Casual Confections now has a shop on Threadless! There are four designs currently available with more on the way. And you know food and baking puns are going to make an appearance!
It’s strawberry season in my neck of the woods and someone asked when a fresh strawberry recipe would be up. So here we are! Strawberry scones! Few ingredients, easy to put together, and something that can wow others. Bake along with me using the video or grab the recipe and give it a go. How did yours turn out? Let me know in the comments!
Strawberry Scones – Two Peas and Their Pod
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder (note that this is baking powder, not baking soda)
1/2 tsp salt (optional, I left this out because I typically leave salt out of my bakes)
6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 cup heavy cream plus 1 Tbsp for brushing the scones
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
2 Tbsp turbinado sugar (I used granulated sugar)
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar)
2 Tbsp milk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
(note, my version of the recipe will have steps in a slightly different order than they are on the Two Peas site)
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Using a pastry blender or your hands, quickly cut the cold butter into the flour mixture. Mix until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few large butter lumps.
In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup heavy cream and vanilla extract. Pour the liquid ingredients over the flour mixture and stir with a spatula until dough begins to form. Don’t over mix. Gently fold in strawberries.
Transfer dough to a floured countertop and gently push the dough together with your hands, just until it forms a ball. Form the dough into a 1 inch circle by patting the dough and gently pressing the dough. Don’t overwork the dough. You want to work quickly so the butter doesn’t get too warm. Use a sharp knife to cut the scones into eight triangles.
Place the scones on a prepared baking sheet (lined with parchment paper or an oven-safe non-slip mat) and put in the freezer for 15-20 mins. This will prevent the scones from spreading while baking.
Near the end of the freezer time, preheat the oven to 400°F.
Remove the scones from the freezer. Use a pastry brush to brush the tops of the scones with the additional heavy cream. Sprinkle the scones with turbinado (or granulated) sugar. Bake for 18-23 mins or until the scones are golden brown on the bottom and around the edges. Let the scones cool on the baking sheet for 5 mins and then transfer to a wire cooling rack.
While the scones are cooling, make the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk the confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla together until smooth. Drizzle glaze generously over the cooled scones.
This is one of my most popular offerings. Even those who aren’t fans of butterscotch or don’t typically enjoy fudge have found themselves happily nibbling away at one of these frothy-looking squares. The recipe has been on this site since 2018, but that doesn’t mean you’ve given it a go yet. Making fudge can be quite unnerving if you’re not used to making candy. The base gets quite hot and can easily burn you, you need to hit the right temperature in the softball stage range to get the consistency you want, you have to mix your ingredients so they’re smooth before they set, and then there’s the clean up which looks intimidating (just soak everything in hot water with a drop of dish soap).
If you’ve been holding off on trying this recipe for want of a push, here’s a slight nudge. Watch me cook up a batch and then bake along with me on your second watch! Come back and tell me how it went. How did the batch turn out? Did you end with more confidence than when you started? Are you going to make another batch now that you got all the nerves out in the first batch? What did you end up doing with all of that fudge?! (Pssst, fudge freezes really well, lasts a long time, and takes no time to thaw on a countertop.)
One thing to note: If you are gluten free, find butterscotch chips that are not Nestle. Nestle uses barley protein as part of their flavoring/coloring. This is not labeled on all of the bags. If you’re not concerned with gluten, then grab a bag and go to town.
Ready? Let’s do this!
Are you on TikTok? I am finally getting on board! Follow CasualConfections for fun geeky videos, baking clips, and more. Hit me up for stitches and duets!
The latest video on the Casual Confections YouTube channel walks you through cutting a recipe in half. We work through a box of cake mix and a cookie recipe.
Amazon Affiliate Links:
Duncan Hines Devils Food Cake: https://amzn.to/3kv9dPV
Duncan Hines White Cake: https://amzn.to/3bI8sip
Nestle chocolate chips: https://amzn.to/2ZZvegd
Check out the latest video on the Casual Confections YouTube channel.
Do your own experiment! Try it with the Tollhouse recipe or grab a recipe off this blog! Let me know what you did and how it turned out! Comment here or shoot me an email.
Pair this write up with the video to run your own experiments!
NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Recipe
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups (12-ounce package) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
- 1 cup chopped nuts
Notes: I left out the salt (personal choice) and nuts (better visuals for the trials I selected) for my experiments.
- Determine what trials you’re going to run. For example, if you’re going to test how different amounts of flour change your cookies, then you won’t want to add the full amount of flour right away. Planning ahead will help you determine how you will modify the recipe.
- I had a control and three changes: baking powder instead of baking soda, no baking soda or baking powder, and too much sugar.
- Prepare labels that you can attach to your bowls and your cookie sheet so that you can keep track of your batches.
- I broke my experiments out using two batches of cookies for a quick and easy breakdown but you can break down a single batch.
