Sunday, July 9, 2017

Welcome Victoria Hamilton!

A warm welcome to our guest Victoria Hamilton. Victoria writes two bestselling series, the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries and Merry Muffin Mysteries. She is also the bestselling author of Regency and historical romance as Donna Lea Simpson. Her next release is MUFFIN TO FEAR. Victoria always has terrific giveaways and today is no exception. Be sure to leave a comment with your email address to enter.

Rosemary Cheddar Apple Scones

When I was a kid I could not understand my father’s food preferences. He would take a perfectly good slice of apple pie and ruin it with a slab of cheddar cheese! Yuck! Of course, the man’s favorite sandwich was a Spanish onion slice a half inch thick and as big around as his fist between two slices of white bread, so, cheddar on apple pie was not so strange. There are lots of people who like cheese on their apple pie, so it seems that apples and cheddar go together. I, however, have a sweet tooth, so apple pie, in my world, is topped by ice cream or whipped cream. I haven’t changed, however I do get savory and sweet as a combination now.

The notion for the scones came to me when I saw how fast my rosemary was growing this summer! It’s gorgeous, but I needed to trim it back. Being frugal by nature, I trimmed my lovely rosemary plant, took the cuttings into the kitchen, then proceeded to buy twelve dollars worth of good cheddar, a couple of bucks of butter and a four dollar container of heavy cream to make these Rosemary Cheddar Apple Scones.

They are worth every penny!

Apple Cheddar Scones with Rosemary
(makes 12 – 15, depending on how you roll them out and cut them)

1 ½ cup all purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup butter
4 oz old cheddar, grated
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup peeled, shredded apples, packed down (about 2 - 3 small-to-medium apples)
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon cold milk or water (if necessary)

Cut the cold butter into small cubes, then cut into the flour using a pastry cutter or your fingers, breaking down the cubes of butter just until the pieces are smaller than a pea. The mixture should resemble coarse crumbles.

Stir in the grated cheddar, baking powder, salt, sugar and rosemary.

In a separate bowl combine the shredded apples and the beaten egg. Gently fold this with the flour mixture in a large bowl until the dough just comes together. If it’s too dry to do this (it was for me) add a splash of milk or cream. I used 35% cream because… well, why not? Do not overmix. Once the dough comes together, form it into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for at least 30 minutes (or up to 24 hours).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Press out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a roughly square or rectangular shape about ¾ inch tall. Cut using a sharp cookie cutter or biscuit cutter. I love my antique biscuit cutter because it gives a pretty edge to the scones. Or… you can form it into a circle and cut it into 8 wedges, separate the wedges on a parchment paper lined baking sheet at least 1 inch apart from one another. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until tops are golden-brown. Let cool slightly before serving.

I made these and they turned out delicious, but… I think I broke the cardinal rule of baking; I didn’t make sure my baking powder was fresh. These should have risen more. I’d be interested in your results. However… OMG, the combination of the cheddar and apple was to die for. Now I get it; my Daddy would be pleased, and he would enjoy these delicious scones.

Clearly I love using vintage kitchen tools and serving pieces. The pink teacup is Depression glass, a rare 1940s Canadian pattern by Dominion called Saguenay. The shredder is from the 1930s, patented as the Wonder Shredder, and the lovely saucer is so pretty, but I have no clue of the pattern. Does anyone know what this pretty little pattern with the bird and a little bee is called? The knife is unusual; I do love a different knife, but I really have no information about it other than that!

So… enjoy the scones, everybody, with or without the tea, and comment to enter the giveaway!

Comment to enter to win a copy of Muffin to Fear, a Cozy up to a great mystery! mug,  bookmark, a Cozy up to a great mystery! pen and fridge magnet. Open to US and Canadian addresses only! Entries will be open until Midnight, July 12th.

I hope you all enjoy Muffin to Fear, #5 in the Merry Muffin Mysteries! Here’s a little about it:
About Muffin to Fear
In the latest from the national bestselling author of Much Ado About Muffin, newlywed baker Merry Wynter has some unwanted guests looking for ghosts at Wynter Castle…

While Merry is distracted by her quickly planned marriage to Virgil Grace and a blissful honeymoon in New York, her friend Pish invites the ghost-hunting crew from the TV show Haunt Hunt to investigate Merry’s home, Wynter Castle. Merry soon discovers that not only is the crew out of sync, there are so many feuds and squabbles, it’s a miracle they get a show produced at all.

It all goes from bad to worse when the show’s psychics claim to have contact with people murdered on Merry’s property. When two cast members are found dead, Merry and Virgil must figure out who’s picking off the Haunt Hunt team before their hard-earned happily ever after is cut short.

About Victoria Hamilton:
Victoria Hamilton is the national bestselling author of two bestselling series, the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries and Merry Muffin Mysteries. She is also the bestselling author of Regency and historical romance as Donna Lea Simpson.

Victoria loves to cook and collects vintage kitchen paraphernalia, teacups and teapots, and almost anything that catches her fancy! She loves to read, especially mystery novels, and enjoys good tea and cheap wine, the company of friends, and has a newfound appreciation for opera. She enjoys crocheting and beading, but a good book can tempt her away from almost anything… except writing!

Merry Muffin Mysteries Facebook Page: