried your hand at this easy recipe!

with love. Damaris


…And Bowl Full Of Mush

It is a busy place – this kitchen of ours! Recipes are always doubled or tripled, and leftovers find a new thoroughfare to our table.

With the temperatures rising, our love affair with steaming bowls of oatmeal porridge begins to fade. Now, I find we have more oatmeal leftovers than ever, and that means more need to be creative! I usually just store any leftover oatmeal in a covered glass bowl, which typically isn’t enough for serving to everyone warmed up again. It’s difficult to find a good use for this stuff – even if I resort to guerilla tactics (i.e. hiding and camouflaging)!

This recipe below came to my rescue!

First, when we make our oatmeal “bowl full of mush”, we use two parts water and one part rolled oats. It’s everyone’s favorite when we add maple syrup or brown sugar to the pot as it finishes thickening. If your normal oatmeal recipe is not sweetened, then perhaps the recipe below may need a little more sugar.

photo credit: Alexander

Oatmeal Muffins

These oatmeal muffins are wholesome and satisfying! The crumb is light and smooth, and the oat’s texture is unidentifiable. These golden muffins will be fluffy in less than 15 minutes! I like to make them in the afternoon so we snack on them while they’re warm. If I can successfully fend of the insatiable boys, I save some to pair with dinner. Any extra ones freeze well too!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 egg

  • 1/2 cup milk (any kind)

  • 1/8 cup oil or melted butter

  • 1 cup leftover oatmeal

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar

  • 1 1/2 cups flour

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup raisins (or dried cranberries, chopped nuts, chocolate chips, etc)

Preheat the oven at 375 degrees or 350 on convection setting. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl just until incorporated. Line or grease a muffin pan and spoon the batter into the muffin cups. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until toothpick in the center comes out clean. Makes 18 muffins.

We can’t wait until they cool to eat them, and I’m sure you and your family won’t either! If you enjoy oatmeal porridge like we do, I would love to hear your oatmeal leftover creations!

with love. Damaris


Mother's Day Maple Muffins

photo credit: Alexander

These blonde beauties are pure maple goodness! Gena, a sweet friend, brought Nathan and me a dozen of these muffins the night when I first became a mom. I was overwhelmed, in love, and ravenous, and these maple muffins were manna to me.

Since this Sunday is Mother’s Day, I made four dozen blonde beauties today. One dozen was for Nathan to take to his office. They rave about them. I was delivering another dozen to a friend, so two dozen would stay on the cooling rack to be enjoyed with our dinner…and hopefully breakfast too. Of course, we had to “try” them before we left for the delivery, then we came back and had to have just a little-snack-muffin…or two… or three. The warm maple scent filled the house (and our tummies).

When Daddy came home, the littles were still holding on to the last of the tender crumbs.

photo credit: Alexander

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar (optional)

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 3/4 cups any milk

  • 1/2 cup oil or melted butter

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

  • 1/4 cup sour cream

  • 1 egg

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees or 350 degrees for convection setting. Line or grease your muffin pan. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients until well incorporated (no need to over mix). Spoon the batter into the muffin pan. Bake @ 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

If you’re looking for a Mother’s Day brunch treat or yummy breakfast for the kids (& Mom in bed!), these will satisfy everyone. Do you enjoy delivering little baked blessings to friends, too? Tell me how they turn out for you.

with love. Damaris