Cinnamon Chip Scones

May 30:National Scone Day

We have baked and eaten many different types of scones—both sweet and savory—for breakfast and snack time. But this one containing cinnamon chips is one of our favorites that we almost always include them in our teatime menu when we welcome guests to our home. Although Islander does most of the baking at our house, Highlander helps out when it comes to making scones. He feels he is adding his Scottish touch to them and proudly points out his culture’s culinary heritage when we serve them, which is a good conversation starter after he says grace over the meal.

Add these sweet cinnamon chip scones to your repertoire of scone recipes for National Scone Day.

 Recipe

(Adapted from TeaTime magazine)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour (all-purpose, not self-rising)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) butter, salted and cold
  • ¾ cup cinnamon chips (we used Hershey’s brand cinnamon baking chips)
  • ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • turbinado or sanding sugar (optional)

Directions

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in the butter and blend until it resembles coarse crumbs.

In a measuring cup, mix the cream with vanilla to infuse the flavors. Pour in the whipping cream mixture and gently blend until moist, adding a tablespoon at a time if the dough is too dry. Avoid over-mixing or the scones will be tough. Knead the dough into a ball.

Place dough on a clean, lightly-floured surface. Roll out to ½-inch thick. Use round or triangular shaped cutters. Re-roll scraps. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking pan about two inches apart. Brush scones with a little cream (it adds a little shine and color to them).

Sprinkle sugar on top (optional). Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until browned and cooked through. Remove from the oven and serve warm plain or with butter or clotted cream.

Notes

  • Search our blog for other sweet and savory scones recipes.

Taffy Apple Cupcakes

taffyapplecupcakes

 May 23: National Taffy Day

At spring carnivals and fall festivals, we would sometimes snack on taffy apples when we were kids. The sticky-sweet fruit on a stick reminds us of the festive seasonal celebrations of our youth. Nowadays, it is simpler for us to eat sliced apples dipped in caramel sauce.

For National Taffy Day, we made taffy apple cupcakes and stuck a stick in the middle to mimic real taffy apples. The cupcakes contain chopped apples and the frosting is a combination of caramel (dulce de leche in Spanish), cream cheese and whipped cream.

These taffy apple cupcakes are a sweet substitute at spring carnivals and fall festivals and are most appropriate on National Taffy Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from MyRecipes.com)

For the apple cupcakes

  • 1 box spice (or carrot cake) mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tart apple, finely chopped to equal about one cup
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

Prepare the cake mix according to the directions on the box, adding the water, eggs and oil. Mix well.

taffyapplecupcakessteps1

Chop the apple and fold into the cake batter. Stir in the cinnamon.

taffyapplecupcakessteps2

Divide batter into paper cupcake liners, filling no more than 2/3 full.  Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes, testing for doneness. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Make the frosting.

taffyapplecupcakessteps3

For the caramel cream frosting

(Adapted from Pillsbury)

  • 1 14 ounce can dulce de leche (caramel)
  • 1 8 ounce block of cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
  • Green frosting (such as Wilton tube frosting) 

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the dulce de leche and cream cheese. Add the heavy whipping cream and mix until soft peaks form.

taffyapplecupcakessteps4

Spread on top of the apple cupcakes. Toast the nuts by heating them in a small skillet over medium high heat for about 2-3 minutes, being careful not to burn. Let cool.

taffyapplecupcakessteps5

Sprinkle the tops of the cupcake with nuts. Stick a popsicle/lollipop/wooden craft stick in the middle. Pipe leaves with green frosting (optional). Refrigerate to set the frosting. Bring to room temperature before serving.

taffyapplecupcakessteps6

Notes

  • Dulce de leche(caramel) can be spread directly onto the cooled apple cupcakes, instead of the caramel cream frosting.
  • Toast the chopped walnuts by heating them in a skillet on medium high. Stir often with a wooden spoon to avoid burning the nuts.
  • Search our blog for other apple recipes.

Macedonia di Frutta

(Italian Fruit Cocktail)

May 13: National Fruit Cocktail Day

We visited Islander’s brother in Rome, Italy, when he was there during one summer for his congregational council meeting. Her parents joined us from Hawaii and we decided to make this our wedding anniversary trip with the family. We met her brother’s superior general at the headquarters of the worldwide order, toured St. Peter’s Basilica/Square in Vatican City, went sightseeing all over Rome (Colosseum, Pantheon, churches, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, squares, catacombs, etc.) and ate extremely well! The food in Italy was delicious and we frequently cooled off with gelato for dessert. But sometimes we wanted to eat a “lite” treat after touring around and sweating in the summer heat. Macedonia di frutta (marinated fruit) was a great option to enjoy chilled seasonal fruit slightly sweetened with sugar and lemon juice (or, for the cocktail version, white wine).

