Rye Bread with Spelt & White Whole Wheat Flours

This rye bread recipe, based on Rye Bread (page 16-19) in the publication The Best of Fine Cooking Breads(winter 2012), uses two starters: a rye and a wheat starter. Since I was basing this on the Breads recipe the flours are given in weight measurements. I have a small baking scale which made this part easy. Measuring by volume does give a slight different difference in amount produced. For example, I used 9 ounces of spelt flour, which by volume was: the first 1 cup = 4.6 ounces and the second 1 cup = 4.4 ounces. Is that important? Apparently.  Some bakers are adamant that it is critical, others (most bakers, given the number of cookbooks which use volume measurements) are not so concerned. It’s up to you.

Rye Bread with Spelt & White Whole Wheat Flours

Rye Bread with Spelt & White Whole Wheat Flours

Ingredients:
Rye Starter
1 cup lukewarm water
¼ tsp active dry yeast
8 ounces rye flour

Wheat Starter
1 cup lukewarm water
¼ tsp active dry yeast
8 ounces white whole wheat flour

Dough
7 ½ ounces rye starter
10 ounces wheat starter
1 ¼ cup lukewarm water
1 tsp active dry yeast
9 ounces spelt flour
10 ounces white whole wheat flour
2 ¼ tsp salt

Directions:
For the Starters:
Make the rye and whole wheat starters separately.
Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water in a medium size bowl.
Add flour until well blended.
Cover and let sit at room temperature for 12 to 20 hours. I let mine sit for 20 hours.

For the Dough:
Dissolve yeast in water and put aside.
Divide the starters by weight and put together in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl mix the flours and salt.
Add dissolved yeast to starters and mix. The recipe said to do this by hand, and I did, but I think it could very easily (and less messily) be done with a large whisk. Just be gentle.
Add starter mixture to the flour mixture and combine by hand until it all comes together.
Knead on an unfloured surface (or in a very large bowl). Do not add more flour; use a scraper if you need to, but no more flour. Knead for 8 minutes.
Let rest for 10 minutes.
Knead again for several minutes – until the dough springs back when you poke it with your finger.
Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a slightly oiled plastic wrap. Let rise in warm place until doubled in size or for 1 hour.
Release the gasses from the dough by gently kneading it a couple of times.
Return it to the bowl and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Cut dough in half and form into two loaves. Place on baking sheet covered in corn meal.
Let rest for another 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
Bake for 10 minutes in a preheated oven at 450 degrees.
Turn the heat down to 400 degrees and continue baking for another 30 minutes or until the bottoms sound somewhat hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Let cool on a wire rack.
Don’t slice until the loaves have cooled completely.

RESULTS: The rye bread is nice and chewy with a golden color. It has a good texture for eating with just butter or for making a sandwich. I think it makes a really fine rye bread.

Using the starters added a couple of extra steps, but since it could be done the day before, it actually makes this recipe easy to fit into your schedule. My one real problem with this recipe is that there is so much more starter than needed for the dough. Yes, the leftover starters are enough for another batch, and that’s probably the best way to use them. Unfortunately, Breads didn’t give advice on keeping the leftovers if they’re not used immediately.

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Whole Emmer Grain Banana Bread experiment #2

Interestingly enough, I find that I really like emmer – both as a grain and as flour. In continuing to experiment with using the grain in bread I tried it in a banana bread this week. I used most of my cooked emmer grain a soup (used as a whole grain, not chopped), but kept aside ¾ of a cup for the bread.

This recipe is loosely based on Banana Bread (page 738) from Farm Journal’s Homemade Pies, Cookies & Bread, plus several other banana bread recipes. All in all, this should be pretty nutritious. This kind of bread goes under many aliases: tea bread, nut bread, no-knead bread, and quick bread to name a few. No matter what it’s called, it’s a joy to eat.

