Sourdough Scones {Strawberry Nectarine Shortcakes with Balsamic Syrup}

Sourdough Scones and Shortcakes | Korena in the Kitchen

I love scones, and I love sweet baked goods made with sourdough starter. So how is it that I’ve only made scones with sourdough starter ONCE before? It was time, and the Sourdough Surprises challenge this month was to make sourdough biscuits (which I took to mean scones), so I had a good reason. I modified a buttermilk scones recipe to use mature/discard sourdough starter, which has a comparable acidity to buttermilk and therefor the action of the chemical leaveners is similar. These scones are tender and slightly springy on the inside and crunchy-crumbly on the outside. They’d be great served with butter, jam, and a cup of tea, but I decided to turn them into shortcakes for dessert with the addition of some fruit and whipped cream.

Sourdough Scones and Shortcakes | Korena in the Kitchen

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Turkish Delight

Turkish Delight | Korena in the Kitchen

For the Month of May, Rachael from Pizzarossa challenged us to make candy but not just any candy! She challenged us to make Turkish Delight, or Lokum.

This month, I joined the Daring Cooks (counterpart to the Daring Bakers) to make Turkish Delight, the jelly-like, powdered sugar-coated squares of rose water candy. If it sounds a little weird, that’s because it is. Weird, but good, and the homemade version is pretty close to the Turkish Delight I remember eating in the holiday candy boxes that my teacher parents usually received around Christmas.

Turkish Delight | Korena in the Kitchen

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Mini Vanilla-Orange Creamsicle Cheesecake

Creamsicle Cheesecake | Korena in the Kitchen

This year for his birthday, Nate requested a creamsicle cheesecake. I’ll admit that the creamsicle combination of creamy vanilla ice cream with orange isn’t usually my first choice – especially when there is creamy vanilla ice cream with chocolate to be had instead – but since it was his birthday, I acquiesced. Compared to the chocolate caramel bacon insanity cake from his birthday a few years ago, it was a relatively simple request.

Creamsicle Cheesecake | Korena in the Kitchen

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The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie | Korena in the KitchenI’ve been looking for the “perfect” chocolate chip cookie for about as long as I’ve been baking cookies. What I wanted was a fairly straight-forward method that didn’t involve a complete re-design of the chocolate chip cookie or an overnight rest in the fridge (because when I want chocolate chip cookies, I want them now, not tomorrow). I’ve tried the original Toll House recipe, dabbled in thin/crispy versions, large/cakey versions, changed baking times and temperatures, and  tried different flours, all of which promised to give the “perfect” cookie but just… didn’t.

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie | Korena in the Kitchen

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Daring Bakers: Sweet or Savoury Sourdough Focaccia

Sourdough Focaccia | Korena in the KitchenFor the month of April Rachael of pizzarossa and Sawsan of Chef in Disguise took us on a trip to Italy. They challenged us to try our hands at making focaccia from scratch.

As soon as I saw this month’s Daring Bakers challenge, I knew exactly what I wanted to make: raisin focaccia. While not as well known as savoury, rosemary and salt topped focaccia, apparently this sweet version is a well-loved breakfast item in the Ligurian region of Italy. I’d had a recipe bookmarked for quite a while, and this seemed like the perfect chance to finally make it, so I did. However, I should have known better when the recipe only specified three minutes of kneading and no bulk fermentation. The resulting focaccia was pretty “meh” tasting, and it lacked so much in structure that it fell apart when I tried to take it out of the pan. Sadly, raisin focaccia round one was a big ol’ FAIL.

raisin focaccia fail | Korena in the Kitchen

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Chocolate-Dipped Vanilla-Almond Sourdough Biscotti

Chocolate-Dipped Vanilla-Almond Sourdough Biscotti | Korena in the Kitchen

After making a chocolate-hazelnut sourdough biscotti a few years ago, I concluded that sourdough biscotti was just a novelty and not actually a practical way to make biscotti or use sourdough. So I’m not sure what it says about me when I decided to participate in this month’s Sourdough Surprises project, which was – you guessed it – sourdough biscotti, AND decided to use the same recipe as the base. I guess maybe it says I’m drawn to novelty and prone to impracticality. But whatever: I have biscotti.

