I’m SO excited! Think 5-year-old-on-Christmas-morning-with-ADD-and-a-sugar-high excited. And in fact, Christmas came early. My package from Vitacost finally arrived!! Let me rewind a little. On August 28th, exactly 45 days ago, I placed a big order on Vitacost.com for a couple of things I absolutely can’t find in Brazil. Roasted almond butter, Rapunzel organic vegetable broth, raw 100% cacao nibs (weird for such a big cacao producer like Brazil), Chicory root coffee, Green Chai Yogi Tea (I finally have my Yogi Tea sayings of the day back!). Yes, it was a little out of my budget and the shipment was almost as much as the total value of the products, but I decided to not guilt-trip myself over it, after all I’ve worked hard and deserve to indulge a little. Plus, it’s not like I’m buying an umpteenth pair of shoes, I’m paying for healthy stuff here.
Then after placing the order, for the 40 days that followed, I literally stalked my package on the DHL website, watching it travel from Las Vegas to San Francisco, then off to Germany, after which it did not move for about 20 unbearable days, and then a few days ago I finally saw that it had checked into Brazil. I was so happy when the postman came by to tell me that I could go pick it up at the post office. So I gleefully sauntered over to the post office, only to discover that not only had Brazilian customs added a big, fat, almost criminally high tax to my already pretty expensive order – but that in addition, I had to pay for the number of days that the package had been stocked at the post office. To top it off, as I reluctantly took out my card to pay for the hefty bill, the post office lady tells me they only accept cash for this type of payment. What the WHY? Like, did one guy just sit every body down one day and say, “people, I have a brilliant idea, let’s have a couple dozen operations where clients can only pay in cash, it’ll liven things up around here a little”? This from a post-office that’s also a bank by the way. I ask her where the closest ATM is and she looks at my HSBC card and tells me the closest HSBC bank is about 15 minutes away- because yes, in Brazil, you can’t take out money at just any ATM (I mean jeez, why should life be that easy?), you go to bank to which your card is affiliated to. I tried to mentally kill the post office lady with my cold hard stare. As if she could do something about the ATM being so remote. But I mean, come on Brazil! Give it a rest! Can’t we keep things simple just this one time??
I walked the 15 minutes to the indicated HSBC, tried my card about 3 times in two different ATMs before getting it to work (*long and painful sigh*), walked back to the post-office, queued again for 30 minutes, finally got my humongous me-sized package handed to me, practically fell over in the middle of the sidewalk trying to hail a taxi while balancing the package over one arm, and then got stuck in traffic for another 30 minutes. It was just like one big dose of bureaucratic and inefficient Brazil slapping me right in the face all in the same day. You must be wondering how this situation could possibly get worse. One of my almond butter jars spilled some of its oily content all over the rest of the products, that’s how. I wanted to howl in despair but managed to salvage a good part of it with lots of determination and little dignity. At this point, anybody having gone through what I did for a miserable health-food package should be just about ready to take a sledge-hammer and shred apart the goddamn thing altogether.
Instead, I decided to bake some scones. Well, after having screamed into a pillow for a couple of minutes first. I had ordered some maple sugar out of curiosity. Best. Decision. Ever. Hands down, maple sugar is the best alternative sweetener I have tried so far and my new best friend. So to get back to my current state of mind, in spite of jumping through a couple of Brazilian hoops (it feels like I had to struggle and crawl to EARN health! Fun!), I’m just so excited, perhaps because I’ve been eating roasted almond butter out of the jar since yesterday and it makes life just ten times better, but also because I’ve found love and comfort in the most perfect scone.
Recipe: Apple Spice and Maple Scones
Makes 8 scones
1 cup (150g) of tapioca flour
1/2 cup (55g) of coconut flour
1 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp of nutmeg
1 1/4 tsp of baking soda
2 medium apples (Gala, Golden…)
1/4 cup (55g) of butter, chilled
2 1/2 tbsp of maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Organic maple sugar, for sprinkling
1. Preheat oven to 190°C. Grease a large baking sheet and line it with parchment paper.
2. Whisk together the dry ingredients
3. Peel, core and shred the apple using a food processor or a julienne peeler
4. Cut the cold butter into small cubes and incorporate it into the dry ingredients using the tip of your fingers until reaching the texture of coarse sand. Add the shredded apple and press into the dough with your hands to release moisture into the dough.
6. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, the maple syrup and the vanilla extract. Add to the dough and knead with your hands until you can shape it into a firm ball.
7. Place the ball of dough on a piece of parchment paper and spread it into a round shape (like a pizza), about 1 1/2 inch thick, by pressing with your hands. Cut into 8 slices and transfer each slice to the greased baking sheet. Sprinkle the maple sugar over the scones before baking them.
8. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the scones are golden and crispy around the edges. Let cool for 20 minutes before eating.
Disclaimer: I receive no compensation for promoting the brands mentioned in this article. Everything I write about is independent from any kind of sponsorship.
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