Whole Emmer Grain Banana Bread

Whole Emmer Grain Banana Bread

Ingredients:
1 cup white whole wheat flour
½ cup spelt four
¼ cup soy flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ cup brown sugar
¾ cup emmer grain (cooked and coarsely chopped)
1 cup mashed bananas (2-3 bananas)
1 ½ Tbl canola oil
½ cup soy milk
1 jumbo egg
1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:
Mash 2-3 very ripe bananas – to make 1 cup.
Coarsely chop cooked emmer grain (note last week’s blog for cooking instructions).
Combine the white whole wheat, spelt and soy flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and brown sugar. Mix well.

Thoroughly beat egg in mixer. Add oil and beat together.
Gradually add soy milk alternating with flour mixture; add mashed bananas and nuts. Beat until well combined.
Pour into greased 5”x 9” loaf pan.
Bake in preheated, moderate (350 degrees) oven for 60 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean.
Cool in pans 10 minutes.
Remove to wire rack and cool completely.
Wrap in foil and place in refrigerator overnight before slicing and eating.

Makes 1 loaf.

RESULTS: It was hard to wait until this morning to finally be able to slice and try this Emmer Banana Bread, but so worth it! It’s a real treat – moist, slightly sweet, nice texture – yet has substance and is nutritious. Although making this bread involved a couple of extra steps – cooking and chopping the emmer grain and mashing the bananas – it really does come together pretty quickly. Not a lot of time needed for you to have a delightful treat that you and your family can share without feeling you’ve given in to the “dark side” (AKA, empty calories).

Enjoy!

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Whole Emmer Grain Muffins experiment #1

The Bulgur Muffins last week called for using cooked Bulgur Wheat with Soy. That made me think it would be interesting to try using a similar technique with cooked emmer grain. So, I cooked up some whole emmer grain, chopped them and included them in the following muffin recipe, which is based on Hodgson Mill’s Bulgur Wheat with Soy’s recipe (back of the box).

Whole Grain Emmer Muffins

Whole Grain Emmer Muffins

Cook Whole Emmer Grain
Soak 1 cup of whole emmer grain overnight.
Drain water.
Add 5 cups of water to the soaked seeds, bring to a boil, let simmer for 60 minutes, drain remaining water.

Ingredients:
1 jumbo egg
1 cup soy milk
3 Tbl canola oil
3 Tbl blue agave
½ cup spelt flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¾ cup cooked emmer grain (chopped)
½ cup dried cranberries

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners

Beat egg in a medium bowl. Add soy milk, oil, and blue agave. Mix.
Combine flours, baking powder, and salt in another bowl.
Combine liquids and flour mixture. Add cooked emmer grain and cranberries, stir until moistened.
Fill 12 muffin cups.
Bake 15-20 minutes.

RESULTS: Actually quite good! The emmer grain added a pleasant chewiness to the muffins. We ate them with butter or our own St. Louis Gummy Cream (a kind of clotted cream we make, note earlier blog) and jam. I actually liked it best with just butter because the flavor of the muffin is quite delicate. So, good news for those of you who have whole emmer grain versus emmer flour. This is another way to enjoy the “fruits” of the grain.

Experiment & Enjoy!

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Bulgur Wheat Muffins with Spelt & Emmer Flours

If you like moist, full-bodied muffins, you’ll love these.  I found a box of Hodgson Mill Bulgur Wheat with Soy cereal in the freezer.  I had used it for making tabooli, which is great, but somehow the box had been forgotten as it sat in the depths of the freezer.  Once unearthed again, I found a recipe for Bulgur Muffinson the back of the box.  The following is a muffin modification of their recipe.

 

Bulgur Wheat Muffins with Spelt & Emmer Flours

Bulgur Wheat Muffins with Spelt & Emmer Flours

Ingredients:

1 extra large egg

1 cup soy milk

3 Tbl canola oil

1 cup spelt flour

½ cup emmer flour (ground from seed)

3 Tbl blue agave

4 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salf

¾ cup COOKED Bulgur Wheat with Soy

½ cup raisins

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners

Wisk egg in medium size bowl.

