Saturday, September 20, 2014

September's Give-Away Apron...Scuppernong Grape Jelly and Double Chocolate Teacakes

I'm here!  It's been a long eight weeks of moving--twice, unpacking, family visiting and granddaughters staying another week...kittens running all over the place while flooring still had to be installed, but I'm back and still happily have my sanity.

I realize it's the 20th of September and it doesn't leave much time to comment, but if you're interested in winning this month's apron, in these soft colours that trumpet Fall is around the corner, just comment on this or any of the posts I will promise to do and this apron will be sent to you.

Now, to cooking in my new kitchen...another wonderful produce that I have been introduced to here in Carolina, is Scuppernong Grapes, which are native to the South.  I've made 18 jars of jelly, given a lot away, but enjoyed delicious PB & Grape Jelly sandwiches for my lunch (or a snack!) almost daily. These large grapes are usually green or bronze in colour and rounder than a white grape. They're a variety of Muscadine grapes and the "state" fruit of North Carolina. My friend, who provides me with fresh eggs, has a small vineyard and brought over several pickings and I shared my jelly recipe with her.  We made jelly last Sunday together and I did another batch this morning to replenish my winter supply:-D
These grapes were first cultivated in the 17th century in Tyrell County, North Carolina.  A hunter, named Isaac Alexander found them along the banks of the Scuppernong River.  The name traces back to the Algonquian word, ascopo, meaning "sweet bay tree."  The finish colour of the jelly is a deep, reddish purple, unlike the bluish purple of Concord grapes, but the familiar taste of grape will win you over--it did me.

Scuppernong Grape Jelly
Prepare jars by washing and rinsing 8 half-pint jars or 3 pint jars.  Fill almost with water and microwave half the jars for 4 minutes to sterilize.  Use tongs to remove the hot jars from the microwave, empty the water and turn jars upside-down on a paper-towel-lined pan.  Cover with a dish cloth while you make the jelly.  Place the rings and tops in a small sauce pan, covered with water, and bring to a boil, turn down to simmer until you need to seal the jars.

3 lbs. Scuppernong grapes, washed and roughly chopped in a food processor
1 pkg. Certo Liquid Pectin
2 T fresh lemon juice
7 cups granulated sugar

Place grapes in the food processor and pulse to chop (I did 3 lbs. in 2 batches).  Place the mixer in a large Dutch Oven pan with 1 cup water.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower temperature slightly and boil for 10 minutes.

Strain the mixture in cheesecloth-lined colander; I used my grandmother's colander with smaller holes.
You need 4 cups of juice for this recipe.  Place the juice, Certo liquid pectin, and fresh lemon juice in the Dutch Oven (I did wash my pan before using it again), and bring to a boil, stirring almost constantly.  When it comes to a rolling boil (one that you cannot stir down), add the sugar and stir constantly.  

Bring to a boil again and set the timer for 1 minute.
Ladle the jelly into the prepared jars, wiping around the rim of the jar with a wet paper towel to remove any spillage.  Seal with a lid and ring and turn jars upside-down.
Cover with the dish towel and let set 10-15 minutes.  When you turn the jars right-side up, you should hear a "pop."  Then, you'll know the jars are sealed and good for one year on the shelf; however, I doubt if any of this jelly will last that long!  If you have some left, but not enough for another full jar, place in a plastic container and refrigerate to use first.

 Double Chocolate Teacakes
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup + 2 T granulated sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup very strong coffee
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 cup Queen Guinevere Cake Flour
6 T King Arthur all-purpose flour
6 T Cocoa
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 3/4 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees.  Spray 1-9" x 5" loaf pan, or 8 well mini loaf pan with a baking spray and set aside.
Mix the buttermilk, coffee and vanilla extract together and set aside.
 In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together thoroughly.  Add the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula.
Chop the chocolate.
Add the dry ingredients, alternately with the buttermilk/coffee mixture just until blended.  Stir in the chopped chocolate.  Note--the batter is somewhat thinner than most quick breads.
 Place in the loaf pan or scoop into the mini loaf pan as I used.
The recipe would have made 10 mini loaves, but I opted to bake two rounds to give away to a friend.
Bake for 25 minutes, if you use a mini loaf pan (or muffins) or 55 minutes for a regular-side loaf pan.
Cool 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.  I simply dusted them with confectioners' sugar, but you could also do a drizzle of ganache--which would make these Triple Chocolate Teacakes! Enjoy!

My life is still hectic, but becoming a little more normal each day.  Our weather is beautiful and I'm longing to be outside planning new flower beds and knitting on our screened-in porch...maybe one day:-D   


  1. Just lovely to find you here. I have been wondering if you were up from the basement. You must have so much to do so I really am impressed with this post and a new lovely apron to boot in light of all the escapades of summer and all that moving.

    1. Thanks Vee--it's been a struggle, but it's good to be back!

  2. Welcome back, Susan! I've missed you and your posts...So happy that you're settled and back to baking and making jelly. I bake my jars in the oven so when it comes time to fill with the hot jam, the jars are screaming-hot! I like the idea of the microwave for preparing the jars...A lot less energy and a cooler kitchen. Enjoy the first week of fall! Lv, me

  3. Microwave is a lot cooler, but keeping them in the oven is a great idea! I sure have missed everyone and hope to get back on track, XOXO

  4. Happy to see you posting. I know the whole moving routine! I've missed you too.

  5. I know just how hectic it has been for you these last couple of months-----but I am so happy to see you baking and posting once again!!! Love you, Sis

  6. Nice to see you back here in blogland. you must be tired from moving into your new home. bet you are happy to be back in the kitchen although I know how much you also love your flowers. enjoy the making of your new garden.
    stamping sue

  7. The grape jelly looks wonderful, makes me want to haul my canning supplies out and make some for me! I don't know how you do all you do! Especially all the moving but happy for you that you are in the new house. Happy nesting!

  8. Susan, so glad to see you back to blogging. I know moving is so hard! Love the colors of the new pretty! Oh my girls love scuppernong MIL had them in her garden as they grew up and it was always fun to fight the birds for the sweet juiceness! Missed you my sweet friend!

  9. So glad to see you back! You have been missed, Susan. Those grape jellies and tea cakes look fantastic.

  10. I am happy to see your post today. I have missed reading your blog. Moving is a hard job and I hope you feel settled now. It has been years since I have eaten any scuppernong grapes.


  11. I have never heard of scuppermong grapes, but looks like you have made very good use of them! :) Your double chocolate loaves sound delicious!

  12. I have some grapes in the freezer that are to suffer the same fate. The cakes looks wonderful. It always looks inviting at your house.

  13. Oh Susan..what a delightful autumn always choose cheerful patterns! I have had this flavor of jam only once all sounds and looks amazingly delicious!!

  14. Welcome back, we missed you (and your fabulous recipes)! Thank you for the delicious looking tea cake recipe, I'm looking forward to trying it.
    This month's apron really caught my eye, I love the pattern and the colors!


  15. Glad to hear you are recovering from all the chaos of moving. Hopefully, you are settled in for the long run & can breath a sigh of relief that moving boxes will no longer be everywhere you look. This months apron is especially lovely with beautiful colors & patterns. I don't know where you found the time to sew it. Wish those grapes grew out here, they sound delicious & the color is gorgeous. I'm glad you are back just in time for fall baking to begin.

  16. I sure love the pretty colors of this new apron, my friend and Sis! And it's nice to hear things are getting into a more normal routine...bit by bit. I still don't really have a routine. Every day is different. Have a wonderful week! Hugs, Diane