- 2 ¼ cups of flour split into two is 1 cup and 2 Tbsp of flour
- 1 tsp of baking soda split into two is ½ tsp of baking soda
- I had four bowls of dry ingredients:
- 1 cup and 2 Tbsp of flour + ½ tsp of baking soda (control)
- 1 cup and 2 Tbsp of flour + ½ tsp of baking soda (too much sugar)
- 1 cup and 2 Tbsp of flour + ½ tsp of baking powder (baking powder instead of baking soda)
- 1 cup and 2 Tbsp of flour (no baking soda or baking powder)
- I added the butter, sugars, vanilla extract, and eggs as instructed. I then separated out the wet dough into even batches, one part for each bowl of dry ingredients. One section of wet dough was kept in the mixer and had another 1/4 cup of granulated sugar added to it before moving on. (too much sugar)
- Slowly add one bowl of dry ingredients to one bowl of wet ingredients. Once the two bowls are combined, mix in the chocolate chips and, if using them, nuts.
- Section your cookie sheet(s) and be sure to label them so you can track which recipe baked up in which way. Scoop your dough onto the cookie sheet. Try to keep the size of the dough balls as similar in size as possible for a better comparison of how they baked up.
- I had four bowls of dry ingredients:
- Science notebook: record what you notice during the experiment
- Do your dry ingredients look different from each other once combined?
- Do your wet ingredients look different from each other once mixed?
- When your wet and dry ingredients are combined, do your doughs look different? What is the texture of each dough?
- When you scooped out the dough, did your dough change texture?
- What did each cookie look like before it was baked?
- What did each cookie look like after it was baked? (please wait for cookies to cool to room temperature before examining with touch and taste)
- Mouth-feel (how it feels in your mouth while eating)
- Why other experiments can you try based on your results? What do you think will happen based on what you saw in these trials?
- Why did the changes happen? Investigate the chemistry of how ingredients combine and react to different conditions.
Preheat oven to 375F.
Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon (I use a 1 ½ Tbsp sized ice cream scoop) onto ungreased baking sheets.
Bake for 9 to 11 minutes (start at 9 mins and then increase time if needed in small increments) or until golden brown (the golden-brown color may not be achieved depending on the trial you’re running. Be sure to run all trials at the same temperature and time). Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
The combination of COVID-19 and pregnancy has kept me out of the bakery since March 2020. Now that the baby is here, it’s time to pivot to keep this baking train going while we work together to get some control over the spread of COVID-19.
This morning, Casual Confections’s channel went live on YouTube! The videos will evolve as time goes on and I play with style and approach. The first four videos are part of a series titled Nibbles of Knowledge. These are very short videos providing tidbits for baking. The channel will also include videos of baking experiments whose recipes will later be posted to the blog, some longer form videos that expand on the Nibbles, and more!
Be sure to subscribe and set notifications so you don’t miss a video. I look forward to you baking along with me!
When a neighbor extends an offer to you to grab some fruit off of their tree before they start pruning it back, you do not hesitate and say “Thank you!” I don’t eat peaches (or any kind of baked fruit) myself, but how could I say no to an offering of fresh free goodness and a new challenge?
What was the new challenge? Learning how to prep and peel peaches. I had no idea there was a processes due to the fruit being so soft.
Seeing as only one of us in the house was going to be eating whatever I made with these fresh peaches, I opted for bars instead of a cobbler or pie. They’re more versatile for snacks and desserts instead of just a large dessert. I was not surprised to find myself leaning toward a recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction, as her recipes have turned out great in my experiments before. This time was no different.
Let’s dive in.
Score a small X at the bottom of each peach. Don’t cut too deep.
Prepare a pot of boiling water and a separate bowl with an ice bath (ice cubes and water).
Once the water is boiling, lower each peach into the water using a slotted spoon. Turn the peaches occasionally. Let sit in the water for 30 secs – 1 min until skin loosens (time will vary by ripeness).
Using the slotted spoon, move each peach into the ice water bath and let sit for 1 min to stop the cooking process.
Take a peach out of the path one at a time. Starting at the X, begin peeling the skin off in strips, pulling up toward the top of the peach.
Toss out skin strips. Cut or slice peach as desired.
Peaches and Cream Bars from Sally’s Baking Addiction
1 cup (125 g) All purpose flour
1/2 cup (42 g) Old Fashion or quick cook oats
1/3 cup (67 g) packed brown sugar (light or brown, your choice)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
10 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1/2 cup (70 g) chopped pecans (optional)
Prepare an 8″ or 9″ square pan by lining it with parchment paper with overhangs on all sides (for easy pull out after baking). Spray parchment paper with non-stick spray.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl, whisk flour, oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon together. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender or two forks, until coarse, pea-sized crumbs form (see Sally’s Baking Addiction post for reference photo).
Remove 3/4 cup of the mixture and put it into a small bowl. Add the pecans. Set aside as the topping.
Evenly press the remaining mixture into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 15 mins.
1 large egg
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1 Tbsp (8g) All purpose flour
2 medium peaches, pealed and chopped (about 1.5 cups)
Whisk the egg and the sugar together until smooth and creamy. Add flour. Whisk until combined.
Fold in the peaches.
Remove the crust from the oven after 15 mins and pour filling over the hot crust. Sprinkle the topping mixture on top.
Bake for 30-32 mins or until golden brown on top. Allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 mins. Move to fridge and chill for 2 hrs. Once chilled, life out of the pan and cut into squares.
