ice cream

Cranberry Vanilla Bean Scones

We’re back with another exciting month of delicious President’s Choice PC Black Label Collection products.  Let’s take a closer look at this month’s box.

 

PC BLACK LABEL PURE PEPPERMINT EXTRACT

A must-have during the holiday season and colder weather months, add a drop or two of this refreshing pure peppermint extract to hot chocolate, cappuccino, cookies, candies, icings, and sweetened whipped cream. It’s also great massaged onto your temples to relieve a headache!

PC BLACK LABEL FIG CABERNET WINE JELLY

This sweet wine jelly is infused with ripe, sweet figs and dry, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon, a red wine with rich black currant and dark cherry notes. It’s the perfect pairing this holiday season, whether it’s a part of an appetizer cheese tray or brushed onto a plum or pear tart for dessert.

PC BLACK LABEL MADAGASCAR BOURBON VANILLA BEAN

Known for its superior quality, the Madagascar-Bourbon vanilla bean is the most popular of all the vanilla varieties. It is highly fragrant, with desirable thin, oil-rich skin, and has sweet, smooth flavours and aromas.

I have had a chance to try these products in various recipes and I must say that my favourite item this month has been the PC Black Label Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean. 20181103101116_img_1556.jpg As a Pastry Chef, this is a highly coveted item that I love to work with and always reach for before using any extracts. The flavour is rich and shines in any sweet or savory dish that it is used in. For this month, I decided to showcase my love for cranberries and vanilla bean in the form of scones. I love this time of year with the fresh cranberries and the holiday season fast approaching, these are perfect to make for a weekend brunch.  They are sure to please everyone.  If you’re not a fan of cranberries, you can swap them out for blueberries or raspberries. I’m excited to be hosting a giveaway for next month’s PC Black Label Collection Black Box on my Instagram feed.  Read on for more information and how to enter below.  Good Luck! I hope you’ll enjoy the recipe and it becomes your favourite go-to breakfast dessert.  I would love to see your recreations using the hashtag, #hautesucre on your social media channels. Whether you’re a home chef or an aspiring foodie, the PC Black Label Collection makes it easy to unleash your culinary curiosity and get creative. Discover the entire collection and be inspired to #PlayWithYourFood at pc.ca/blacklabel.

*PC Black Label Collection December Black Box Instagram Giveaway*

Giveaway details will be posted on my Instagram account @hautesucre. Head on over to find the post of this Cranberry Vanilla Bean Scones Recipe to enter via the Instagram comments. Giveaway Rules:

  • The giveaway will be open for entries on Instagram from Monday November 26th, 2018 to Wednesday November 28, 2018 9:00PM EST.  Please follow the instructions in the Instagram post to enter.
  • The winner will be chosen randomly on the morning of Thursday November 29, 2018 and contacted via Instagram direct message.
  • The giveaway is open to residents of Canada only.

Cranberry Vanilla Bean Scones Recipe

Ingredients:

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 cup buttermilk

1 PC BLACK LABEL MADAGASCAR BOURBON VANILLA BEAN

1 tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp fleur de sel (sea salt)

1/2 cup cold PC BLACK LABEL NORMANDY STYLE UNSALTED CULTURED BUTTER cut into cubes

1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

orange zest (from 1 orange)

Topping:

2 tsp cream

2 tsp raw sugar

Finishing:

½ cup white chocolate, melted

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

For the Scones:
  1. Using a sharp paring knife, slice the vanilla bean lengthwise from tip to end. Use the back of the knife to scrape out the vanilla beans. *The vanilla bean pod can be reused and added to your sugar container to make vanilla scented sugar.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 2-3/4 cups flour, vanilla bean, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, orange zest and salt.
  3. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly and pea sized, do not overmix.
  4. Pour in the buttermilk and cranberries and stir with a fork until a soft, sticky dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface and, with floured hands, gently knead and shape the dough, adding more flour to prevent sticking as necessary until dough comes together.
  5. Pat out to a 9-inch (23 cm) circle or square as shown and cut into 12 wedges. Place on prepared baking sheet, at least 1-inch (2.5 cm) apart.
Topping:
  1. Brush tops of scones with heavy cream and sprinkle with raw sugar.
  2. Bake for 15 to 20 min, until puffed and golden.
  3. Let cool for at least 20 min on a wire rack.
  4. Melt the white chocolate in a heat proof bowl for 45-60 seconds on high in the microwave.
  5. Using the tines of a fork or the back of a spoon, drizzle the white chocolate over top of the scones. Let it set for a few minutes until the chocolate sets and is no longer runny. Enjoy!

(This post is sponsored by President’s Choice. I used their to PC Black Label Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean to make these scrumptious Cranberry Vanilla Bean Scones).

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Austin, Texas 

Recently, I had the amazing opportunity to visit Austin, Texas in partnership with Visit The USA, Official USA Travel Guide to American Holidays.

I had heard and researched great things about Austin’s food and music scene snd was really excited to visit as it would be my first time visiting Texas. I had little or no idea what to expect.

I flew into Austin on the first of September, expecting a cool, summer-is-almost over feel, but boy was I wrong! Upon leaving the airport, I was welcomed with a hot breeze, cowboy boots, and sweet southern music! The people were so friendly and helpful in directing me to my hotel downtown.

We checked into the Hilton Austin on 4th Street, close to the hustle and bustle of downtown Austin.

We enjoyed some drinks whilst admiring the city views from the 25th floor lounge before heading out for the night.

We had dinner reservations at the highly acclaimed Uchiko,  which serves upscale Japanese farmhouse cuisine. We had tried various menu items and the desserts were out of this world!

