Anyone looking for a summer vacation without leaving home should take a trip to the Inn at Angel Island. This fictional setting is the subject of a series of five enchanting books by painter Thomas Kinkade and writer Katherine Spencer.
Each book features one of Kinkade’s paintings on the cover. In the introduction to the first book, he writes, "All you have to do is cross the land bridge from Cape Light to Angel Island. There you will discover a wild, unspoiled, romantic haven, a place to reclaim one's dreams and one's faith. I hope that you will often return to the Inn at Angel Island where you will find a soft, cozy bed, a home cooked meal and a warm welcome. May it always be your home away from home."
In the first book, “The Inn at Angel Island,” Lisa Martin and her brother, Peter, inherit the Queen Anne home from their Aunt Elizabeth. It has fallen into disrepair and they first plan to sell it. Later, they realize they need to keep this touchstone to their family history and preserve the place filled with happy memories of happy summer childhoods. Lisa decides to quit her job in the city to run it with help from long-time cook and housekeeper, Claire North.
Start the day with these breakfast items from recipes in the first two books to get in the summer vacation mode.
This recipe comes from the first book in the series. Claire North's cooking is one of the reasons the inn has been so popular over the years, and these delicious muffins will vanish quickly.
Morning Glory Muffins
2-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed (light or dark)
3/4 cup white sugar
2 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. allspice
2 cups grated carrots
8 oz. crushed pineapple packed in juice, drained
3/4 cup raisins (golden preferred)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup canola oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the lower third. Line muffin tins with paper cups. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and allspice. Add carrots, pineapple, raisins, coconut and nuts and mix thoroughly. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the vanilla and then the oil. Pour egg mixture into the dry ingredients in thirds and blend well (do not overmix or muffins will turn out tough).
Fill muffin cups to the brim. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick or sharp, thin knife inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes and remove from tins. Makes 16 muffins.
This recipe is from the third book in the series “A Wandering Heart.” These scones are best with wild blueberries picked on the island but cranberries, raisins or dried cherries work, too.
Claire North's Blueberry Scones
4 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp. baking powder
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 lb. butter, cold
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed and thoroughly dried (or use dried fruit as noted above)
One egg yolk mixed with water (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prepare a baking sheet by covering with parchment paper.
Combine flour, baking powder, sugar and nutmeg with an electric mixer.
Dice butter into small pieces (1/2 inch by 1/2 inch) and blend at lowest speed using paddle attachment and scraping beaters from time to time. Mix until butter is in pea sized bits but not entirely blended.
Beat 4 eggs in a separate bowl. Beat in heavy cream and vanilla until just mixed.
Add egg and cream mixture to the flour mixture. Blend until just mixed (do not over blend or scones will come out heavy and dense).
Sprinkle about a tablespoon of flour over blueberries to coat. Add to mixing bowl and quickly blend in. Mixture will have formed a dough.
Place dough on a clean, flat surface such as a board or pastry cutting sheet. Lightly dust a rolling pin with flour and roll out dough to a rectangle shape about 3/4 inch thick and the size of an average cookie sheet.
Using a sharp, thin knife or cutting wheel cut dough into eight equal squares. Then cut each square diagonally into a triangle shape. Place triangles on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. For shiny scones, brush the top of each one with a wash mix of one egg yolk combined with 2 tablespoons of water.
Sprinkle tops of scones lightly with water. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Scones should be crisp on the outside and flaky and moist within, but cooked through. Makes 16 scones.