Thursday, February 08, 2007

Bad Photos, Good Eats


I usually bake at night after dinner and then take my photos in the morning before work. I wish I had more time to compose my shots, but I'm a habitual "snooze-buttoner" and have to snap my photos as quickly as possible, wrap up the baked goods and rush out the door. But even if I did have the time, I don't know if I could style the food properly. I am a much better baker and cook than I am a photographer or food stylist.

After uploading my photos from the CF card to my hard drive, I realized that, at a glance, I couldn't distinguish the photo of the cookie from the photo of the scone. Sadly my photos don't adequately convey how yummy the scones and cookies were.

buttermilk scone cherry almond

Buttermilk Scones w/ Dried Cherries & Almonds
16 scones
(adapted from "The Baker's Dozen Cookbook")

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
6 ounces (12 tbsp/ 1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
2/3 cup dried cherries, chopped coarsely
1/3 cup almonds, chopped coarsely
2 tbsp sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat oven to 425F.

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or your fingertips until the mixture resembles small peas.

Stir the buttermilk, vanilla and almond extracts together and add all at once to the mixture. Stir with a fork until the dough becomes sticky and shaggy. Stir in cherries and almonds.

Turn your dough out onto a generously floured work surface. Knead the about 10 times. Divide the dough in half and pat each half into an 8-inch circle about 1/2-inch thick. Sprinkle each circle with 1 tbsp sugar (if using) and press the sugar gently into the surface of the dough. Using a sharp knife cut each circle into 8 wedges. Repeat with other half. (Or you can just divide the dough into 16 round patties like I did.)

Bake the scones until light brown and slightly puffy, about 15 to 18 minutes. Cool about 5-10 minutes before serving.

banana oatmeal choc cashew

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
(from Tish Boyle's "The Good Cookie")

1 3/4 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened at room temp.
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 ounces (1 cup) chocolate, chopped
1 medium-sized ripe but firm banana, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 375F. Line your cookie sheets with parchment (or lightly grease them).

Combine oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside dry ingredients.

Using a stand mixer at medium speed, cream butter and both sugars until combined, about 1 minute. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until blended. At low speed, add the dry ingredients.

Remove bowl from mixer and using a wooden spoon stir in the chocolate, banana, and nuts (it's okay if the banana gets a bit mashed).

Drop tablespoonfuls of dough onto your prepared sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. Flatten the dough slightly. Bake until the cookies are golden brown on the bottom, about 11 to 13 minutes.


gilly said...

Hi Mary! Yum, I think your photos are still really good! The scones look wonderful - can't go wrong with dried cherries and almonds. And I've yet to bake anything remotely mediocre from 'The Good Cookie' - it's probably my favourite cookie book.

Helene said...

Your photos are so yummy!
I plan on making the Nutella brownies this weekend, they look so good!
It's funny but I just blogged about scones too...great minds think alike!

Anali said...

Your photos are wonderful! And the scones and cookies both look delicious. I'm convincing myself that the banana and oatmeal make these cookies a healthy breakfast! I'll be making these soon...

Ivonne said...

Hi Mary,

I often follow the same routine you do. Bake at night and take pics in the morning. I think these look great!

Tanna said...

I'm such a push over for scones and love the buttermilk, almonds and dried cherries. Haven't seen the Baker's Dozen Cookbook...another for the list!
I think me needs scones with my coffee this AM.

Patricia Scarpin said...

I'll have to disagree with you, Mary: your photos are great and they always make my mouth water!

These cookies are going to my list of recipes to be made during Carnival - I'll have 5 days to cook!! :)

Maria said...

The photos look great! Tish's book is my favorite, but I haven't tried this recipe I know what to bake this weekend! Thanks!

peabody said...

Oh I think I will make your cookies the next time I have banana overload.

Veron said...

Mary, I don't know what is wrong with your photos. They look perfect to me...if they look any better I definitely would have drooled all over my keyboard...though I'm close to that right now.

Chris said...

You're photos look great, as do the recipes. But, I understand thinking pictures don't do the real food justice....I often think my pics are blurry-central! Drinks anyone? ha!ha!

noƩmie said...

i really think that your photos are great and the scones look wonderful! What is sure is that sometime there is a difference between what we want a photo to look like (shape, color etc...) and what it really photograph, it just happens too many times to me! but if what I cook is great, I'm good with the way, i don't have any camera now since my bag was stolen during holidays (snif).

Mary said...

Gilly - Cherries with almonds are a wonderful combo. The Good Cookie should be renamed The Great Cookie.

Helene - When I brought the Nutella brownies to work, people thought they were the best thing I ever made.

Anali - Oatmeal and bananas are definitely a healthy breakfast. Even in cookie form!

Ivonne - The picture taking is tough especially on those dark winter mornings.

Tanna - There are too many great cookbooks out there. My list runneth over too.

Patricia - Carnival sounds like it's going to be a blast!

Maria - So many great recipes in Tish's book.

Peabody - Lately we've been pretty good at eating all the bananas before we reach banana overload.

Veron - Sorry about making you drool. Maybe we need keyboard shields.

Chris - Yes, there's nothing like the real thing.

Noemie - So sorry to hear about your bag! Virtual hug.