Browsing Tag



Perfect Vanilla Scones

August 18, 2014

Vanilla Scone | Espresso and Cream
My sister-in-law, Ali, is one of the kindest, most genuine people I’ve ever met. She married into the Hofmeyer family two years ago when she married Joe’s brother, Jason, and I think I can speak for the whole family when I say that Jason found a fantastic wife in Ali.

Some of you may also remember that when we were pregnant with baby #2 Ali and I were supposed to be due only 6 days apart from one another. We spent a lot of time texting back and forth that first trimester and I think I can speak for both of us when I say that our miscarriage was devastating and difficult knowing how to navigate the waters while she was still pregnant and I no longer was. To Ali’s credit, she was so gracious and compassionate in those months following, always careful of what she posted on social media while our wounds were still fresh and sharing just enough with us but not too much so that it would hurt even more.

In the months following our miscarriage I desperately wanted to figure out how to be happy for both of my sister-in-laws and their pregnancies while also mourning and grieving our own loss. Joe and I have clung to the verse, “Laugh with those who laugh, mourn with those who mourn,” and I wanted nothing more than to be able to do just that with our family. I found that doing things in spite of my pain was the most healing; I think the phrase I actually used was, “Every time I can be happy for someone despite my sadness, it’s like I’m saying a big ‘Screw you!’ to the devil, who wants to steal my ability to be joyful for others and make me bitter”.

Part of that process included sending the maternity clothes I had purchased to Ali and planning to throw her a baby shower in Minnesota later in the summer. Of course, at the time I would have never imagined we would be pregnant again by the time the shower rolled around, but there was something remarkably sweet about throwing a shower this weekend, celebrating Ali and Jason’s baby girl, remembering our own lost little one and feeling so thankful and joyful for the life that God has blessed us with in His own timing.

The spread at the shower included scones with an assortment of toppers such as jam and butter. Of all the breakfast pastries I suggested making, Ali’s vote went to scones. Her only request? They needed to be dense and slightly crumbly and crisp around the edges, not fluffy and cakey like some bakery-style scones in the states.

I tested a lot of recipes in the weeks leading up to the shower and realized that there are a lot of people who have no idea how to make a proper scone. Finally, when I was totally frustrated with scone recipe testing I consulted Desserts by the Yard, one of my favorite baking books. Sherry Yard never fails to come through for me, and this time her scone recipe totally knocked it out of the park. If you’re looking for a truly lovely scone, I would highly recommend this recipe. They soften a bit the next day, so make them the day of for best results!

Vanilla Scones 1 | Espresso and Cream

Perfect Vanilla Scones
Serves: 12
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, cut into small pieces
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup milk (I used whole milk)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Additional sugar for dusting
  1. Heat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Stir until well-combined. Add the butter to the flour mixture and use your hands to break the butter up into small pieces. Then, once the butter has been broken up into small pieces, use your fingers to flatter the pieces of butter into thin discs.
  3. In a small bow, stir together the heavy cream, milk, egg and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Use your hand to knead the dough gently 2 to 3 times or just until dough comes together.
  4. Turn dough out onto a floured countertop and shape into a rectangle 1-inch thick. Cut into 12 small squares (about 1½ by 1½ inches or so) and place on baking sheet. Dust with additional sugar, if desired.
  5. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until scones are rich golden brown around the edges. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet. Cool completely on wire cooling rack.



Berry Breakfast Cobbler

June 11, 2014

berry breakfast cobbler 4 | espresso and cream

I love breakfast more than any other meal of the day. We’ve been over this before, right? I tend to get pretty protective of my mornings, especially slow and lazy weekend mornings when Joe and I can watch the morning news and drink a pot of coffee together and eat breakfast with the sun shining through our big picture window. Although I love waking up early, even on the weekends, I don’t like to be rushed into action first thing in the morning. I’m all about having a little time to wake up and settle into the day.

If you’ve eaten dinner at my house any time in the last year and a half, the chances are pretty good that I’ve served you berry cobbler for dessert. This recipe from Sprouted Kitchen is one of my absolute favorite recipes because it’s easy, slightly healthier than a traditional cobbler and I always have the ingredients on hand. Usually I use frozen mixed berries in place of the blueberries and whatever Greek yogurt we happen to have in the fridge.

The other day I found myself thinking about that dessert and how fun it would be to have berry cobbler for breakfast. Since the base of any fruit dessert is, well, fruit, I figured it couldn’t be that hard to make a slightly indulgent yet totally breakfast-acceptable dish. And you know what? I was right.

berry breakfast cobbler 2 | espresso and cream
This Berry Breakfast Cobbler is going into regular rotation at our house, I can just feel it now. It’s perfect for breakfast, but Joe and I have also been eating it after dinner as a healthier way to ward off that need for something sweet at the end of the day. It’s packed with antioxidants from the berries and whole grains from the flour and oats, which add a hearty, earthy taste and texture in the best possible way.

