The scenes from the Japan tsunami and earthquake were horrifying and heartbreaking, and from where I stand in Central Texas it can feel like absolutely nothing can be done to help out. Images of waters washing away entire towns can quickly fall away to the latest celebrity gossip or sporting event, and all the while us food bloggers are talking about what we’re having for dinner.
But luckily, selfish food bloggers are few and far between. I saw that when many bloggers came together after the Haiti earthquake to produce multiple cookbooks, I see it every year when the Share our Strength bake sale rolls around, and I see it every day on Frosting for the Cause. We may like to cook. We may celebrate pig in ways that most people consider obsessive, we may make a few too many chocolate-drizzled desserts. But we’re for each other.
The moment Bake for Japan was mentioned, several Austin bloggers jumped and began putting together Austin Bakes for Japan, a bake sale fundraiser to assist survivors of the recent tragedies in Japan. More than 70 individual home bakers and dozens of local bakeries and businesses are coming together this Saturday, April 2.
All proceeds for the event will be going to AmeriCares, a nonprofit that is already working with relief efforts in Japan. Items will be sold by donation only, so bring your wallet and come hungry. There will be something for everyone, including treats for those who are vegan or gluten-free.
Austin Bakes for Japan has five locations:
Downtown: Woof Gang Bakery Austin, 1204 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78703 (10am-2pm)
North Central: Foreign & Domestic, 306 E. 53rd Street, Austin, TX 78751 (10am-2pm)
South: Hotel San Jose, 1316 South Congress Avenue, Austin, TX 78704 (10am-2pm)
East: Nomad Bar, 1213 Corona Drive, Austin, TX 78723 (10am-2pm)
West: Shops at Mira Vista, 2785 Bee Cave Road, Suites 336 & 341, Austin, 78746 (10am-5pm)
I’ll be in Madison for the weekend getting fitted for a bridesmaid dress and hanging out with my oldest friends, but I couldn’t possibly pass up the opportunity to provide something for this sale. I knew there would be plenty of sweet stuff, so I wanted to try to cover the breakfast crowd.
One of my favorite things for breakfast is scones, especially if they actually taste how scones are supposed to, not those things that are essentially triangular muffins at certain coffee shops. Icing? No thank you. Scones are made for butter, clotted cream, or jam. And just to make things easy, why not put the jam right into the dough?
Scones are easier to make than most people think. The main tricks are to use cold butter and to use a light touch when working the dough.
For these I used some jam I had made last summer. You can use fresh fruit by swapping in 3/4 cup crushed blackberries, adding 1 tablespoon chopped basil, and about 1/2 cup of sugar, depending on how tart your berries are.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces cold butter, 1 cup/2 sticks
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup blackberry basil jam
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Sift together flours, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Cut butter into small chunks and then cut into flour with two knives or a pastry cutter, until the butter pieces are no larger than a pea. Form a well in the center. Beat together eggs and pour into well. Stir until it starts to come together, then add in jam and mix until it is incorporated. The dough should not be sticky.
- Dump the dough out onto a flour-covered counter and knead just a bit to get the dough to stay together. Divide in half, then half again. Pat each section into a flat circle. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, slice each circle into 6 pieces.
- Place scones 1 inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 24
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 200Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 227mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 3gSugar: 1gProtein: 5g