Because let’s face it, we all need a respite from CNN, daily press conferences, and ever-growing statistics on this pandemic that’s remade the world as we knew it.
What we need is pancakes. Because pancakes have had the uncanny power to put a smile on our faces as far back as, well, the invention of pancakes. When you start the day with pancakes, you know it’s going to be a good day. And we can all surely use more of those kind of days right now.
Nothing can keep me from baking a batch of these scones.
I can be swamped with work…
I can be sleep-deprived…
It can be 100 degrees that day…
But when I feel the urge to bake, I can’t be stopped.
What can I say? It’s my therapy. It’s my relaxation. It’s my treat to myself and others.
So when a review copy of the new “Baked Occasions” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang) landed in my mail, I immediately dropped everything else and started leafing through it.
This is the fourth cookbook by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, the owners of the popular Brooklyn baker, Baked. It includes 75 recipes perfect for holidays, special events and just any day that is an occasion of any sort. Find recipes from “Toffee Coffee Cake Surprise” to “Easter Coconut Sheet Cake” to “Peppermint Chocolate Meringues.”
“Chinese Five-Spice Sesame Scones” caught my eye from the start because I love the intoxicating fragrance of five-spice in stir-fries.
A breakfast pastry adorned with almonds that’s not too sweet. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)
It’s rare that I allow myself a pastry for breakfast during the week.
But come Sunday, I am sure ready to indulge in one.
“Sweet Almond Buns” are just the perfect size, too. Not Super-Size me over-the-top. But just a couple bite-fulls of something sweet, tender and with a haunting hint of cardamom.
The recipe is from “Williams-Sonoma Breakfast Comforts” (Weldon Owen) by veteran cookbook writer Rick Rodgers. The book, which I received a review copy of when it came out in 2010, is full of inspired recipes for the most important meal of the day. There’s everything from “Golden Cornmeal Waffles with Fried Chicken” to “Raspberry Jam Doughnuts” to “BBQ Shrimp and Grits.”
These little buns are full of almonds, one of my favorite nuts. They get stirred into the yeast-fortified dough, and mixed with sugar to sprinkle on top of the buns just before baking.
For those who don’t like their breakfast treats cloying, these are perfect as they are just sweet enough.
An almond-packed prize. (Photo courtesy of the Almond Board of California)
CONTEST: One Food Gal reader will win a most almond-packed prize from the Almond Board of California. It includes 1 pound of whole natural almonds, one jar of almond butter, 1 pound of sliced almonds, an insulated travel pouch for breakfast on the go, and a $20 VISA gift card to help you purchase everything else you need for a hearty breakfast.
Entries, limited to those in the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight PST Sept. 21. The winner will be announced Sept. 23.