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Mocha Scones + Giveaway

29 Nov

It’s fun when you’re inspired to make something, all because of one cool ingredient you acquire. So last month, Jason and I took a trip to Virginia since Jason was running the Marine Corps Marathon, plus we got to visit some family and have a little getaway. And praise God, we survived Hurricane Sandy with no damage and flew home without delay.

Now, while we lived in Northern VA a few years ago, one store I fell in love with was Trader Joe’s. So you can imagine I was stoked to stop in at the nearest location during our trip and grab a few treats to take home. Granted, they’ve recently built a few TJ’s in north Texas, but it’s still a bit of a drive from my home in the country.

Unfortunately, I was limited to things that could go in my carry on luggage. (darn, no cookie butter!) So I got a few tasty things like chocolate covered sunflower seeds and one of my new loves, a cinnamon sugar grinder. They also had a sugar, chocolate, and coffee bean grinder. Be still my heart! I had to buy it. My mind started thinking of all the delicious things this could be used with. Which (finally) leads me to this recipe – mocha scones.

I’m a big fan of scones so the first thing I wanted to make was a chocolate and coffee infused scone with some of this magical mixture sprinkled on top. I wanted to create a scone with the same rich flavor of a mocha, my go-to drink at coffee shops. Ladies and gentlemen, these scones are amazing. Don’t get me wrong, they’d be good by themselves, but grinding some of that sugar/coffee/chocolate on top adds another dimension.

So while at Trader Joe’s, I had you lovely blog readers in mind and picked up a spare to share. Plus, this is my 200th blog post (holy cow!) so I thought I’d make it extra special. To win this sweet little treat, you can:

1. (Mandatory Entry) Leave a comment on this blog post. It can be about anything, preferably telling me what you’d like to sprinkle the yummy sugar/chocolate/coffee on.
2.
 “Like” Beckster’s Laboratory on Facebook and leave a separate comment saying you’ve done so. (current followers can too!)
3. Subscribe to Beckster’s Laboratory and leave a separate comment saying you’ve done so. (current subscribers can too!)

You can enter the giveaway until midnight (central time) on December 10, 2012. I’ll pick a winner via a random number generator. Good luck!

Now on to the fabulous recipe…

Mocha Scones

Ingredients:
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 tsp instant coffee (or instant espresso)
1/3 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup chocolate chips
A sprinkle of sugar, chocolate, and coffee bean mixture

Yield: 8 scones

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a small bowl, whisk together the cream, egg, and vanilla. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, salt, and instant coffee. Stir to combine. Add the butter and mix into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse crumbs. (use a pastry blender or I just used the paddle attachment on my stand mixer) Mix in the chocolate chips and add the wet ingredients. Mix everything together until the dough comes together. If too dry, add a little more cream and if too wet, add a little more flour. (dough should be a little sticky)

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead a few times. Shape it into a circle (about 7-8 inches) and cut it into eight wedges. (I like to use a pizza cutter) Brush off any excess flour and place either on a lined baking sheet or in a scone pan. Grind some of the sugar/chocolate/coffee bean mixture onto the tops of the dough. (optional)

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges are firm and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in/on the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve while warm or store in a container for a few days, reheating as desired.

Source: Adapted from Joy of Baking

Giveaway: OXO Good Grips Egg Beater

14 Dec

Old fashioned egg beaters – do people still use them? I’d personally never used one so was very intrigued to give one a try. I have this image in my head of my grandmother using one while cooking and baking in her kitchen. But who says old fashioned egg beaters can’t make a come back? With OXO’s new product, I think they could!

OXO was kind enough to send me one of their new Good Grips Egg Beaters to try. Just like the name hints, the handle is soft and easy to grip, making the job super simple and comfortable. This product does a great job of combining the classic structure of an egg beater with slightly newer innovations. For example, the stainless steel beaters can simply pop out of the base to make tasting and cleaning easier. The base also easily detaches with the simple push of a button and is dishwasher safe! There is also a “bridge” between the two beaters that helps it rest against the bowl, keeping everything balanced and helping to relieve any possible arm strain.

If you couldn’t tell, I really like this product! I used it to make the quiche in the previous post, along with whipping up an omelet this morning with some of my extra spinach and a handful of parmesan cheese. And even though it’s specifically called an egg beater, it can be used for so much more, like whipping cream and mixing batters.

