Ever notice that when you make plans or have an expectation that sometimes things just don't turn out the way you saw it in your vision? Well, that happened to me on Wednesday. After the dog walk and before my swim, I stopped at Safeway and bought the pure and pricey all-natural maple syrup. I was on a mission to make a perfect maple nut cake to celebrate autumn. The glitch is, my cake flopped. Blame it on the altitude or cake gods. Or maybe it was a sign for me to change direction.
So, I went to my blog and flipped through past months of posts and stopped in December 2009. It was before a snow flurry that I made cranberry scones. Ironically, we're expecting some snow in the upcoming days. It was a cue. Since I had already made the maple frosting (it works), the scones were meant to be. What's more, I had fresh strawberries in the fridge (a budget-friendly score this week), and walnuts that have the word November on them. And this going with the flow baking ordeal gave me a blast from the past.
Back in April when I went on the quest for a new cat, I was looking for a special feline that would cuddle up with me at work and sleep. But my adopted fantasy kitty (much like my maple nut cake) didn't work out the way I had planned. Months ago, late at night when the Brittany duo sleeping, Zen (a playful and affectionate black and white Siamese mix with dog-like traits) would not let sleeping dogs lie. He fell victim to the midnight crazies. The cat got his second wind and began to swipe and pounce on the dogs as if to say, "Hey, what's up boys. Wanna play?" Thus, kitty was escorted into my study with his cat tree, fave blanket, mouse toys, stuffed cats and a sweet "Good night."
But about two months ago, one late fall night I found Zen comfy underneath the comforters on my bed. He was playing possum, pretending like he was asleep. But sleep is exactly what he did throughout the night. So, one week before Thanksgiving, I am counting my blessings. Not only did I get to enjoy fresh scones for breakfast, I get to sleep soundly with that sweet cat of mine.
Fruit-Nut Scones with Maple Frosting
21⁄2 - 3 cups 100 percent natural whole wheat flour
1⁄2 cup sugar (granulated)
1⁄4 cup light brown sugar1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
A dash of Mediterranean Sea Salt
1⁄4 cup butter (unsalted)
1 cup low fat, all-natural vanilla yogurt
3⁄4 cup buttermilk
1 brown egg
1 tablespoon allspice
1 tablespoon fresh orange rind
1-11⁄2 cup fresh strawberries, chopped
1 cup walnuts, chopped
Preheat oven to 375 to 400 degrees. In a bowl mix flour, sugars, baking powder, soda, and salt. Add chunks of butter (sliced in small squares). In another bowl combine yogurt, milk, and egg and stir till a dough-like mixture forms. Add spice and rind. (I used my hands.) Fold in berries, nuts, and orange rind. Drop large spoonfuls onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake till brown and crusty, about 12 to 14 minutes. Frost when cool. Slice and serve with cream cheese or plain. Makes 12.
1⁄4 cup organic 2 percent low-fat milk
1⁄4 cup unsalted butter, soft
2-21⁄2 cups confectioners' sugar (or enough for preferred consistency)
1⁄2 cup pure maple syrup (and/or 1⁄2 teaspoon maple extract)
A teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Chopped walnuts or pecans (enough for topping)
In a bowl mix milk, butter and sugar. Add syrup and flavorings. Frost tops of scones. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts or pecans.
These dropped scones (I almost made the more challenging shapes including circles and triangles that you see at Starbucks) turned out unlike the maple cake from another planet. The freshness of strawberries in autumn paired with the nuts is sweet with maple frosting. To make this breakfast pre-holiday special, I enjoyed a gift: a cup of hot, fresh brewed Vermont Maple Pecan flavored coffee with a splash of organic milk. It was awesome on a chilly November morning inside a warm cabin and a savvy cat that gets it.
Motto: If your fantasy doesn't work out, look for signs of a Plan B. Another opportunity will present itself when the timing is right and it will be a sweet surprise.
- Cal Orey is an accomplished author and journalist. Her books include The Healing Powers series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate and Honey) published by Kensington.-Her website is www.calorey.com.