Orange-glazed, Chocolate Chip Scones

Here is a drool-worthy recipe that Joel makes, inspired by the 1997 edition of The Joy of Cooking with just a very few personal touches (to up the flavors). It’s perfect for tea time, breakfast, or . . .really anytime you want a scrumptious dessert!

Orange-glazed, Chocolate Chip Scones

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Stir together thoroughly (by hand) in a mixing bowl:

2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar (or just 1/3 cup if you plan to eat it with jam or don’t want it very sweet)

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

Next, add:

6 tablespoons of cold butter, cut into chunks

Blend with a pastry blender (or a big fork) until the chunks are no more than pea-sized, but take care not to let the butter melt. It needs to be a little chunky still.

Finally, add 1 cup chocolate chips and stir until evenly mixed throughout

In a separate bowl, stir together:

1 large egg

½ cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon grated zest from an orange

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and stir just enough to moisten.

Gather into a bowl and knead gently against the sides of the bowl until most all of the flour has been incorporated into the ball and the bowl is fairly clean. (This shouldn’t take more than 5-6 times; don’t overwork!) Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and pat into an 8” round (which should be about ¾ inches thick).

Cut into 8 wedges (or up to 12 small ones, depending on how many people you want to serve). Bigger ones are moister, and they’re so good even children can usually happily eat a large one. Place at least a half an inch apart on a cookie sheet.

Brush the tops with cream (or milk).

Bake in the preheated over for 12-15 minutes, until starting to turn a golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool down to warm.

While still warm, frost with a glaze made from:

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon softened butter

2 tablespoons orange zest plus enough juice to make a thick frosting. (If you make it too thin, it will all drip off. The cooler the scones, the thinner you can make the frosting.)

Serve warm. They really don’t need butter, clotted cream (whipped cream), or jam, but suit yourself!

Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart:
so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel” (Proverbs 27:9).

Buttery Caramel Pecan Rolls

Winter time is a great time to get together for brunch and prayer, and if you’re going to splurge a little, then it’s also a great time to make pecan rolls!

Buttery Caramel Pecan Rolls
(Makes 12 rolls)

I suspect culinary die hards would make their dough from scratch, and you can do so if you want to, but I’m very pragmatic, and I’ve found that frozen bread dough works just fine and saves me a couple of hours, so I start by:

#1. Defrost 1 pound of frozen bread dough#2. Cover bottom of 9X13″ baking dish with a mixture of:
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 oz. pecan halves#3. Roll out bread dough to an approximately 6X15″ rectangle
Butter liberally with 1/3 stick of softened butter (don’t go completely to the edges, or it’s hard to make the roll stick together tightly later)
Sprinkle 1/2 cup brown sugar on top
Sprinkle liberally with ground cinnamon (about 1 teaspoon)#4. Crush 6 oz pecans with a rolling pin (while they’re still in their bag),  then spread them lightly over the bread dough.  Use the remaining crushed pecans to fill in any open spaces in the bottom of the baking pan. #5. Roll the dough up, starting with the long, 15″ edge.  You should end up with a roll about 15″ long and a couple of inches deep. Seal edges together by pinching them closed. (Don’t worry if they don’t seal tightly, and if you cut with the seam side down, they shouldn’t come apart much.) Slice with a sharp knife into twelve equal pieces. I’ve found it’s easiest to slice it once in the middle, and then into quarters,  and then each of the quarters into three smaller pieces. #6. Separate each pecan roll and place them evenly in the bottom of the pan. Cover the pan with saran wrap and refrigerate overnight (if you want).  You can also set them on the counter to rise for several hours if you want to bake them that evening.  I usually serve them for breakfast, so I keep them in the refrigerator over night and then in the morning, I take them out of the refrigerator and let them rise for several hours before baking. (If you don’t have “several hours,” you can warm them in an over set to “warm” or 150°F, but keep the plastic wrap on and be very careful, because they can start to bake or dry out, and it sometimes makes the plastic wrap stick so it’s hard to get off before baking. If the wrap sticks, pull super slowly, using your fingers to protect the rolls if need be, or you might end up with the rolls deflating. 😦 )#7. Preheat the oven to 350°F. If the rolls haven’t risen enough on their own (such as on a cold winter morning), you can also encourage them along by setting the pan (still covered, so they don’t dry out) on the top of your oven if it is warm. #8. When the rolls are starting to touch each other, take off the saran wrap and pop them into the oven preheated to 350°F. and bake them for approximately 30 minutes or until golden brown. If you catch them when they’re no longer doughy but just starting to brown, I’ve found that they last longer without drying out. #9. Remove them from the oven and immediately overturn the pan onto a buttered cookie sheet  so the pecan rolls end up upside-down with the pecans and caramel on top. Scoop out any remaining caramel and nuts with a spatula and redistribute it over the top of the pecan rolls.  They are best served fresh out of the oven, although they are good all day. If you’ve succeeded in baking them through but only lightly, and you keep the unused rolls covered, they can be reheated and still taste fresh for a couple of days.

Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart:
so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel
” (Proverbs 27:9).

Chocolatey-Chippy, Sure-to-Get-Eaten Banana Bread

Probably everybody makes banana bread when you’ve got some extra ripe bananas that need using up, but my son Joel’s turns out so well that I asked if I could share his recipe. “But Mom!” he protested, “I just use your recipe, except I use half the sugar and add a package of chocolate chips.” Okay! We can do that. Here it is:

Chocolatey-Chippy Banana Bread

Cream together:
1 stick of softened butter
1/2 cup sugar

Then add:
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-4 bananas (whatever you have left over; the more bananas, the longer you’ll need to bake it)

Beat until smooth, then add:
1   12-oz. package chocolate chips for sure, and if you want
1 cup walnuts or pecans (totally optional)

Pour into a loaf pan and bake at 350°F. for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown on top and somewhat firm to the touch (starting to form a crust). We usually make banana bread for dinner (since it takes so long to bake) but serve the rest with breakfast the following morning. You can also make this recipe into muffins or glaze the tops with cream cheese frosting to make them into cupcakes, but then they’re undeniably a dessert rather than any semblance of a “bread” or morning “pastry!”  🙂

Oil and perfume make the heart glad,
and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel
” (Proverbs 27:9).

Hearty Three-Bean Chili for Chilly Days

Autumn is the perfect time for a steaming bowl of chili with corn bread…and maybe a salad and apple juice to complement. There are lots of recipes out there for chili, but I’ve developed a brew that’s a hit around our home plates, so if you haven’t settled on a favorite recipe, consider trying this one:

Chilly Day Three-Bean Chili
(Serves about 6)

Add together in a large sauce pan:
1 pound hamburger
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pepper (orange, green, red, or yellow)
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon Montreal Steak Seasoning (or your favorite)
1 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and pepper to tasteCook over high to medium heat until the meat is completely cooked and the vegetables are tender, stirring often to keep anything from buring. Then add:
3 cans of chili beans in chili sauce ( I like having variety in color and taste, so I use three different types of beans, even garbanzo at times, but whatever you like will work fine)
1/2 cup ketchup
1 can of diced tomatoes

1/2 cup water (I use a little water to rinse out the bottom of the cans to get the last bits of sauce, which amounts to about half a can altogether)Simmer everything for at least a half an hour, continuing to stir it every few minutes to make sure nothing sticks and burns on the bottom. The flavor continues to improve with time, so you can turn off the heat, keep it covered, and just rewarm it when you’re ready to eat. This also makes chili a great dish to take to take to a friend, serve at an open house or potluck, or prepare when you’re not sure when your family will come home for supper. (Um hum. My husband was stuck in a meeting for an extra hour when I made this, but it didn’t hurt a thing!)     🙂

Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel” (Proverbs 27:9…and perhaps by hearty soup as well?!)

Dr. John Peteet: Modeling the Therapeutic Role

Alan with John Peteet, Susan,Last year (July 11, 2014) I wrote about being dazzled by Dr. Harold Koenig’s presentation on the correlation between religion and mental health at Pine Rest’s William Van Eerden Lecture series, but yesterday I was blown away by experiencing first hand the painful, productive process of observing a world-class psychiatrist modeling a clinician’s role in therapy. Dr. John Peteet The topic was “Spirituality and Mental Health: What is the Clinician’s Role?” But, Dr. Peteet didn’t give us the answer…or even a string of pearls that he’s discovered throughout his long and illustrious career as a psychiatrist (and associate professor at Harvard Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry). Discussion during lectureInstead, he modeled for us what he wanted us to learn: How to help the client (that was us yesterday) think through the issues, share together (our own rather huge psychotherapy group), grapple with our insufficiency as all-knowing therapists, find the ability to be comfortable with silence, discover what the questions are for which we need to seek answers, and feel humbled. It would have been much more intellectually satisfying to have come away with pages of notes full of “answers,” but it was profoundly helpful to experience the reality that trying to develop a therapeutic relationship isn’t about knowing answers, it’s about having enough insight to humbly ask helpful questions and then waiting…quietly…to let the person find the right solution for himself. Amen. Sounds simple, but it feels super hard. My prayer is that I learn a little bit about how to do this and become a better friend! Alan introducing Dr. Peteet(By the way, Pine Rest has been offering a free seminar concerning the relationship between mental health and spirituality every summer, and if you’re interested, I’m sure you could get details about the “William Van Eerden Lecture Series” on the Pine Rest website. However, I have to warn you that they cap the audience at 250, and it’s first come, first served, so you’d probably have to make a reservation as soon as the invitation is published. I signed up the first day, and I know there was a waiting list before long!)

Alan and Ted“Ointment and perfume delight the heart, and the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel” (Proverbs 27:9).