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Entries in Scones (3)


Rhubarb Scones

A few weeks ago, I posted about how we were under contract on a house... and I am thrilled to say that Rob and I are now officially homeowners!  We won't move into the house until July 3rd.  I am counting the days (fifteen).  We have a front porch with a swing, a bedroom with big windows and a door (we currently live in a converted loft where the only doors in the whole place are on the bathrooms, which is inconvenient when you have a kitten who likes to play at 3 a.m.), a lovely backyard with huge lilac and rose bushes and a peach tree, a kitchen with a sunny window in which I'll grow herbs all winter (and photograph food)... and, most importantly, we have a place to call home.  
These two iPhone photos are the only shots I have from our house... but they give you an idea!  And those peaches... is it selfish of me to hope that they aren't ripe until we move in?  I'm not sure I can wait until next summer to taste my very own peaches.
Since we won't move into the house until mid-summer, I won't have a garden this year.  Thankfully, my parents have a magnificent garden that we visited last weekend.  It is too early in the summer for most produce, but we harvested lettuce and baby radishes for a salad, marveled at all of the produce that is to come later this summer, and enjoyed the gorgeous flowers.  I can't wait for home grown beets, kale, and tomatoes. 
When I do plant a few things next year, I'll definitely include some rhubarb.  That said, I think this scone recipe would work for any fruit you want to try so don't feel limited by the fact that I made it with rhubarb.  I made them again using fresh cherries and they were delicious!  I think this will be my go-to base recipe for fruit scones going forward because these scones are moist and flavorful without being made with heavy cream (as was the case with the original recipe - delicious but aptly named "Naughty Rhubarb Scones" because they certainly weren't healthy).
What I loved most about these scones were the giant chunks of rhubarb.  You'll probably think as you mix them up that these scones will certainly fall apart with such large pieces of fruit inside, but they defy the odds and stay together nicely.  I was also concerned that there wouldn't be enough sugar in these to offset the somewhat bitter taste of rhubarb.  Again, I was pleasantly surprised as the rhubarb flavor really shines but the scones are neither overly tart nor overly sweet.  Finally, these scones have more of a moist, biscuity texture than other recipes, which I prefer.  And remember... just because rhubarb season may have passed, don't overlook this recipe - just use another fruit (about a pound).
Rhubarb Scones
Yield = 16 scones
Adapted from Naughty Rhubarb Scones via Food 52 

3 stalks rhubarb (roughly 1 lb trimmed)
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
2/3 to 3/4 cup lowfat buttermilk

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Slice rhubarb stalks 1/4 " thick.  Toss with 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a separate bowl.  Set aside.
2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in large bowl or bowl of food processor.  Cut butter into flour mixture by hand (or pulse in food processor) until butter is the size of small peas.
3. Blend in 1/4 cup of sugar.  Blend in 2/3 cup of lowfat buttermilk just until a soft dough forms.  If your dough is still dry and not cohesive, add additional buttermilk 1-2 tbsp at a time until the dough is soft and moist.  Be careful not to add too much buttermilk!
4. Blend in sliced rhubarb.  If you are using a food processor, just pulse the mixture a few times. If it doesn't combine, use a rubber spatula or your hands to fully combine the rhubarb and the dough (I had to do this as the food processor was not mixing in the rhubarb well enough).  Do NOT over-pulse the mixture - you want the slices of rhubarb mostly left intact.
5. Transfer dough to floured surface and divide in half.  To make triangular scones, flatten into 6-inch disks and cut each circle into 8 scones.  
6. Arrange scones on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake about 20 minutes or until lightly brown on top. 
Note - The scones can be made through step 5 and either refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for future baking.  If you freeze the scones, separate them with sheets of parchment paper for easy baking.
That expressions means "Stop taking photos."

Scones & Snow

Last Friday, I had a snow day.  I assumed my chances of having a snow day as an adult were non-existent given that I am not a teacher (and I can walk to work), but I was proved wrong.    

My office was closed because we had a 24-hour blizzard in Denver on Friday.  It was so lovely to work at our dining room table while the snow fell outside, to enjoy multiple cups of my new favorite tea (thanks, M), to watch our new family member, Forest, staring out the window, mesmerized by the fluttering flakes, and to run at dusk with Rob through freshly fallen, untouched snow drifts.  I find snow so peaceful.

