Sunday, March 27, 2011

Oat and Maple Syrup Scones (tip of the hat to

I love Deb at smittenkitchen. Her writing is lovely and descriptive and down-to-earth and funny, and the recipes she chooses to showcase are, if not always simple, then certainly straight-forward and with an emphasis on Real Food. She takes risks on opening herself and her family up to the anonymous millions of Internet-world, in a really honest way that I respect. Her blog is probably the biggest influence on my own writing. Also: her kid is adorable. And you should buy her cookbook when it comes out.

So when I read her latest post, I got a Craving and I Had. to Make. SCONES. So I sent the Bald Guy out on a mission for milk and eggs (because we just got back from a short vacay and the only thing in the refrigerator at the moment is a half-container of old yogurt and a very loud echo). After much sorting and flour and kneading and general kitchen chaos, what emerged were nine light, flaky, not-too-sweet scones of the Afternoon Tea variety. I might add some dried fruit (apricot, maybe?) or other flavor/texture brightener, but really, with a little honey and some butter, these are just about perfect. And relatively easy.

This recipe ain't mine. It actually ain't even Deb's, as she acknowledges on her blog. It's adapted and then adapted again from the cookbook Breakfast, Lunch, Tea: The Many Little Meals of Rose Bakery. But I cribbed it from Deb.

Makes 8-10 reasonably sized scones.

1 3/4 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting kneading surface
1/2 cup (80 grams) whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (35 grams) rolled oats
1 very heaped tablespoon baking powder
1 very heaped tablespoon superfine (caster) or granulated sugar (It could stand a little more, if you like your scones sweetish)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
Scant 3/4 cup (160 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup milk, buttermilk, or English-style soured cream (as in, runny)
1 egg, beaten (for glazing the tops)

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 C). Line a baking tray with parchment paper (or butter or spray it with non-stick spray or something).
  • Whisk the dry stuff together in a large bowl. With a pastry blender or your fingertips, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. If you've never done this before, it took me a WHILE by hand - at least five minutes - of rubbing and scraping bits off my fingers and rubbing some more. Keep going. Don't leave big ol' lumps of butter in there. Also, note to self: take wedding ring off BEFORE you start...oy.
  • In a small dish, combine the milk and syrup, then add these liquid ingredients to the butter/flour mixture. By hand or with a non-metallic spoon or spatula, bring everything together to form a softish dough. I found it easier to do by hand. Plus. your hands are already messy, so you might as well. If it feels too dry, add a LEETLE more milk, but not enough that the dough is sticky. Deb quotes the cookbook here: "The dough should not be sticky at all."
  • On a lightly floured surface, pat or roll the dough out until it is 1 1/4 inches (3 cm) tall. Using a 2-inch cutter (or a glass dipped in flour or an empty fruit salad can - those little ones work really well), cut the dough into rounds and place them on the prepared tray. Brush the tops of the scones with beaten egg (this makes them brown and shiny and delicious) and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until they're lightly golden and the kitchen smells goooooood. 
  • Serve warm, with butter or jam or honey or cream cheese or...nom...I wonder if there are any left...

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