Chocolate-Dipped Vanilla-Almond Sourdough Biscotti | Korena in the Kitchen

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Honeyed Hot Cross Buns

Honeyed Hot Cross Buns | Korena in the KitchenI know, I know, Easter was so two weeks ago. But seeing as I’ve posted about hot cross buns every year since I started this blog, I couldn’t NOT post about this year’s version. Just bookmark this recipe for next year and call it advance preparation.  ; )

Honeyed Hot Cross Buns | Korena in the Kitchen

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Cocoa Cardamom Crunch

Cocoa Cardamom Crunch | Korena in the KitchenMy daily breakfast is Greek yogurt with fruit and homemade granola, and I look forward to it every morning. However, my last few batches of granola have been a little lackluster, so I was pretty excited to discover a new kind of yogurt-appropriate topping called “nutmeg crunch“, a combination of oats, almonds, honey, coconut oil, and a hefty dose of nutmeg blitzed in the food processor, the resulting crumbles of which are spread on a cookie sheet and baked until toasty and crisp. These little oatmeal clusters are totally delicious, not to mention incredibly addicting. One recipe makes enough for a week’s worth of breakfasts, but my first batch only lasted about three days because I was eating the stuff by the handful. I immediately began thinking of all the variations one could make to the recipe: vanilla bean and almond, cinnamon and pecan, cocoa and cardamom…

Cocoa Cardamom Crunch | Korena in the Kitchen

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Daring Bakers: Tarte Tatin

Tarte Tatin | Korena in the Kitchen

For the March Daring Bakers’ Challenge, Korena from Korena in the Kitchen taught us that some treats are best enjoyed upside down. She challenged us to make a tarte Tatin from scratch.

This month I was excited to host another Daring Bakers’ challenge, for which I chose the tarte Tatin. This classic French dessert is basically the apple pie version of an upside-down cake: apples are caramelized in sugar in a saucepan, covered with pastry and baked, and then inverted on a plate to serve. It’s a great example of the magic of caramelized sugar: the apples take on a deep, rich mahogany colour and become infused with the complex flavours of a well-cooked caramel, and the crisp puff pastry base also becomes practically candied with caramel at the edges, resulting in a fantastic mix of soft, crunchy, and chewy textures.

The tart is named after the Tatin sisters, who ran a hotel near Paris in the 1880s. Apparently, one day one of the sisters forgot to put a bottom crust on her apple pie, but instead of the disaster she was expecting to pull out of the oven, she ended up with a dessert so loved by the hotel guests that it became the hotel’s signature dish. However, this sweet story conflicts with the fact that a similar upside-down apple tart called tarte Solognotte (named after the Sologne region in France) existed long before the tarte Tatin, suggesting that the Tatin sisters’ creation was actually just an updated and improved version of the tarte Solognotte. Either way, it is a stunningly delicious yet simple and rustic dessert….

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Brunch for Forty

Brunch for Forty | Korena in the KitchenLast weekend I had the opportunity to cater a day-after-the-wedding brunch for a friend’s family. I love this kind of thing because not only do I get to bake and cook to my heart’s content, but I also get to do a lot of figuring out: coming up with a menu, researching recipes, scaling them up and down, and writing out list after list. Calculating exactly how many eggs I will need to make a dozen quiche plus four dozen cinnamon brioche buns is the kind of math I can get behind. I found a great resource in Ellen’s Kitchen for estimating quantities for large gatherings, although it doesn’t say much for my math skills when my estimates, in most cases, ended up being about twice what they should have been! But it’s better to have more food than not enough, right?

Cinnamon Brioche Buns | Korena in the Kitchen

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