With the office closed and the morning stretching ahead of me, I did the obvious - make scones!  I'd pinned a simple scone recipe from Saveur a few weeks ago and wanted to make a batch to serve with the countless jars of jam I have stored away.  My mom is a master jam maker but I find that it is impossible to consume at the rate at which she creates.  Because these scones have no added flavor (e.g., berries, nuts, extracts), they are the perfect vehicle for jams and jellies or to be made into a tasty breakfast sandwich.  I enjoyed mine with homemade elderberry jam.  The best thing about these scones (other than that they are delicious)?  They come together in one bowl in a matter of minutes.  Quick and limited dishes? Yes, please.

Yield = 16 scones
Recipe from Saveur  

5 cups flour
½ cup sugar
5 tsp. baking powder
2½ tsp. kosher salt
14 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
2 cups whole milk* 

Preheat the oven to 450°.  Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.  Add butter and rub into dry ingredients with your fingers until pea-size crumbles form or combine on low speed in a stand mixer.  Stir in milk until dough forms or use stand mixer to mix milk in only until dough forms.  

Transfer dough to a heavily floured work surface and pat into a 12″ × 12″, l″-thick square (in an ideal world, you'd make a square; however, I made more of a 9" x 11" rectangle-ish shape... close enough).  Cut the dough into 16 smaller squares.  Using a floured metal spatula, transfer squares to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Bake scones until golden brown, about 25 minutes.  Serve warm with butter, jam, and clotted cream. 

Remember that you can always freeze the cut scones prior to baking and bake them off as needed (I did this with half the recipe).  Just separate the scones with a square of parchment paper and freeze in a Ziploc bag.

* I used whole milk because I had some available.  I have yet to try this recipe with skim milk or 2% milk, but when I do, I'll update this post as to how the scones turn out.  If anyone tries this with other milk, please let me know.


Chocolate Chip Scones


The baked good that most frequently tempts me at breakfast time is the chocolate chip scone.  You don't find them everywhere so when I see them, I usually jump at the opportunity to enjoy the delight that is eating what is essentially dessert for breakfast.  Unfortunately, I've found that most scones that I purchase rather than bake don't live up to my expectations.  They tend to be dry or greasy or it is clear after the first bite that they were baked several days prior and have been sitting around getting stale. 

For the past two months I have been studying for the Colorado Bar Exam and the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam so that I can be "qualified" to practice law in Colorado.  Sitting at home studying for twelve hours each day can really dampen a person's spirits and tends to make me feel justified in eating food that I know I shouldn't to improve said dampened spirits... like chocolate chip scones!  Today I set out to satisfy my craving and improve my mood.

Given my past success with breakfast baked goods from the Tartine Cookbook, I used the recipe for buttermilk scones and added chocolate chips.  The end result is fantastic -- the scones are flaky, layered and light (courtesy of the insane amount of butter that is used) and I can't wait to enjoy one for breakfast tomorrow morning.  The buttermilk scone recipe is a great basic recipe to which you could add any fruit (dried or fresh) or nuts to alter the flavor. 

Chocolate Chip Scones (adapted from the Tartine recipe for Buttermilk Scones)
Yield = 12 scones

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Guittard)
4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, very cold
1 1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 400F and butter a baking sheet.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and baking soda into a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar and salt and stir to mix with a wooden spoon. Cut the butter into 1/2" cubes and scatter over the dry ingredients. Cut together, either with a pastry blender, 2 table knives, or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, being careful not to overmix. You want to end up with a coarse mixture with pea-sized lumps of butter visible.

Add the buttermilk and mix gently with the wooden spoon. Continue to mix just until you have a dough that holds together. You still want to see some of the butter pieces at this point, which will add to the flakiness of the scones once they are baked.

Dust your work surface with flour, and turn the dough out onto it. Using your hands, pat the dough into a rectangle about 18" long, 5" wide, and 1 1/2" thick. Brush the top with the melted butter and then sprinkle with the sugar. using a chef's knife, cut the dough into 12 triangles and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. 

Bake the scones until the tops are lightly browned, 25 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.