1/2 cup (60 g) confectioner’s sugar
1 Tbsp (15 mL) milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Whisk ingredients together. Add more milk to thin it if needed. Drizzle over each square.
Squares can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days if tightly wrapped or in a sealed container.
Chocolate, hazelnut, more chocolate…sounds like a yummy treat! Earlier this year, I tried this double chocolate hazelnut cookies with sea salt recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod. I enjoyed it so much that a version of these were included in February’s cookie care packages and were sold at Muggles Market Too.
These cookies are easy to make and come together in no time. Give the recipe a go and treat yourself to a special treat.
Double Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies with Sea Salt from Two Peas & Their Pod
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt (optional. I always make recipes without salt)
3/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa*
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped hazelnuts
sea salt for sprinkling on cookies
(*Dutch cocoa replacement: use the same amount of regular baking cocoa, like Hershey’s, as the recipe calls for (3/4 cup) and add and extra 1/2 tsp for baking soda. So, for this recipe, instead of 1 tsp baking soda and 3/4 cups Dutch cocoa, use 1 1/2 tsp baking soda and 3/4 cups baking cocoa.)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugars together until smooth. Add in eggs, one at a time. Next, add in vanilla extract and mix until combined.
Gradually add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and hazelnuts. Scoop the dough into rounded tablespoons (or use a scoop) and place on the prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle each cookie with sea salt.
Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, or until cookies are set, but are still soft in the center. Don’t over-bake. Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet for 3 minutes. Move to a cooling rack and cool completely.
One of the flavors in November 2019’s geek-themed cookie care packages was a butterbeer cookie! If you love a good butterbeer flavored treat, try these cookies and then try the infamous butterbeer fudge!
The first time I made a version of these cookies was using a recipe from Sugar & Soul. It utilizes pudding mixes, extracts, and chips for a blend of flavors resulting in a tasty cookie. Check out the original post for tips and notes on variations for the recipe.
Butterbeer Cookies via Sugar & Soul
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup instant vanilla pudding mix, dry
1/4 cup instant butterscotch pudding mix, dry
2 large eggs
1 additional egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp butter extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup Heath toffee bits, straight toffee, not the chocolate toffee mix
In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, if needed.
Add the pudding, eggs, additional yolk, vanilla, and butter extract. Beat for about one minute on medium speed.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients 1/2 cup at a time and mix until combined.
Mix in the toffee chips.
Form the dough into a giant ball and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill the dough for at least two hours. Remove the dough a little while before baking so the dough can soften a bit and be easier to work with.
Scoop the dough using a medium cooking scoop and roll the dough between your hands to form round balls of dough and place onto a nonstick baking sheet about two inches apart.
Bake at 350°F for 10-13 minutes.
Cool on the pan for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Turtles are a delicious treat of chocolate, caramel, and pecans. I can never eat just one! When the opportunity to try a turtle cookie recipe presented itself, I had to jump on it!
This recipe by Live Well Bake Often makes a very chocolaty cookie stuffed with caramel. That’s right – a caramel center! These babies are best fresh from the oven or reheated in the microwave for 15 seconds to remelt the caramel. Yum!
Chocolate Turtle Cookies by Live Well Bake Often
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt (I always omit salt as a personal preference)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
9-10 soft caramel candies, unwrapped and cut in half (or could use whole depending on the size of the cookies you’re making)
3/4 cup chopped pecans
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a hand-held mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar for 1-2 minutes; mix in the egg and vanilla extract until fully combined. Slowly ad the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Cover the cookie dough tightly and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat and set aside.
Remove the cookie dough from the refrigerator. Using a cookie scoop or spoon, measure out two Tbsp-sized pieces of cookie dough onto a prepared baking sheet. Flatten each piece of cookie dough, place half of a soft caramel candy in the center, then wrap the dough back around the caramel, and roll the dough into a ball. Roll the top and sides of each ball of cookie dough into the chopped pecans.
(My notes on this segment: Used a 1 1/2 Tbsp scoop for my cookies and used only one half of a caramel in each one. While this was tasty, I will add a whole caramel next time to get a better filled center. The amount of a caramel to add will vary depending on the size of the caramels you have. Rolling the dough in the pecans did not go as easily as I expected to. I ended up pressing the pecans into the top and sides as much as I could and many still fell off. I still ended up with enough pecans on the cookies but not nearly the coverage I was expecting based on the photos.)
Place each piece of cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets, making sure to leave a little room between each one. Bake in two separate batches at 350°F for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheets for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. (You’ll be tempted to try one fresh from the oven, but remember, the caramel is hot! Let the cookies become warm before trying them.)
Cookies may be stored on the counter in an air-tight container for up to five days. Cookies may also be frozen for up to three months. Thaw at room temperature before serving. (and remember, microwave for 15 seconds to get that gooey center back).
A plate of butterbeer fudge made it on to a local morning show today! Check out leader of the Charlotte Geeks, Joey Starnes, as she shows off goods from many of the vendors you can visit and purchase from at Muggles Market Too, next Saturday and Sunday, March 7th and 8th, at the University Hilton in Charlotte, NC. Click to watch the WBTV Muggles Market Too spot.