Saturday, June 6, 2015

Donna Bell's Bake Shop and Cooking Ruts

I've been a big fan of NCIS since close to the beginning and have probably watched every episode in the first 5 seasons 3 or 4 times each.  While Gibbs and McGee are my favorite characters Abby is always entertaining.  I love that they made her more than just a caricature and I keep hoping to hear more about the subplot regarding her brother.

So when I hard that Pauley Perrette had a cookbook coming out with her friends and business partners, Darren Greenblatt and Matthew Sandusky, it immediately went on my wishlist.

And for my birthday I got a nice shiny copy of Donna Bell's Bake Shop.  It's beautiful with lots of photographs and bunches of personal stories.  The recipes are plentiful and varied with a handful of savory mixed in with the sweet.

I got this book at the beginning of May and it's now the beginning of June and I have made nothing from the book.  Not one thing.  Because soon after I got this book the dreaded cooking rut struck.  While not quite as bad as the feared reading rut it's still not much fun.  The cooking rut shows up every year around this time and I've yet to figure out a way to fight it.  I just don't want to cook.  I'm not interested.  I don't want to spend the time.  Nothing looks good.  Everyone's schedules are busy and there's so much more time that gets spent outside.  When you've been outside in 90+ temps with high humidity the last thing you want to do is spend the next hour or two cooking.  Or at least I don't.  But I'm starting to get bored with my rut and I'm starting to really miss baking so I picked up Donna Bell again and found a recipe that might just break me out of that rut.

Banana Scones with Orange Glaze.  The bananas are warm and comforting while the orange provides a nice hit of freshness.  Plus the recipe looks fairly simple:

4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into very small pieces
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon banana extract (optional) (I won't be using this mostly because I don't have any)
1 ripe banana,

Orange Glaze:
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
5 tablespoons fresh orange juice

In a bowl, whisk together the sugar and orange juice until smooth.

For the scones:
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.  Add the cold butter pieces and quickly press between your fingertips to break up the butter and incorporate it into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Place the milk, heavy cream, sour cream, vanilla extract, and banana extract (if using) in another bowl.  Whisk together until the sour cream is fully incorporated and the mixture is smooth.  Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in all the liquid.  Add the diced banana and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together.  Do not over mix.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Heat the oven to 400.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Lightly flour a work surface and place the dough on it.  Cut the dough into 2 equal pieces.  Wrap one piece in plastic wrap and set aside in the refrigerator.  Press the dough down with your fingertips and flatten to an 8-inch circle, about 1/2 inch thick.  Cut the circle into 8 equal wedges and place them on one of the prepared baking sheets about 1/2 inch apart.  Bake the scones until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes and drizzle with 1/2 the Orange Glaze.  Serve warm.  Repeat with remaining piece of dough and remaining Orange Glaze.

Hopefully these will help break me out of the cooking rut and I'll come back and review this cookbook fully.  There's tons of scones and rolls and biscuits that look divine.  If you try this before me come back and let me know how it goes!  I may need a strong push to get out of this rut!

I'm linking up with Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads


  1. Wish I had one of those scones to go with my coffee right now! There are times when I just don't want to cook either... sometimes a new cookbook gets me back on track. Hope it works for you.

  2. I think a cooking rut at the beginning of summer seems very normal. You're busy with kids and the end of school stuff and this is when the real hot begins. And the humid, along with the hot. It's hard enough to want to do anything, but heating up the oven - not so much. The scones sound good, although I am not much of a banana lover or an orange lover. Now watermelon, cranberries, peaches - sign me up.

    We love NCIS too. My husband still hasn't forgiven them for killing Kate. Still. I've told him to get over it. She's wearing great shoes and cutting up bodies on Rizzoli and Isles. I love the idea of this cookbook and might need to have it just because I do love Abby. My favorite characters are Gibbs (who doesn't love Jethro?) and I'm actually very fond of Tony.

  3. I wish I had sour cream or yogurt in the house cause I'd be making these *today*! Yum. I know what you mean about getting into a cooking rut. It happens to me sometimes to.

  4. Banana, banana, banana. I love me some banana. Send me some scones, yea? :D
    Happy reading!
    Brittany @ This is the Story of My(Reading) Life

  5. i love that show when we still had TV feed. Who couldn't love Jethro and Abby?! This looks like a cool book, I have seen it reviewed at some other sites. A definite library check out for me and I may buy it if enough recipes appeal.
    Anything with bananas float my boat!

  6. Those sound delicious. I never thought of putting orange and banana together, so I'm interested to hear how they turn out!

  7. I'm always trying variations on my scones, and these sound scrumptious. Love the combination of banana with orange glaze. The ones I'm eating now have bits of kumquat in them, with ginger and cinnamon.

  8. Oh my, those scones look delicious. Am on my ipad so just snapped a copy of the recipe. I might not get to it before you, but you never know. Summer weather is not so good for cooking but here its winter so.... The actual book sounds wonderful. I don't watch the show but I think the cooking book would stand alone.

  9. These sound yummy. Great cover.

  10. I'm in a cooking rut but don't think baking would get me out of it. Cheers from Carole's chatter

  11. I saw Pauley on CBS This Morning talking about this book and I was surprised that they have a shop here in NYC, I had never heard of it before. I should check it out.

  12. Oh I love her! Had no idea she was doing the cooking thing. That sounds pretty yummy. Hope they're good! And boo for the cooking rut. I've had that happen too. Mine's usually late Summer when I'm pretty much just done with EVERYTHING because of the heat. lol

  13. I never equated Pauley Perrette with cooking but this recipe looks fabulous, not the least because I am a scone hound. Thanks for giving this to me!

  14. What a great birthday present-surprsiningly I rarely receive cookbooks as b'day presents.