Stir in soy milk, oil, and blue agave.

Mix flours, baking soda, and salt together.

Combine flour mixture with liquids, add Bulgur Wheat and raisins. Mix until moistened.

Fill the 12 muffin cups.

Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove to cool on wire rack.

RESULTS: I can categorically say that these are really worth making.  I was looking for something tasty, but different, and these fit the bill.  They were good for breakfast and as a side with a dinner salad or a tomato soup.  If you don’t like raisins, try dried cranberries instead.

Enjoy!

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White Whole Wheat & Spelt Flour Bread

This week I wanted a nice whole wheat bread that could be used for sandwiches if needed. Also, I wanted to use spelt flour and to boost the protein content with soy flour. So, I again (I had used it in February of last year with Emmer flour) used the Basic Whole Wheat Bread recipe (page 18) in Breaking Bread with Father Dominic by Father Dominic Garramone as a basis for the following recipe.

White Whole Wheat & Spelt Flour Bread

White Whole Wheat & Spelt Flour Bread

Ingredients:
2 cups warm water
1 tsp yeast
1 Tbl brown sugar
¼ cup gluten
3 cups white whole wheat flour

¼ up canola oil
1 tsp salt
2 cups spelt flour
½ cup soy flour

Extra spelt flour and water as needed

Directions:
Put warm water in a large bowl and add yeast. Dissolve.
Add brown sugar, gluten and white whole wheat flour.
Beat using about 200 strokes.
Let sit for 1 ½ to 2 hours and allow the yeast mixture to ferment. This slow-rise period allows the mixture to form a sponge which heightens the bread’s flavor.

Add oil, salt, spelt and soy flours to yeast mixture, combine thoroughly forming a soft dough.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface or into a large stainless steel bowl (I almost always use the stainless steel bowl. Note picture. When I use the bowl I normally only add flour if the dough calls for it, otherwise extra flour is not needed for the kneading process itself.)

 

kneading bowl

kneading bowl

Knead for 13-15 minutes. Slowly add more water or flour if dough requires during this process.
Let rise in a warm spot for 90 minutes or until doubled in size.

Punch dough down and divide into two equal parts. Form each part into a loaf shape. Place on cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.
Cover and let rise for 45 minutes or until nearly doubled in size.

In preheated 400 degree oven bake loaves for 35 minutes or until golden on top. Loaves should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Let cool completely on wire racks.

RESULTS: This is a great sandwich bread. The loaves have a wonderful milk-coffee color, a firm but light texture, and mild flavor. You can eat the bread with just butter, butter with jam or preserves, or as a base for a sandwich.

Enjoy!

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Fudge Brownies with Spelt Flour

We’re still finishing the pumpernickel loaves I made earlier, so I baked a dessert this time – spelt brownies. The recipe is based on a Fudge Brownies recipe (page 573) from Farm Journal’s Homemade Pies, Cookies & Bread. Published in 1983 it remains among my favorite cookbooks.

Also, I wanted to understand more about the impact of spelt flour. I read that spelt can replace ordinary white flour one-to-one, but I wondered if it were true or if a person could tell the difference. As I indicated in an earlier blog, I made most of my Christmas baked goods using plain white flour because I wanted to keep the traditional qualities of the cookies and cakes. While I really do like the dense, full-bodied flavor of whole grains, sometimes the lighter qualities of white flour are desirable as well. Trying brownies seemed like a reasonable way to begin checking out how well spelt flour worked. [I’m not even going to talk about the fact that I now had an excuse to bake a yummy dessert!] I used sugar instead of blue agave to better determine that any changes in quality would be due to spelt alone.

spelt flour brownies with frosting

spelt flour brownies with frosting

Ingredients:
2 -1 ounce squares unsweetened chocolate
1/3 cup butter
¾ cup spelt flour
½ tsp baking powder
a little less than ½ tsp salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla (made with vodka)
a little more than ½ cup broken walnuts

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Lightly grease an 11 X 7.5 inch pan

Melt chocolate and butter together, cool to lukewarm.
Mix flour, baking powered and salt together in bowl.
Beat sugar and eggs together on medium speed, until light.
Combine the chocolate-shortening mixture, vanilla, and egg-sugar mixture.
Gradually add flour mixture with mixer on low speed.
Stir in walnuts and mix well.

Spread evenly in the greased pan and bake on center rake for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Cool on wire rack.
Frost with chocolate frosting if desired.

RESULTS: I had several taste testers for these brownies. They all concurred: the brownies were chewy with a full chocolaty flavor. Did I hear the spontaneous, fully satisfied “Ummm” from one of the testers? Spelt is supposed to have a more nutty flavor than wheat, however, no one could tell the difference between these brownies and those traditionally made with white flour. It could be that the chocolate flavor overcame any more subtle taste differences. Whatever, these brownies were considered a definite winner.

General Information:
The official name of spelt is Triticum aestivum var. spelta. (from: http://nutrition.about.com/od/grainsandcereals/p/spelt.htm) According to Wikipedia this ancient grain was an important part of the European diet from the Bronze Age to medieval times. It belongs to the wheat family but has more protein than wheat flours, 17 % versus 13.7% in whole grain wheat. While spelt has gluten, the gluten is different from wheat gluten and should be handled more judiciously – that is, don’t overwork it or it will break down. For more on spelt flour and baking in breads go to http://www.breadexperience.com/spelt-bread.html.

Enjoy!

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Whole Grain Pumpernickel Bread

This pumpernickel bread, based on a recipe from Breaking Bread with Father Dominic 2 (page 23-24), has a strange assortment of ingredients including cider vinegar, cocoa powder, and instant coffee. If for no other reason, that alone should make you want to try this one!

 

Whole Grain Pumpernickel Bread

Whole Grain Pumpernickel Bread

Ingredients:
½ cup herb seasoned stuffing (toasted bread crumbs will do as well)
½ cup corn meal
2 cups hot water

¼ cup warm water
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp active dry yeast

¼ cup molasses
¼ cup canola oil
2 Tbl cider vinegar
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbl salt

¼ cup gluten
2 Tbl instant coffee granules
1 Tbl unsweetened cocoa powder

3 ½ cups rye flour, divided
1 cup whole wheat flour
¾ cup white whole wheat flour
¾ cup soy protein flour

Cornmeal for baking sheet

Directions:
Combine stuffing, cornmeal and hot water in bowl; mix thoroughly; let cool to lukewarm.
Combine warm water, brown sugar, and yeast in small bowl, gently stir to dissolve. Let stand 10 minutes or until foamy.
Add molasses, oil, vinegar, egg, & salt to cornmeal mixture; stir until well blended.
Mix in 2 cups of rye flour. Let dough rest 5 minutes.
Add remaining 1 ½ cups rye flour; stir until ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.
Add 1 cup of whole wheat flour, mixing well. The dough will be very sticky.
Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface, quickly add the white whole wheat flour and soy flour in small amounts as you knead the dough for 15 minutes.
Form the dough into a ball and spread a thin layer of oil over its surface. Place in a greased bowl covered with a greased piece of saran wrap and a towel. Let rise in a warm spot for 90 minutes or until double in size.
Punch the sough down and knead for about 1 minutes. Divide into 2 equal parts; form each part into an oblong loaf.
Put a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and sprinkle cornmeal over the parchment paper. Place the loaves on the sheet, cover as before, and let rise for another 40 minutes in a warm spot.
Bake for 40 minutes in a preheated 375 degree oven. Cover the loaves with tin foil for the last 5 minutes to prevent over-browning.
Let cool completely before slicing thinly.

I used stuffing because I had it on hand and didn’t have any bread I wanted to use for making bread crumbs. The stuffing worked quite well – no problems.

Do not skimp on the amount of time you knead the dough. If 15 minutes seems too long, listen to your favorite radio program, music, even TV program while kneading. This part is well worth your effort.

