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Cooking at the Cove: More cozy recipes for cold winter days

Bring calm and comfort into your long winter’s day with a warm beverage and a spicy scone. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

The colder weather makes it seem more natural to just stay home. Life here at the cove rolls on serenely and I feel blessed that there really isn’t much of a need to go anywhere very often.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at [email protected]

Now that we finally have a layer of snow to go along with colder temperatures, you may be wanting more soups at your table. Onions caramelized in a bit of butter are the start to a delicious bowl of nourishment. Sauté and simmer, enhance with wine, sugar and thyme, brighten the pot with fresh lemon and sip.

If chicken stock is what you have on hand, use that, switching the wine to white. Serve this steamy bowlful with whatever bread and cheese you have.

Another scrumptious snack you can whip up quickly is a fresh batch of scones. Start with flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, a spice of your choosing, very cold butter and eggs, vanilla and a bit of liquid.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with a plain scone. (All the better to spread with butter, jam and cream.) However, this scone “canvas” can also be used to meld in other ingredients. Before adding extras into the dough, give them a little shake in a teaspoon or two of flour so these tidbits won’t sink to the bottom or float to the top of the scone.

This past week I chose the rind and juice of an orange and chocolate chips for Tuesday’s scones. For Friday, diced apple, cinnamon and walnuts went into the scone batter.

I like cutting the scones into wedges best, but you can also cut them into rounds or other shapes with large floured cookie cutters.

Regardless of the shape, before I bake my scones, I use a pastry brush to paint the dough with a thin coating of cream for a glossy appearance. An egg white whisked with a half teaspoon water also works. If you want to be fancy, whisk together milk or juice with confectioners’ sugar for a decorative drizzle.

May there be plenty of soup and scones in your life this winter!

Onion Soup with Thyme & Cheddar

4 medium to large onions, peeled and thinly sliced (divided)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4-5 cups beef stock
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
Kosher salt, to taste
2 tablespoons red wine (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 slices sourdough bread toast
Smoked cheddar cheese, thinly sliced sliced or grated

Melt butter in a large, deep skillet and add half the onions to the pan. Sauté and stir over low to medium heat for 15 minutes or until golden. Be careful not to burn them. Stir in brown sugar. Add stock to the pan with seasonings and wine. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add remainder of onions and lemon juice to the soup. Simmer another 20 minutes. Ladle soup into four oven-proof bowls. Top each with a toast slice and cheese. Place under the broiler to melt the cheese. Yield: 4 servings

Orange-Chocolate Chip Scones

2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, chilled
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
3/4 cup chopped chocolate or chips
1 teaspoon cream or milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Butter a circle 9 inches in diameter on a baking sheet. In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender or use the paddle attachment on a stand mixer. In a separate small bowl, stir together eggs, orange juice and zest and vanilla. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and combine. The dough will be sticky. Stir in chocolate or work it in with floured hands.

Place dough on the baking sheet and pat it into an 8-inch circle, about 1 1/2 inches thick. With a floured, serrated knife, score the circle of dough into eight wedges. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the scone circle comes out clean. Place the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Cut into wedges. Yield: 8 servings

Apple-Cinnamon Scones with Walnuts

2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, chilled
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup cream or milk
1 small apple, peeled and diced
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1 teaspoon cream or milk
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Follow directions above, adding cinnamon to dry ingredients and substituting cream or milk for orange juice. Omit orange zest. Substitute apples and walnuts for chocolate.