Sunday, September 27, 2009

Are you there blog? It's me, Laura. I have Raspberry Scones.

You know how some food bloggers parlay their work into cookbooks? Or become food writers or food photographers. Or pursue a full-time career in the culinary arts.

Not me. This little blog, which I have woefully neglected lately, has not gotten me a food-related job.

But it has helped me get a web-related job.

Three weeks ago, I joined SUNY Geneseo at its Web Communications Manager. (Check us out on the TODAY show!) I'm work in the College Communications department, and I'm in charge of the College's strategic communication and brand conformity across the web, which includes our website (re-launch to come soon) and social media.

It is a *big* job -- transitioning a website with 30,000+ pages is daunting -- but I don't think I've ever gotten a warmer welcome or more support at work than from my new employers. It's a challenge but it's a very good one. (And the salary increase doesn't hurt, either.)

But back to the topic at hand: all that time spent writing about and photographing food, updating on facebook, tweeting on twitter, etc. etc. -- it all helped me land my new job. I don't think I would have gotten an offer without my time spent here.

It's so strange, isn't it? When you do something as a hobby, you just see it as that: something pleasant to do to pass the time. But you never know when your playing will turn into something bigger, and when it does, it's a happy surprise.


Our department is housed in a renovated frat house (insert joke here), which means we have a full, working kitchen. (Also, one and a half baths.) So about a week after I started, I brought in some raspberry scones and heated up in the oven before serving. They disappeared quickly.

I don't think there's anything wrong with using baked goods to assist with job-security, do you?

Raspberry Drop Scones (adapted)

1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 cup frozen raspberries
1 Tbsp. large sugar crystals (or just use more regular sugar)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, and vanilla; set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add in the cubed butter and use a pastry blender or your hands to work the butter into the dry ingredients; the butter should resemble small peas. Add in sugar and raspberries and mix gently.

Using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, pour in the milk/egg mixture, reserving about a tablespoon for later. When the dough forms into a ball, knead the mixture a few times with the spatula/spoon and drop large spoonfuls of dough onto the prepared baking sheet.

Brush remaining milk/egg over top each scone and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of sugar.

Bake for scones for about 15 minutes or until golden. Cool on a rack.

Yields 8 - 12 scones.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Coconut Macaroons and Confections of a Master Baker

A few weeks ago, Stephanie to participate in The Edible Word for Confections of a (Closet) Master Baker by Gesine Bullock-Prado.

The rules were to "pick a dish that she mentions in the book or an ingredient that she talks about. Find a recipe or create a recipe for that dish, pastry or ingredient, and make it! (or if you like, make one of the yummy recipes she's included in the book)

Post an entry with a picture to your blog and share with us what compelled you to pick that particular dish, and any history about the recipe you created or are using to make that dish."

Bullock-Prado's book is a fun read -- though the publishing company organized some of the recipes and chapters a bit oddly and I am bothered by the author's attitude toward people who aren't thin.

Bullock-Prado is known for her french-style, almond macaroons. It's a recipe and cookie near and dear to her heart, which she writes at length about. Unfortunately, it's so near and dear that she doesn't share her recipe with her readers.

Still all this talk about macaroons had me craving *coconut* macaroons and, fortunately, Bullock-Prado provides a nice recipe for these on her blog.

They come together quickly and easily -- and the result is absolutely delicious. I didn't dip these in melted dark chocolate, but that would be a nice touch!

Coconut Macaroons (adapted)

4 egg whites
3 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 300-degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

Combine all ingredients into a metal/heatproof bowl and set the bowl on a saucepan of simmering water. Stir occasionally to prevent the bottom from burning.

When the mixture is hot and has thickened slightly (about 10 minutes), use a medium sized cookie scoop, to scoop and drop batter onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the edges are dark golden brown, rotating the pans from front to back and top to bottom half-way through the baking time.