Although I’m not one to typically use a lot of low-calorie sweeteners in my baking, I did sweeten the berry mixture with stevia instead of sugar to keep the calories in check and prevent this dish from becoming a morning sugar bomb in disguise. If you don’t want to use stevia, I would suggest swapping 1/2 cup of granulated sugar for the stevia in this recipe. I’m sure it would be every bit (if not more) delightful.

Berry Breakfast Cobbler
Recipe type: breakfast, dessert, snack
Serves: 6
  • Cobbler Topping
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup old fashioned oats
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 (6 oz) Greek yogurt (plain or some type of berry flavor - I used Greek blueberry)
  • Berry Base
  • 6 cups frozen mixed berries
  • ¼ cup granulated stevia (such as Truvia)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Spray a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar and baking powder together until well-combined. Work the butter into the flour mixture with your hands until the butter is in very small pieces and mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add in the Greek yogurt and stir until just combined (mixture will be lumpy.) Set aside.
  3. Toss together the berries, stevia and 3 tablespoons flour. Transfer mixture to the prepared pie plate. Sprinkle topping over berry mixture.
  4. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until berry mixture is bubbly and topping is browned and crispy. Cool at least 30 minutes before serving.



10 Grain Banana Muffins

May 27, 2014

10 Grain Banana Muffins (3) | Espresso and Cream

Yesterday afternoon Joe and I returned from Kansas City where we spent the weekend with Joe’s brother, Jason and his wife, Ali. Since it’s a seven hour car ride for us to get there, we don’t see them nearly as often as we would like, so it felt like a treat to have a long weekend to spend with them. The guys got to golf and go to the driving range while Ali and I ate at a great vegan/vegetarian restaurant and did a little shopping. And I finally got that start-of-summer pedicure I’ve been talking about for the last month.

Before we left on our little road trip, I made a bunch of healthy snacks for the car ride. It’s a habit I’ve gotten into in order to save money on the road and prevent myself from getting hangry while we are traveling. Trust me, snack are always a good idea. And it’s even better when those snacks are healthy.

10 Grain Banana Muffins (2) | Espresso and Cream

These muffins are much lower in sugar than a traditional muffin, and I could easily see them being served alongside soup or roasted veggies when spread with a little butter and sprinkle with salt. However, my preference for these muffins is to serve them with sweeter toppings, such as almond butter or a drizzle of honey. In addition to being packed with bananas, they’re also made with 10-grain hot cereal, rolled oats and almond milk. They would make a great breakfast or a snack in lunches throughout the week!

10 Grain Banana Muffins
Recipe type: Breakfast, Snack
Serves: 15
These 10-grain muffins are just slightly sweet and so good for you, too! I like to make a batch at the beginning of the week for snacks and quick breakfasts, especially slathered with peanut butter or almond butter for a boost of protein!
  • 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 large egg
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup oil (I used canola but for a more savory flavor, you could use light olive oil)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1½ cups uncooked 10-grain hot cereal (I tested with Bob's Red Mill brand)
  • 1¼ cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 15 standard-sized muffin cups with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the mashed bananas, egg, sugar, oil and vanilla until well combined.
  3. Stir in the 10 grain cereal, followed by the almond milk.
  4. In a second bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to 10 grain cereal mixture. Stir until just combined.
  5. Spoon about ¼ to ⅓ cup batter into the 15 prepared muffin cups. Bake 14 to 16 minutes or until muffins are golden brown and just baked through in the center. Cool 5 minutes in pan. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Serve with almond butter, peanut butter, butter or jam, if desired.




Caramel Chocolate Rolls

May 16, 2014

Caramel Chocolate Rolls 1 | Espresso and Cream

My husband is the first person to tell you he isn’t big on sweets and dessert. He would much rather have a beer after dinner than a piece of chocolate and almost always prefers savory over sweet. There are, of course, a few exceptions to the rule, like when pie or chocolate cake or caramel rolls are involved.

I made these caramel rolls on a whim the other day (on a weekday, actually!) as a way to mix things up from the typical oatmeal that I make for Joe every morning, but he’s also been enjoying them as a sweet treat in his lunch boxes and after dinner. I mean, seriously, I don’t want to brag but they were pretty darn delicious, filled with cinnamon sugar and butter and drizzled with chocolate warm from the oven. I shared this photo on Instagram last week (which is pretty much my favorite way to interact online these days) and it seems that I’m not the only person who loves caramel rolls with chocolate.