When we returned from Rome, Islander’s parents stayed with us in our South Texas home for a few more days before flying back to Hawaii. While they were still on the mainland, we wanted to recreate the simple fruit salad we ate in Italy using produce we could find locally and seasonally and made this for our family snack time. Back on the islands, they use tropical fruit from Daddy’s garden to make Macedonia di frutta.

Make this refreshing dish on a hot and humid summer day and on National Fruit Cocktail Day.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • Seasonal favorite fruits (we used cantaloupe, honeydew melon, apple, peach, kiwi, plums, blueberries, etc.)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar to taste
  • 1 lemon, juiced (see Notes)

Directions

Peel and chop the fruit in bite sized pieces.

Place all together in a large bowl. Sprinkle sugar over the fruit. Squeeze the lemon juice over all. Mix well. Cover and chill in the refrigerator. Scoop into dessert dishes and serve cold.

Notes

  • Substitute the lemon juice for 2 tablespoons (or to taste) of white wine.
  • Grazie, caro Papà (thanks, dearest Daddy), for being the guest chef for this blog post.

Pico de Gallo

May 5: Cinco de Mayo

On “Taco Tuesdays” at Islander’s brother’s congregational community house in San Antonio, Texas, the Catholic brothers and priests would host university students at a prayer social. When they were short-staffed, we helped out the Mexican cooks (husband and wife team Sr. Gregorio y Sra. Sylvia) in the kitchen, chopping up vegetables, preparing the buffet line and setting the dessert table. Appetizers were always tortilla chips, salsa and pico de gallo.

Pico de gallo is a chunky fresh vegetable relish and condiment that is easy to make. It is a delicious side dish to serve as a snack and appetizer for Cinco de Mayo and makes any meal feel like a fiesta!

Recipe

(Inspired by Gregorio and Sylvia P.)

Ingredients

  • 2-3 Roma or plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1-2 jalapeño peppers, deseeded and deveined, finely chopped
  • handful of cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • tortilla chips for serving

Directions

Prepare the vegetables by chopping the tomatoes, onions, peppers and cilantro. Add all to a mixing bowl.

Cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice into the vegetables. Salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with chips. Enjoy with cerveza (beer)!

Notes

  • We just love how the red tomatoes, white onion and green jalapeño peppers and cilantro leaves in this pico de gallo recipe are coincidentally the colors of Mexico.
  • Search our blog for more Mexican recipes.

Rey’s Portion Bread

May 4: Star Wars Day

How about some quick gourmet for Star Wars Day? Then try these recipes for “Rey’s Portion Bread”. The “bread” heats up instantaneously, just like in the movie “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens”, and it is enough for a single serving (or two petite portions) for geeks on the go!

We have adapted two recipes for this blog post and used the magic of the microwave for the bread to cook quickly. They are as “appetizing as they look” (honestly, these mug cakes don’t taste that bad!). For Rey, the portion bread was her sustenance on the desert planet of Jakku; for film fans it could be an extra amusing snack or dessert on Earth. Either way, this is a fun food to eat on Star Wars Day. May the Fourth be with you!

Recipe I

(Adapted from StarWars.com)

Ingredients

  • ½ teaspoon vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup cake flour
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon matcha powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla

Directions

Grease a large ramekin or microwave safe mug or small bowl with the oil. In a separate bowl, combine the cake flour, sugar and matcha powder.

Add the baking powder and pinch of salt. Stir in the milk and vanilla until the ingredients are well combined.

Pour into the greased ramekin. Place in the microwave and heat on high for 40-45 seconds. Carefully remove from the microwave and cool slightly before eating.

Recipe II

(Adapted from Rosanna Pansino of “Nerdy Nummies”)

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon matcha powder
  • 5 tablespoons self rising flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablepoons coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons milk, room temperature
  • 1 egg, room temperature

Directions

In a bowl or plastic bag (the latter is for later use), combine the matcha powder, flour, salt and sugar.  In a small bowl, melt the coconut oil. Stir in the milk (cold milk will solidify the melted coconut oil).

Beat the egg into the oil-milk mixture. Add the dry to wet ingredients, stirring with a clean finger (like Rey did) or a whisk, until smooth and well blended. Portion the batter into two small ramekins (or one large mug). Microwave for 1½ minutes. Carefully remove from the microwave and cool slightly before eating.

