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Friday, July 18, 2014

Hot Chocolate, Scones, Macaroni & Cheese - Cooking from scratch

Yesterday was a day for cooking!!

For afternoon tea and playgroup, we're having the best scones that money can't buy! And an amazing thick hot chocolate.

For supper, a simple, real macaroni and cheese.

For the scones, I opened up my handy-dandy Better Homes and Gardens cookbook to page 84 to find THIS recipe for Biscuits Supreme:

2 cups all-purpose flour (250 grams)
3 tsp baking powder
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening (115 grams)  I use butter.
2/3 cup milk (160 ml)

Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt.  Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Make a well in the center, add milk all at once.  Stir just until dough clings together.  Knead gently on a lightly floured surface for 10 to 12 strokes.  Roll or pat to 1/2 inch (1cm) thickness.  Cut with a 2-1/2 inch (6cm) biscuit cutter, dipping cutter in flour between cuts.  Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake in a 450F (235C) oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden.  Serve warm.  Makes 10 to 12 biscuits.

But I cheated.

I didn't make a well for the milk, but instead just dumped it in.
I didn't knead it on a lightly floured surface, but did knead it on the cookie sheet which has a non-stick surface.
I didn't roll or pat it to a 1/2 inch (1cm) thickness.  Nor did I cut out the biscuits with a biscuit cutter.
I DID however, pull hunks of dough off the ball and place them on the cookie sheet. They baked up perfect!
I didn't bake them in a 450F (235C) oven, but did bake them in a 425F (220C) oven, having adjusted for the dark color of the cookie sheet.

And served warm with butter and jam.

The hot chocolate is a slow cooker recipe that I came across a couple years ago, pinned on my slow cooker pinterest board, and promptly forgot about.  Has that ever happened to you?

I found it, yesterday, as I was doing a big clean up on my boards and deleting duplicate pins. Here's the link:
http://crockpotladies.com/crockpot-thick-creamy-hot-chocolate/

And I have to tell you, if you're looking for an inexpensive, get-the-job-done-on-a-school-morning recipe for hot chocolate, this is not the one for you.

But if you're having a party and want to surprise your guests with a bit of sweet, thick, rich, creamy, chocolatey indulgence,  use this recipe.

Tip:  Once it's warmed up all the way through and the chocolate chips are completely melted, turn the slow cooker off so you don't scorch it.

And then on to supper, which featured my very first ever, make it from scratch, macaroni and cheese, baked in the oven, because that's the only real way to make macaroni and cheese.

Here is the link:  http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/23518/best+ever+macaroni+cheese

I served it with steamed broccoli and cauliflour for a meatless meal and surprise!  It was loved by meat-loving husband and picky-eater daughter.  Win! Win!

When you make this recipe, expect it to take at least an hour depending on how much you overlap the tasks.  And cook your rue (flour and milk) over a medium temp so you don't scorch your milk.

Cooking from scratch is one of the easiest ways to save money, except when you're being indulgent.  These foods are wholesome, fresh, and without preservatives, colorings, and flavorings.

Learning to cook from scratch just takes some preparing and practice.  You can do it.

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