Caramel Chocolate Rolls 2 | Espresso and CreamThe dough recipe I used was inspired by this recipe from AllRecipes. I made this dough the first time as hamburger buns (with a little more salt) and they were amazing. And since I was on a roll, I kept going and made sweet rolls, too. So this weekend I hope you take the time to sit back, relax and maybe make something that takes a little extra time to prepare but is totally worth the effort.

Caramel Chocolate Rolls 3 | Espresso and Cream

Caramel Chocolate Rolls
Recipe type: breakfast
Serves: 9
  • Dough
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 packet (0.25 oz) rapid-rise yeast
  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour (plus additional for kneading and flouring the counter)
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Filling
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • Topping
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, combine water, yeast and 1 cup of the flour. Whisk until well combined and foamy. Let sit 5 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the egg, butter, sugar and salt. Add mixture to yeast mixture in mixing bowl. Whisk until well combined.
  3. Add in the remaining flour. Use the dough hook on low speed for 5 to 6 minutes or until dough is soft and flexible but not sticky.
  4. Place dough in a large clean bowl sprayed with cooking spray or brushed with oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and place in a draft-free place (I like to warm my oven up slightly, turn it off and then place the bowl of dough in the slightly warmed oven) for 1 hour or until dough is doubled in size.
  5. Punch down dough and knead a couple times. Heat oven to 350°F. Roll dough out onto a floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll into a 20x12-inch rectangle.
  6. Spread butter onto dough, leaving ½ inch around edges. In small bowl, combine the brown sugar, sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over the butter.
  7. Starting on the long end of the dough, roll into a log, pinching the edges to seal. Cut dough into 9 rolls. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9x9-inch or 8x8-inch square pan.
  8. Bake 16 to 22 minutes or until rolls are baked through and just golden brown around the edges. Immediately turn rolls upside down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with the melted chocolate. Serve warm.



Chia-Chai Vega Protein Pudding {Giveaway!}

April 30, 2014

Chia Vega Protein Pudding | Espresso and Cream

Now that the weather is getting a little warmer and summer is right around the corner, I’ve been thinking more about warm-weather meals and snacks. Okay, it’s still rainy and chilly in Minnesota, but I’m anticipating summer weather soon! For me, that means drinking lots of smoothies and eating lots of chilled snacks, like chia pudding.

A few weeks ago I picked up a new-to-me vegan protein powder and was really turned off by the flavor of the powder. Usually, I’m a total Vega devotee when it comes to protein powders and nutritional shakes, and I seriously regretted my decision to spend some major cash on a competitor’s product that I didn’t care for at all. The good news? After sharing my misfortune with the Vega team, they offered to send me a jar of my favorite Vega One Vanilla-Chai Nutritional Shake and host a giveaway for you on Espresso and Cream! (see more about that giveaway below)

When my Vega arrived I was excited to put it to good use. A few nutritional highlights about the Vega One Nutritional Shake:
-15 g protein
-6 g fiber
-1.5 g Omega 3
-Dairy, gluten and soy-free
-No artificial sugars or added sugar

Instead of making a smoothie (like I said, still too chilly) I made a chia pudding. I’ve been on a huge chia pudding kick lately, and adding a boost of protein with the Vega seemed like a natural addition. To smooth out the mixture, I blended the pudding in a food processor to break up some of the chia seeds and give the pudding a more pudding-like texture. Oh, and I added in a little almond butter as well because almond butter makes everything better, right?!

Chia Vega Protein Pudding 2 | Espresso and Cream

Now let’s get to the giveaway, shall we? The Vega team sent along a little starter package to give to one lucky E&C reader. It includes:
-5 day supply of Vega One in their most popular flavors (vanilla, chocolate and berry)
-Recipe book
-$5 coupon for your next purchase of a Vega product
-Water/smoothie bottle
-Reusable Vega tote bag
-1 box Vega One Nutrition Bars (in your flavor of choice)

You have three ways to enter! The giveaway is open from now until Monday, May 5th at 5 am. I’ll announce a winner later next week. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Chia-Chai Vega Protein Pudding
Recipe type: snack, breakfast
Serves: 4
  • ½ cup chia seeds
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 scoop Vega Vanilla Chai protein powder or other Vega flavor of choice
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Stevia to taste (I used 3 packets)
  • 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt (optional, omit if you want a vegan treat)
  1. In sealable plastic container, combine chia seeds, almond milk and protein powder. Stir until very well combined. Cover with lid and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
  2. After refrigeration, add chia mixture to blender or food processor along with the almond butter, vanilla extract and stevia to taste. Blend 2 to 3 minutes or until some of the chia seeds are broken up and almond butter is well combined. Mixture will only be semi-smooth and still have some whole chia seeds.
  3. Divide mixture into four bowls. Top each with ¼ cup Greek yogurt, if desired. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.


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