It started out as a scone recipe…it ended up as a scuffin

Someone got a little over-zealous with scrubbing old photos from the camera.  It wasn’t until after I hit delete all that I realized I hadn’t downloaded the photographic evidence of my most recent adventures with scones.

So, you get a single photo pulled from my phone.

The last time I played with scones we were attempting to make Jane Austin proud.  Comparing the recipe I used here and the recipe I used for this I found the two very similar…and then felt a little embarrassed for having forgotten the original.

Scones are meant to be dry and crumbly; this is what makes them such a fantastic companion to coffee, tea or, dare I say, wine.  Adding freeze-dried blueberries and fresh fruit kind of defeats the crumbly purpose.  But, it does create something new and quite delicious–sort of like a muffin with more integrity.

You know, a baked good with higher values and morals.

Three-way Blueberry Scuffin

base recipe courtesy of the New School of Cooking


  • 2 C all purpose flour
  • 2 TBS ground freeze-dried blueberries
  • 1/4 C granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 TBS citrus zest (orange or lemon)
  • 4 ounces cold unsalted butter cut into cubes
  • 1/3 C dried blueberries
  • 1/2 C fresh blueberries


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a half-sheet baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients listed through salt.
  3. Cut in butter.  Try doing this with your fingers (a food processor will do in a pinch).  Add the cold butter to the dry ingredients.  Working quickly and with the tips of your fingers work the butter into the dry ingredients with a snapping motion.  Shake the bowl every few moments to bring the bigger chunks up from the bottom.  Work until butter is completely coated and in pea-sized chunks.
  4. Carefully add dried and fresh berries.
  5. Add cream and fold with a wooden spoon until dough holds together in small, thick clumps.
  6. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface and shape into a 1″ think disk by gently pressing the dough into shape.
  7. Cut into 8 wedges.
  8. Bake 14-16 minutes or until firm to the touch and golden brown.





California Blondies

My secret career fantasy is to sell bar cookies on the local farmers market circuit.  I can just see myself hawking misanthropic brownies and bella bars early Friday mornings as the sun slowly burns off the fog at the Venice Farmer’s Market.  Then on Saturdays I’d move to Santa Monica or Playa Vista.  Sunday would definitely be Brentwood.  There’d be no store front, at least in the beginning.  But, I’d do a brisk online business.

I even have a name for the little operation (but I’m not going to tell).

And while this truly is a fantasy (someone has to pay the homeowners insurance and keep the Kitchen Gods deep in kibble), I’ve always got my eye out for new bar and square recipes.  In the name of research of course.

This one is inspired by the butterscotch blondie recipe in the newly published Lemonade Cookbook.  Lemonade is an addictive southern California boutique chain that pairs seasonal ingredients with old-school cafeteria-style service.  I’m embarrassed to admit there is a location mere yards from my office at USC but the anxiety of selecting what I wanted on the fly kept me from ever trying it while I worked there.  Stupid for my tastebuds.  Probably pretty smart for my wallet.

In addition to the dozen or so creatively prepared salads–think watermelon radish and ahi or Israeli couscous and truffle oil–they also do decadent sandwiches and have a whole station of slow-cooked delicacies displayed in a rainbow of Le Creuset dutch ovens.  Your tray-push ends in a display of house-baked treats and, of course, half a dozen varieties of lemonade.   Don’t get me started on the cucumber mint.   Even if you don’t live in L.A., Lemonade has a presence in the LAX Delta Terminal.

I’ve never actually tried Lemonade’s butterscotch blondie in-store.  But, they had me at coconut on the ingredient list.

Like many kitchen-sink style recipes, this one begs for variation.  Here, I swapped the pecans for almonds and the golden raisins for actual butterscotch chips.  I’m also working on a holiday version that could make an appearance as a featured player in the Misanthropic Bake-a-palooza.

Butterscotch Blondies

from The Lemonade Cookbook


  • 2 C all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 C (1 1/2 sticks, 12 TBS) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 C dark (I used golden) brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 1 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temp.
  • 1/2 C white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 C pecans toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 C golden raisins
  • 1/2 C shredded sweetened coconut, toasted
  • *Obviously I think the last four ingredients are open to interpretation.  In this iteration I used butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips, toasted coconut and toasted almond slivers.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9X13 inch pan with parchment and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.
  3. In a small heavy-bottomed sauce pan add the butter and swirl it around over medium heat until is melts and foams.  Continue to cook it gently until it is a brown-amber color and smells nutty (about 5 minutes).
  4. Add the brown and granulated sugars.  Stir to combine fully.  Remove from heat and let cool for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Add butter mixture to a large bowl, beat in eggs (you don’t need a standing mixer for this).
  6. Fold in flour mixture until just incorporated.
  7. Fold in remaining ingredients.  Pour batter into prepared pan smoothing the top with a spatula.
  8. Bake until the top is lightly brown and firm, 25-30 minutes.  Cool completely in the pan on a rack.  Cut into 2-inch bars.

Dog Days

I know what you are thinking.  You think I’ve been slacking off all summer, what with the post here, another there and multiple weeks in between.

Actually, the opposite is true.

The last couple of summers I found myself teaching a pretty intense graduate course.  As much fun as it was (really, it was), come September I found myself exhausted and not really ready to start the academic year.

So this year I said no to teaching and instead became the student.

Of baked goods.  I just finished up a phenomenal 10 week baking course through the New School of Cooking in Culver City, CA.  Every Monday night the class convened for lecture and hands-on practice. The instructor, Chef May Hennemann was fantastic: incredibly accomplished, knowledgable and patient.   I’m not exaggerating when I say I think I smiled the entire 40 hours.  We covered everything from quick breads to laminates and I feel like my technical skills have greatly improved.

As an adult so many things I do are driven by need or purpose–means to an ends.  It was an incredible luxury to do something with the sole aim of enjoyment.

In fact, I enjoyed myself so much that I working on negotiating additional coursework.

But here is the rub.  Each weekend following the Monday night class I would practice the previous week’s lessons.  This hasn’t left me with much time or motivation for blog posts.

But, I do have lots of stuff to share.  Some is directly from the class but most of it derivative from the concepts I’ve learned and played with on my practice days.

I many even have to double up some weeks.


We didn’t actually make ice cream in class.  But, the base of ice cream is very similar to creme anglaise, custard and pastry cream.  Like I said, derivative.  My very favorite chocolate cake includes a healthy dose of stout beer in the ingredient list.  So, when a friend brought us a Tabasco sauce meant for serving over ice cream I immediately thought of this combination.  It’s a good one!

Stout and Bittersweet Chocolate Ice Cream

adapted ever so slightly from David Lebovitz

makes about one quart


  • 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 C whole milk
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 C heavy cream
  • 3/4 C stout beer (Guinness or another favorite)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Put the chocolate pieces in a large bowl and set a mesh strainer over the top.
  2. Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks (you don’t want to scramble your eggs), whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
  4. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula.
  5. Pour the custard through the strainer over the milk chocolate, then stir until the chocolate is melted.
  6. Once the mixture is smooth, whisk in the cream, then the Guinness and vanilla. Stir until cool over an ice bath.
  7. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.