So, thanks to the sweet folks at OXO, I have another Good Grips Egg Beater to give away to one of you! There are four easy ways to enter:

1. REQUIRED: Simply leave a comment on this post telling me if you’ve ever used an egg beater before.

2. “Like” OXO on Facebook and leave a separate comment saying you’ve done so.

3. Subscribe to Beckster’s Laboratory (on the left hand side of the site) and leave a separate comment saying you’ve done so.

4. “Like” Beckster’s Laboratory on Facebook and leave a separate comment saying you’ve done so.

The giveaway will be closed at midnight on December 25, 2011. (Texas time!) The winner will be randomly selected, announced, and contacted soon after. Good luck!

*This is not a paid promotion – the egg beaters were provided at no cost from OXO as part of their blogger outreach program

The Shiner Series: Giveaway Winner!

13 Jul

Congrats to Deborah, the winner of the Shiner goodies! I’ll contact you via email to get your contact information. Hope you enjoy – and thanks to all who entered!

And for your enjoyment, check out some of the fun Shiner Light Blonde commercials that have been airing this summer:

See even more here: Shiner Films

The Shiner Series: Giveaway!

7 Jul

Hey everyone! So, this is the last post regarding my lovely trip to Shiner. My awesome husband recorded a few video clips during our time there and complied them into a short video if you’re interested in watching:

 

Also, there is a sweet Shiner giveaway! One lucky reader will receive a Shiner cookbook and a set of Shiner coasters – woohoo! Straight from Shiner, TX!

Here’s the name of the game:

To enter, you HAVE to leave a comment on this blog post and make sure your email is somehow attached. Here’s what you need to comment on:

1. Visit www.shiner.com and tell me what your favorite brew is – or – if you’ve never had Shiner beers, tell me which one you’d most like to try!

2. Additional Entry: Subscribe to my blog and leave a comment saying that you’ve done so (if you’re a current subscriber, simply comment saying so)

It’s easy as that! The giveaway will be closed on Tuesday, July 12 at 12:00 midnight. I’ll use a random number generator to pick the winner and post the info on Wednesday, July 13th. Good luck! And as they say in Shiner…Prosit! 🙂

Shout Out: Buffalo Wild Wings + Giveaway!

7 Sep

One of my favorite places to eat is Buffalo Wild Wings. I was never a big wing eater till being introduced to BWW. My husband and I were fortunate enough to have one a few minutes away when we were first married, and we’d go every Thursday night for their 60 cent boneless wing special. Then when we lived in Virginia, there wasn’t one nearby and we were super deprived. But luckily now, we have one about 20 minutes away so we get to fulfill our craving about every other week.

Now, if you aren’t familiar with Buffalo Wild Wings, besides wings, they have all kinds of salads, sandwiches, and appetizers on the menu. For the wings, they have 14 delicious sauces to choose from. I usually stuck with my favorites and occasionally branched out to try a new one. But for the past few months, I decided to be ambitious and try every flavor so I could truly compare them and pick my favorites. This past week, I finally finished and can honestly say I’ve tried every flavor. My husband can vouch for the fact that I saved the Blazin’ flavor for last and was a bit intimidated by it. But with a big glass of milk in hand, I even scarfed down the hottest of flavors.

So after trying all the sauces, I can safely say that my taste buds prefer the medium range of flavors. My two absolute favorites are Honey BBQ and Asian Zing. Honey BBQ has a big more of a kick than plain BBQ and gives you a sweet/savory flavor to die for. Asian Zing has more heat, but the combo of peppers, soy, and ginger is amazing!

Now I want to hear from you! I’m curious…what is your favorite BWW sauce flavor? Whether you’ve tried them all or have a tried-and-true favorite, let me know! I’ve set up a poll below for you to share.

And, because I’ve been dying to host a giveaway of some sort, I decided to give away a bottle of BWW sauce of your choice! Here’s how to enter: Visit Buffalo Wild Wings and pick your favorite sauce. Leave a comment on this post with your already favorite flavor or the flavor you’d love to try. Please include your email address so I can contact you if you win. The contest will be open until Thursday, September 9th at 5:00 PM and the winner will be picked by a random number generator. Get an extra entry by subscribing to my blog. (include an extra comment for this too) Good luck!

Disclaimer: Buffalo Wild Wings did not compensate me in any way for this review and giveaway. I just love their product and want to share it with yall! : )