RESULTS: This is a full-flavored, dense, dark bread. I tried it first with my St. Louis Gooey Butter Cream, but it wasn’t that tasty. However, it was perfect paired with sliced cheese. I enjoyed it with an herbed brie. The bread would also go well with sliced sausages, such as summer sausage.

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Cranberry-Nut Scones with Emmer Flour

My daughter went back to Chicago, but I still have some St. Louis Gummy Cream left from our scone extravaganza. What to do? Make more scones, of course!

This week I used only Emmer flour with a bit of soy. I loosely based the recipe on The McCray House’s Apricot Scones from Teatime Magazine’s Scones & Tea (page 30). By the way, as I’ve said before, if you like scones, this is a fun book with lots of ideas.

As those of you who’ve been following this blog for a while know, the last time I ordered emmer flour I made a mistake and ordered 5 pounds of seed instead. A big disappointment. That bag stayed in the cupboard for several months untouched. Finally, Ron said he’d grind it so I could use it in baking. That worked pretty well last time.

However, our little grinder (technically a coffee grinder) apparently doesn’t make it as fine as flour. The final texture is more like corn meal. As a result, when it’s really the only flour used, as in these scones (not much soy added), the texture of the scones is more like what you’d get using emmer meal, not emmer flour. The granules you see in the picture below aren’t sugar granules, they are pieces of the emmer seed ground into a meal.

 

Cranberry-Nut Scones with Emmer Flour

Cranberry-Nut Scones with Emmer Flour

Also, because the emmer is more of a meal than a flour it didn’t absorb moisture in the same way as a flour would, making the resulting dough very moist. The moisture content of the scones meant they had to be baked longer. I covered them with tin foil for the last half of the baking to keep them from getting over brown. I actually baked these for 30 minutes because of the high moisture content. However, using normal flour you should only have to bake them for 15 minutes or so.

Ingredients:

2 cups emmer flour
¼ cup + 3 Tbl soy flour
1/3 cup sugar

¼ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
½ cup salted butter
½ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup soy milk
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cover baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
Then, using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
Add dried cranberries and walnuts and mix.
Set aside.
In another bowl combine soy milk, egg, and vanilla. Add to flour mixture and incorporate liquid into mixture – be sure not to over mix.
Add more flour as needed – adding a small amount at a time. You don’t want it to be too dry.
On a lightly floured surface, pat the mixture into a ½ inch round and cut into 6 wedges.
Place on prepared baking sheet.
Bake until lightly browned about 15 minutes. (However, note my comments on increased time needed if using emmer with a meal texture, not a fine flour texture).

RESULTS: I was depressed when these various issues popped up. I expected to try the scones and then throw the batch away. Surprise. Ron loved them! Even the texture. They reminded him of corn muffins, but with a different flavor. Good to have a true bread eater in the house! The taste did not disappoint. They were “good enough to eat” as my father-in-law liked to say.

Enjoy!

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Onion-Rye Bread with Whole Grains

A craving for rye bread with onions brought me back to a Swedish Limpa Rye Bread recipe in Breaking Bread with Father Dominic by Father Dominic Garramone (page 66). It doesn’t actually have onion in the recipe, but I like this particular rye bread overall, so I decided to use it as a jumping-off point.

By the way, Father Dominic’s series of bread baking books is well worth adding to your baking collection. He even includes how to adjust recipes if you want to use a bread machine.

Anyway, back to my onion-rye bread.

