Monday, June 27, 2011

Sour Cherry and Walnut Scones

Exchanging recipes has been a tradition among families and friends for years.  It always seems special when guests share a family recipe with me.  I am honored.  The following recipe came from one of our guests, Ann Marie.  It is different than my traditional scones and is a nice addition to my repertoire.  It is a little like a coffee cake with the cinnamon/sugar topping.   I think that you will like it.

Sour Cherry and Walnut Scones

Preheat the oven to 375 deg.   Grease a baking sheet, use parchment paper or Silpat liner.    The secret to scones is to keep the dough cold.   After I have cut the butter into the flour mixture, I often place the bowl in the freezer for a few minutes.   (I have also prepared the dry ingredients with butter and freeze it until I am ready to proceed.)   These scones use 50% cake flour which seems to provide a tender scone since the gluten is inhibited.   After the scones are made, I place them on the refrigerator shelf till I am ready to bake them.

In a large bowl with a pastry cutter or food processors add:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
½ cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp orange zest

8 tbsp butter, cut into ½ inch pieces

Cut butter with pastry cutter into flour mixture or pulse the flour and butter a few seconds in a food processor, being careful not to over-mix and warm the butter.  (You want chunks of butter that will melt in the oven)

Add to mixture:
3/4 cup dried tart cherries
½ cup walnuts, chopped coarsely
½ cup chocolate chips (optional)

Gently add the following to the dry ingredients:
2/3 cup buttermilk

Mix till all the ingredients come together.  (Depending on the dryness of the flour, you might have to add additional milk.)  Form into a round, about ½ -1 inch thick.    Cut into triangles and place on baking sheet

Sprinkle the scones with
            ¼ cup sugar
            ¼ tsp cinnamon

- Mary

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Relaxing at The Pearl

Some of our guests have said that coming and spending time at The Pearl is essential for their survival – it is not a luxury.   Their life with family commitments and job responsibilities contributes to their stress.   It seems that we all need time to relax and “unwind”.   This is not a new idea.   We often mention to our guests the need to relax, and that seems to give them permission to “do nothing”, either by themselves or with their partner – a time to relax and be themselves.

Some of the suggestions we make to our guests are:

• Do nothing, have a glass of wine or a cup of coffee and just sit and look at the lake.

• Sit quietly on our dock.

• Relax in our two-person hammock.

• Read a book.

• Start a bonfire, cook hot dogs, roast marshmallows, make a s’more.

• Walk our nature trail.

• Take a canoe ride or a ride in the row boat.   Go for a swim.

• Play a game of horseshoes.

• Visit the cookie jar.

So… don’t worry about things to do in the area.   We all may have to schedule time to just “unwind”.   That might be the best thing you can do for your family, your job, and your own survival.

- Mary