Teacher treats … Chocolate Chip Scones and Banana Nut Bread

by heikes3

As mentioned before, the end of the school year always brings me even closer to my oven. It is the time to thank the teachers for all their hard work and another great year for our girls. A sure winner is the banana nut bread that regularly was mentioned in the teacher’s thank you notes.

This year, I thought it would be a great idea to bake it with the girls. I had it all planned out, even the cute little origami baskets they would be baking in and certainly a great banana nut bread recipe.

These  baskets, I thought, would make the presentation just perfect. We got out 8×10″ white sheets of paper and cut out the same size of baking paper and folded. Very cute, indeed.

I put them on a baking sheet, not to close to one another so they would have enough room to bake separately. I was a bit worried about the sides being a bit wobbly, you know the part where the handle is supposed to be. Hm, as the batter baked and rose, it pushed just as much on the sides. Well, what happens if there isn’t ample resistance? The banana breads ended up looking as wide as they were long. I should have really taken a picture, but I was so displeased with myself, I did not have enough humor left. I wanted to hand the teachers something scrumptious the next morning.

I decided to make our success-proven Chocolate Chip Scones, cut up the banana bread and present those to the teachers with a cute little sign, wrapped in cellophane paper finished with a bright, cheery ribbon.

Chocolate Chip Scones

adapted from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups All-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
6 tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup cream–half and half, light, heavy, or whipping
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups to 2 cups chocolate chips
coarse white sparkling sugar or demerara sugar, for topping

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) a baking sheet.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder till thoroughly combined. Cut butter into small pieces and work it into flour until the mixture is unevenly crumbly.

Whisk together the cream , eggs, and vanilla. Set aside 2 tablespoons, and add the rest to the dry ingredients, along with the chocolate chips. Mix to form a moist dough.

Transfer the sticky dough to a heavily floured rolling mat or other work surface. Gently pat it into an 8″ square. Brush the dough with the reserved egg/cream mixture, and sprinkle heavily with coarse sugar.

Cut dough into squares, then into 4 triangles each. For miniature scones, cut the triangles again. Space the scones evenly on the prepared pan.

Bake the scones for 20 minutes (13 minutes for miniature size), until they’re golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and serve warm. If not serving immediately or within a couple of hours, store in an airtight container. To reheat, wrap loosely in aluminum foil, and bake in a preheated 350°F oven for about 10 minutes. Yield: 16 to 32 scones depending on size.

Banana Nut Bread

adapted from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
2/3 cup brown sugar, light or dark, firmly packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium or 2 large bananas)
3 tablespoons apricot jam or orange marmalade, optional but tasty
1/4 cup honey
2 large eggs
2 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

1) Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.

2) In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, beating till smooth.

3) Add the mashed bananas, jam, honey, and eggs, again beating until smooth.

4) Add the flour, then the walnuts, stirring just until smooth.

5) Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top. Let it rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.

6) Bake the bread for 45 minutes, then gently lay a piece of aluminum foil across the top, to prevent over-browning.

7) Bake for an additional 25 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven; a long toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center should come out clean, with at most a few wet crumbs clinging to it. The tester shouldn’t show any sign of uncooked batter. If it does, bake the bread an additional 5 minutes, or until it tests done.

8) Allow the bread to cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Remove it from the pan, and cool it completely on a rack.

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