Notes

  • In the second recipe, place the dry ingredients in a zipper top plastic bag (Rey received her rations this way) for later use. Whenever hunger hits, strike back like the Empire and prepare the portion bread by mixing the contents of the dry pack with fresh liquid ingredients.
  • If the mug cake looks a little undercooked, zap it in the microwave for another five seconds. Take it out and let the heat continue to cook as it cools slightly. Avoid overcooking as it will turn as hard as an asteroid rock.
  • Thanks to Islander’s brother for letting us borrow his Star Wars book, “The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary”, for the food photos above.
  • We have attended “Star Wars Celebration III” in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 2005. Islander and her brother attended “Star Wars Celebration” in Chicago, Illinois, in 2019. Both were FANtastic experiences!
  • Look for more Star Wars recipes on our blog by searching under the Theme Menus section. 

Boterkoek (Dutch Butter Cake)

May 1: National Butter Day

Highlander flew on KLM Airlines once for a rare international business trip. After working in Germany for a week, he had a one-day stopover in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He did not have time to find too many souvenirs in the city to bring home. But he got a free KLM miniature building as a passenger on business class as a gift. These Delft Blue collectibles contain genever (Dutch gin). Since 1952, and nearly every year since then, only business class passengers have received a miniature building on their flight. KLM commissions a new design annually. Highlander’s 2008 #74 design is worth the minimum but there are serious collectors who pay premium prices for some exclusive miniatures to complete their villages!

We can’t afford to fly business class and collect other cute mini houses. But we can easily make a mini Dutch butter cake. We halved the original recipe because it is rich (like people who can travel luxuriously on KLM), especially since we used European-style butter with a creamier and higher fat content. This type of butter makes this snack cake very flavorful. So splurge on this ingredient to make boterkoek on National Butter Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from AllRecipes.com)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened (we used European style butter)
  • ¾ cup sugar, granulated white
  • ½ tablespoon almond extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ¼ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds

Directions

In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugar. Stir in the almond extract. Beat in the egg. Set asude, In another bowl, combine the flour with baking powder.

Gradually blend this into the butter mixture until smooth. The batter will be thick. Grease a 6-inch round cake pan. Press the batter into the pan. Sprinkle the sliced almonds over the top. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, testing the cake with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from the oven and let cool. Remove from the pan. Slice and serve.

Notes

  • Dutch butter cake is similar to the Swedish Visiting Cake and Spanish Ignacio almond cake recipes.
  • Serve boterkoek with tea and coffee.
  • Learn more about European butter vs. American butter from thekitchn.com website.
  • Search our blog for other Dutch recipes.

Meat Jun

(Korean Meat Pancakes)

May: National Beef Month

Our favorite Korean restaurant back in Hawaii is Yummy Korean BBQ.  It is informal, fast and relatively cheap for huge portions—and it lives up to its name! Islander and her ohana (family) order Korean plate lunches at the food court (Navy Exchange Pearl Harbor, Don Quijote/Daiei Waipahu, Ala Moana and Pearlridge centers) where Yummy Korean BBQ is located. As creatures of habit, Islander always gets kalbi, Highander orders bulgogi, Mommy and Daddy share a combo plate with barbecue beef and chicken and Islander’s brother gets meat jun.

Meat jun in Hawaii is basically soegogi-jeon in Korean. The pancakes are thinly sliced marinated pieces of meat, usually beef, dipped in flour and eggs and fried in a pan. It is a very flavorful food and we sometimes cook this for Islander’s brother when he visits us. It reminds us of the local ethnic cuisine from home as well as our good times together as ohana.

Make yummy memories—and meat jun—for the family during National Beef Month!

Recipe

(Adapted from Foodland)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of beef ribeye or top sirloin, sliced thinly across the grain
  • ¾ cup soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 8 eggs, beaten
  • flour
  • oil for frying

Directions

Slice the beef across the grain. With a meat mallet, pound it down to 1/8-inch thin. In a bowl, pour the soy sauce.

Mix in the minced garlic. Stir in the sugar and water. Add the thin slices of meat.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs. In a flat pan, add the flour. Take a slice of meat and let the marinade drip back into its bowl. Dredge it on both sides with flour, shaking off excess. Coat in egg mixture. Fry in oil in a skillet, browning both sides. Drain on paper towel. Slice and serve hot with dipping sauce (see Notes) and steamed rice.

Notes

  • Dipping sauce is optional. To make it, combine 1/3 cup soy sauce, 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon sesame oil and a pinch of red or black pepper in a measuring cup. Mix and dish out on dipping saucers.
  • Search our blog for other beef recipes.