 

Onion-Rye Bread with Whole Grains

Onion-Rye Bread with Whole Grains

Ingredients:
¼ cup brown sugar
2 Tbl yeast
¼ cup gluten
3 cups rye flour
2 cups instant coffee, lukewarm
¼ cup butter, melted (I used Lurpak, a Danish butter)
Zest from 1 medium orange
Juice from 1 medium orange
1 Tbl anise seeds, finely ground
2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup soy flour
1/3 cup onion, chopped
1/3 to ½ cup whole wheat flour for kneeding

Directions:
Combine brown sugar, yeast, gluten and 2 cups of rye flour.
Pour in coffee and butter. Beat for about 200 strokes.
Let dough rest 5 minutes.
Add orange zest and juice, ground anise seeds, and salt to dough. Stir until well blended.
Add remaining 1 cup rye flour, mix well. Dough will be very sticky.
Using mixer with dough hook, gradually add 1 3/4 cups of white whole wheat flour & 1/4 cup soy flour.
Turn out onto floured board or over-sized bowl to knead. Add up to 1/3 to ½ cup of whole wheat flour during kneading process. Be careful not to add too much flour, the dough should be somewhat sticky. Knead by hand for 12 minutes and form into a ball.
Spread thin coating of melted butter over dough surface. Cover and place in warm area for 1 ½ hours or until doubled in size.

Punch dough down & divide into 2 equal parts. Form them into 2 balls, cover, and let rise on a lightly greased baking sheet for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
I cut 3 slashes into the tops of the loaves. It really isn’t necessary, but it makes me feel more like a “real” baker!

Bake in oven at 375 degrees (should have been pre-heated) on the middle shelf for 45 minutes, or until crust is well browned. Loaves should sound hollow when tapped.

RESULTS: We ate the onion-rye bread with a bowl of beef stew. A really good combination. The onion came through with quite a strong flavor. I liked it a lot, but if you’re not sure how you will like it, mix the onion into only half the dough, leaving the other half onion free.

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Eggnog Scones & Clotted Cream

My daughter is home for the holidays and it’s time for us to make scones, which we both love. We also like to make something we call St. Louis Gummy Cream, which is our version of Clotted Cream. If you have tasted fresh clotted cream you know how wonderful this is spread over a scone. The only problem I have with making St. Louis Gummy Cream is that there is a lot of milk remaining. When we use 1 quart of heavy cream, we get a little more than 1 pint of a rich milk left. This left-over milk can be used on cereal, in coffee or tea, or any other way you typically use milk.

Given the holiday season we’re in, Renee and I decided to forego the orange scones (an all-time favorite) and make eggnog scones instead. The Eggnog Scones recipe below is based on Eggnog Scones in Scones & Tea from Teatime Magazine (page 56). Scones & Tea is a fabulous book for scone lovers. There are recipes for sweet and savory scones as well as an array of delectable spreads. I particularly like the recipes for the various spreads, because they are not as easy to find as scone recipes are.

 

Eggnog Scone with Clotted Cream

Eggnog Scone with Clotted Cream

St. Louis Gummy Cream (AKA: Clotted Cream)
Ingredients:
1 quart pasteurized (NOT ultra-pasteurized) heavy cream
1 ½ tsp vanilla

Directions:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Mix heavy cream and vanilla in oven-proof pan then cover with oven-proof lid.
Place on middle rack in oven for at least 8 hours.
Remove from oven and skim the clotted cream off the top. Pour the remaining milk into a separate glass container. The remaining milk is good in coffee or tea.
Use the clotted cream on the scones with or without jam.
Keep refrigerated.

Eggnog Scones
Ingredients:
2 cups white whole wheat flour
½ cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
slight ¾ tsp coarse sea salt
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ cup salted butter
2 Tbl vegetable shortening
½ cup eggnog
1 large egg

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
In large bowl blend dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
Use a pastry blender and cut the butter and shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
In a small bowl whisk eggnog and egg together. Add to flour mixture, stirring until ingredients are just combined. If the dough seems dry, gradually add more eggnog.
On a lightly floured surface pat dough into a circle ¾ inch thick.
Cut into 8 wedges and place on prepared baking sheet.
Bake until a light golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes.

RESULTS: All I can say is: Fabulous. If you’ve never had Clotted Cream before, try our recipe for St. Louis Gummy Cream: it’s easy to make (just leave it in the oven for 8+ hours) and really, really makes the scones shine.

Enjoy & Happy Holidays!

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