As a pastry chef, I enjoyed them immensely and appreciated the various techniques that were showcased. Overall, the service and food were excellent and the ambiance was lovely.

The following day, we had brunch at the Magnolia Cafe, a classic 24 hour eatery which serves Southwestern/Mexican food.  My particular favourites were the migas, huevos rancheros, sweet hibiscus ice teas and the yummy grapefruit mimosas. This place was full of locals and definitely a classic Austin eatery with good eats!

After brunch, we headed out to do some shopping on South Congress Avenue, a favourite spot among tourists. We visited some interesting eclectic shops filled with a wide vaiety from vintage props to old fashioned candies to Mexican dolls.

After purchasing some cool souvenirs and candy, we headed out in search of tacos for lunch.

I had heard about the infamous Torchy’s Tacos and couldn’t wait to try them.  My favorites included the Baja Shrimp and the Democrat!  What a fun place!

We continued shopping along the South Congress strip after brunch stopping in some very nice retail clothing shops when all of a sudden, it started to storm like crazy.  That’s Austin weather for you, sunny one minute and hailing rain the next!

We ran for cover and ducked into a cute coffee shop called Mañana, a great little shop with a cozy atmosphere and very chic vibe. I tried some silky cortados with strawberry Macarons. Yum! I’m so happy that we stumbled upon it!

After a full day of walking under the Texan sun, we headed back to the hotel to relax and enjoy some snacks and cocktails in the Hilton hotel’s lounge.

Dinner was at the infamous Barley Swine headed by Chef Bryce (he was named Food & Wine’s best chef in 2010.) We were seated at the Chef’s table with a great view of the kitchen. It was a delight to watch the magic of the kitchen happen right before our eyes. Beautiful plates of food being served one course after the other.

Some of my favourites included the Hatch chile cheese pretzel, Akaushi Ribeye with corn pudding and bone marrow marrow hash as well as dessert; the lime mallow sorbet with cucamelon and olive oil cake and the Mango Koji rice pudding. A not to be missed restaurant!

After dinner, we headed back to the hotel and crossed through the infamous 6th Street in downtown Austin.  The hustle and bustle of the bars, clubs and loud music keeps this street alive until the wee hours of the morning. Popular amongst the students from University of Texas and tourists alike.

We reached our destination Voodoo Doughnuts, a 24 hour bakeshop. I finally had the chance to try these colourful, creative and quirky doughnuts and they did not disappoint!

The next day we walked our way around the city and explored Lady Bird Lake where we walked along the trail to the boardwalk. The lake is beautiful and it’s a great place where locals go to workout, kayak or stroll.

After a lovely walk through the city and visiting the Texas State Capitol, we ventured over to Second Bar & Kitchen for some amazing cocktails paired with a burger, fried chicken and biscuits for lunch. One of my favourite spots.

After lunch, we stopped into Con’ Olio Oils & Vinegars,  a lovely local foodie shop in downtown Austin selling a wide range of high quality olive oils and balsamic vinegars. We learned about how they are made and had an opportunity to do a tasting. We puchased a few lovely flavours such as Grapefruit balsamic and South African Chili oil. Can’t wait to pair them with my meals.

A great place to relax and grab a drink is the historical Moonshine Patio Bar serving classic American food and drinks. With an equally delicious cocktail menu, it’s hard not to find a favourite. I’m still dreaming and missing this Bourbon Renewal!🍹❤ The Bourbon Renewal quickly became my favourite drink which is made with Rye, créme de cassis, lemon and Angostura! Yum!😋

Moonshine Patio Bar also serve a tasty buffet style brunch on Sundays worth checking out, but get there early as the line ups can be very long (mostly filled with locals, they know good food!)

Another dinner restaurant worth mentioning is Emmer & Rye by Chef Kevin Fink on the ever popular Rainey St. We chose this restaurant as Chef Fink was named Best Chef of 2016 by Food & Wine.

Dishes are served small plate and dimsum style. Truly farm to table cuisine worth sharing that showcases up to 15 different kinds of grains milled in their kitchen, which demonstrates Chef Fink’s  passion for incorporating local ingredients into his cuisine.

For dessert, I tried the cocoa bean ice cream with red fife cookies. A great twist on a classic with this hearty grain, a nice highlight dessert on my trip.

Further down Rainey Street there are more bars and food trucks that are worth checking out for quick fare ranging from Grilled Cheese to Indian to Greek. It’s a really lively street lined with bars and lounges, similar to 6th Street but with a slightly older vibe (post graduate crowd).

Another cafe that is hip and upcoming is Launderette, which is a converted gas station serving gourmet new American fare such as Fried chicken and Asparagus eggs Benny.  The food was hearty and delicious with another great cocktail list, including the Rose Grapefruit cocktail which was the perfect accompaniment to the hot weather.

Not to be missed and truly Texan is the BBQ scene! While there are plenty of places to choose from,  I had the pleasure of trying La Barbecue and it did not disappoint but be prepared to wait as there are long wait times, but it’s worth it!

Be sure to try the Valrhona 70% chocolate gelato from Gelateria Gemelli next door. It’s the perfect afternoon treat!

Austin was a great experience for a city girl like me. The food scene is amazing and the city is really up and coming. There is new construction everywhere and you can feel the tech boom moving in.

It has a great vibe and I highly recommend visiting it, especially if you’re into the music scene. There are many amazing music festivals that I would love to catch on my next trip, until next time!

A special thank you to Visit The USA and Visit Austin for this opportunity and the hospitable staff at the Hilton Austin for a great stay.