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2.08.2017

Blackberry Soufflé for Two


  I can't believe how little I've dabbled in the souffle world.  After my first experience with it in this old blog post, you'd think I'd be trying a new recipe every week or something.  But yeah, no, 4 years have gone by and I totally forgot that souffles/puddings/puds were even a thing.  Mistake, you guys, big mistake.


  It is so completely satisfying to whisk together a few simple ingredients and then watch the concoction just puff up into a fluffy, fruity cloud of goodness.

  The dog days of winter have a lot of people down right now, which I say is 50% weather-induced and 50% post-inauguration depression.  You know.


  I know I've got my fair share of reasons to be down right now, but I've also got a good chunk of stuff keeping me pretty happy.  With V-Day around the corner here, I thought a nice, do-able, but still impressive dessert for two might be just what we need after a really long January.

  So spoon up some sugary fluff, complete with a homemade blackberry smash lining the bottom of your respected ramekins.  You get some tart, sweet, and cloud-y delight to share with your boo; or you get 2 desserts to yourself.  Which, in the case of a dessert that does not hold up well for more than hour and would just be annoying to halve, I think eating both helpings is the only really decent thing to do. <3


Blackberry Souffllé for Two
Yield: 2 small portions

Ingredients:
  • unsalted butter, for greasing
  • 3 tbsp. superfine (caster) sugar, divided
  • 1 heaping cup fresh blackberries, plus extra for garnish (if so desired)
  • few drops of vanilla extract
  • few drops of lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 egg whites
  • powdered sugar, to dust

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and put a baking sheet on the top shelf of the oven. Grease 2 large ramekins with butter (7-8 ounces in volume) and dust with superfine sugar.
Put the berries and 1 tbsp superfine sugar in a small pan and simmer for 5-6 minutes until the fruit has broken up (help it by crushing with a wooden spoon). Whizz in a blender, then press through a fine mesh sieve into a large mixing bowl; discard the pips. Cool slightly, then stir in the vanilla extract and lemon juice. Put 1 tbsp purée into each ramekin. Mix the cornstarch with ½ tbsp cold water, then stir into the remaining purée; set aside.
Put the egg whites in a clean bowl and beat with an electric mixer on slow, then medium speed. When the whites reach soft peaks, scatter over the remaining 2 tbsp sugar; beat until dense and silky.  Fold 1/3 of the egg white into the remaining purée, then gently fold in the rest of the egg white until combined; take care not to overmix. Divide the mixture between the ramekins, filling to the top. Smooth the surface with a knife and clean the edges with your thumb wrapped in a piece of kitchen paper, making a slight indent around the edges. 
Cook on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, until well risen.  While baking, feel free to get some blackberries wet and then toss in some sugar to get a "sparkly" garnish effect. Dust completed soufflés with powdered sugar and sugared blackberries, serve at once.
Sources: adapted slightly from waitrose.com


12.16.2016

Mini Vanilla Tin Can Cake, and a Blogiversary


  Bad and good boyfriends, up and down hormones, driving across the country, 2 different college campuses, tiny kitchen apartments, bad and good days, this blog has been around for a lot of milestones and life changes.

  5 years ago today I created something that I honestly had no idea could've lasted so long.  Indigo Scones has pushed my creativity, patience, and organizational skills.  And I couldn't be happier with it.


  This year in particular has been quite a feat for Indigo.  I talked a lot in my last post about making some life changes, and pushing myself in new directions.  I can't say that the pieces are really coming together yet, but I can say that I'm pretty happy.  For the first time in months, I can look around at what I'm doing, and be more than okay with it.  Even though I'm still penny pinching and serving a slow-moving stream of tables during this already crazy Wisconsin winter, my day job now includes making some fantastic organic doughnuts for one of the best local businesses I've ever had the pleasure to work for.


  I'm surrounded by supportive people, I work with some amazing new women I can't wait to get to know better, and in my free time I can bake/do whatever I want.

  I made a good friend a rainbow layer cake for her birthday, and even though I ran out of time to fully document its glory, I figured out that the important thing is that it was so well received.  I'd rather walk up to someone I love with a gleaming, lit-up birthday cake and see some happy tears than put it up on instagram searching for some "likes".  I love doing what I do here, but sometimes I get so caught up in the social media and posting and whatnot that I forget that sometimes I just like to put my camera aside and bake my heart out.  The results when I do that more have been so gratifying.  I've been trying to do more of that, which is why you haven't been hearing from me as much.


  But I'll be darned if I let 5 years of blogging slip on past me.  This needs to be commemorated.  While I'm a bit short on time and good health this week, I did find some stamina to throw together this tiny little cake for you.  I've been wanting to try baking a tin can cake for awhile, and I'm so happy with how it came out.  It's beyond adorable, requires no mixer, minimum dishes, and you can have done and decorated within 90 minutes.


  Playing around with slicing it was purely decorative.  You'd best believe that I just ended up savagely digging a fork into this while watching Friends on my laptop.


  So, if you're bored, have a sugar craving, or just want to make someone's day...make a little tin can cake.  I just threw together a quick cream cheese frosting to smear between the layers, but you can use whatever you want!  

  Thanks to everyone who's supported Indigo Scones this far in her career, I can't wait to see where this blog follows me next. <3


Mini Vanilla Tin Can Cake
Yield: one mini 3-layer cake

Ingredients:
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ heaping teaspoon of baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1½ tablespoons milk

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 15oz tin can with cooking spray and dust with flour, tapping to shake out any excess.  Trace and cut out a round of parchment paper and place it in the bottom of the can.  Spray and flour that as well.
In a bowl, add egg white and sugar and whisk until combined.  Add in vanilla and melted butter and stir until mixed.  Add flour, baking powder, and salt and stir until smooth.  Stir in milk.  Pour batter into can.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool in can completely, then invert cake and slide it out of the can (this can take a little tapping and shaking to encourage the cake to slide out). Slice the top off to level it, slice it into layers, and frost as desired.
Sources: adapted from The Baker Chick,


10.24.2016

Extra Dark Brown Butter Snickerdoodles


  I thought I'd found it.  I'd been to every advisor, run through every career test, and taken a wide variety of classes.  Walking down the stairwell of a library, I sent a group text to my family, trying to be happy with the announcement of my double major after so many undeclared semesters.

  Seconds after I reread the text, I stopped walking.  None of it felt genuine, none of it felt like me.  I saw books I didn't want to read, people I couldn't seem to fit in with or relate to, and so so much quiet stress bouncing around the numerous floors of the building.  Students in literal cells surrounded by books cramming their brains with something, all in an effort to make it in this world.

  I don't even know what making it means anymore.  A good job?  High-paying salary?  A resume?  A degree?


  But I shrugged it off.  You're crazy, Ellen!  Just overthinking all of it.  You love learning, this next year will be so great for you now that you've declared something.  You never try hard enough to get involved, just suck it up.

  Fast forward exactly 4 months.  A week into my classes I came out a crippled mess that was no semblance to any Ellen I've ever known myself to be.

  It's complicated.  But it's also not.  After 2 years of schooling and already taking one year off, I'm back where I started.  I have no idea what to do.


  I spent high school partially on the internet and with my nose in a cookbook.  If I wasn't doing that I was in the kitchen making treats for friends with my own catering business.
  If you've been reading this blog for any number of months/years, then you know I'm not kidding.  Making the hurdle into college basically shut down the regularity this blog/space had.  Anytime I was studying I would inevitably hop on here and browse through all my hard work and photographs and feel like I was mourning something.

  I don't like to think that I made a wrong decision somewhere, I don't really believe that at all.  I believe everything I've done up to this point has made me a stronger and more capable human, if sometimes a little bit embittered.


  All that said, I'm lost.  I don't feel the draw towards academia at all, but it gives me an eery feeling when literally everyone else my age is surrounded by midterms and textbooks and filled to the brim with complaints about it.  I feel like I'm cheating, or being lazy, especially since my grades were nearly always top notch.  But the fact is I don't know what I want with school at all, and I'd rather figure that out before I jump back in, if I jump back in.

  So in my drifting, I've been searching for some words.  For someone in a similar situation.  Whether that's a fictitious character in a novel, a blog post, a pinterest quote, a show on Netflix...I'm desperate for some affirmation.

  But, guess what, I'm never going to find that.  Affirmation about my own life decisions can only come from me.  So I'm biting the bullet and putting my whole messy quandary up here because I want somebody else also in an indecisive situation to also be able to see this and take comfort in the fact that they aren't the only ones struggling.  We all are.  I have yet to meet a person that really knows what they're doing or if they're doing it "right".


  Nope, I don't know a lot at this point.  But if there's one thing I do know it's that brown butter and dark brown sugar and an extra pinch of salt can make an absolutely fantastically deep and wonderful cookie.

  That was a lot of adjectives in what is definitely a run-on sentence, but describing these snickerdoodles to you absolutely requires breaking a few grammar rules.  Because honestly, at this point, I'm a little tired of regulations and societal expectations.

  So I just sit on my bedroom floor and eat half a dozen cookies and hope something brilliant comes to me pretty soon.  But if it doesn't, I'm willing to recreate these incredibly soft cookies as many times as necessary just so they can fill my tiny kitchen with their cinnamon-y comfort.


Extra Dark Brown Butter Snickerdoodles
Yield: about 2 dozen small cookies

Ingredients: 
  • 1 stick plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter 
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon


Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place the butter in a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until you hear it starting to pop/sizzle.  Heat continually, swirling the pan occasionally, until the sizzling starts to subside.  Once it does, the butter will begin to brown, you then remove it from the heat and pour it into the bowl of your stand mixer or a large mixing bowl to cool down for a few minutes.

With an electric mixer, stand mixer, or just a whisk, mix in the sugars until smooth and well combined. Add the egg, yolk, and vanilla, and mix until smooth.  In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Gradually add them to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.

Combine the 3 tablespoons of sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish. Scoop dough into equal 1 inch sized portions, roll into balls and coat in cinnamon sugar. Place dough balls an inch apart on cookie sheets.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until bottoms of the cookies are golden. Right after coming out of the oven, gently pat the tops of the cookies with a spatula to flatten and add some extra cracks.  Cool and then enjoy!

Sources: adapted from Baker Chick