Happiness Is A Pile Of Warm Scones
Note: Looking for something with a little more seasonal spirit? Check out my recipe for Cranberry Christmas Scones, which are tasty any time of year. And a basket of warm Savory Cheese & Scallion Scones would be right at home on nearly any holiday dinner table. Split in half, toasted, and spread with cream cheese, they also make a great snack for hungry houseguests.
Does the world really need another scone recipe? In a word, yes. Of course this declaration is coming from a certified sconehead with a serious problem. The question I should really be asking is if I need another scone recipe, and the answer to that is a most definite no.
You see, my problem is not that I’m addicted to scones themselves, though I will admit to loving them very, very much. What I’m really addicted to are scone recipes. Despite the fact that until recently I’d been making the same three scone recipes for years, I can't stop collecting them.
The first thing I search for in a cookbook or on a food website are scone recipes. I have an entire file folder devoted to them, and when I discovered how easy it is to save things online to del.icio.us, I felt as if I’d died and gone to recipe hoarder’s heaven.
I’ve clipped scone recipes that call for buttermilk or heavy cream—which I never buy—and ingredients I hate. I’ve held on to recipes for pumpkin scones and butterscotch chip scones for years even though I think they both sound weird. There’s a recipe from Gourmet magazine for ginger scones that I’ve had squirreled away since 1993 and still haven’t tried, and another from a 2004 issue for little cheese scones that I will never make because they probably contain more calories than a piece of pie.
I keep recipes for scones that use the drop method or cookie cutter method even though I strongly believe that these are not the proper way to make true scones. I also feel that if a scone recipe does not contain eggs then it is technically a biscuit recipe, and yet I cannot pass even those up.
One scone recipe in my collection is scribbled on a 3 x 5 index card because I shamelessly copied it out of a cookbook while standing in a bookstore. I know this was a terrible thing to do, but I couldn’t help myself.
Last week at the supermarket I greedily snatched up a recipe card for raspberry and white chocolate scones, knowing full well that there isn’t a chance in hell I’ll ever make them. I finally managed to talk myself into putting the recipe back, but then I circled around and picked it up again. At least I realize I have a problem.
So far I’ve resisted cutting out the recipe for asparagus scones I found in a magazine the other day by sternly reminding myself that 1) it calls for leftover asparagus and the words leftover and asparagus simply do not go together in my world and 2) I can’t see myself ever taking any of my small and precious homegrown asparagus bounty and hiding it inside a biscuit. But I doubt I’ll be able to hold out much longer.
So when I finally had an urge to expand my scone horizons last spring, what did I do? I turned my back on my vast collection of recipes and ended up creating a whole new one of course. And while I hope you’ll let me know if you try this recipe, what I’d really like is your favorite scone recipe. I’ll probably never make it, but you know I’d love to have it.
Good Looking, Good Tasting, And Even Good For You
Lazy Susan’s Whole Wheat Scones With Currants & Oats
These scones were developed out of sheer laziness. Too lazy to try a whole new recipe, I simply tossed some oats into my tried and true currant scone recipe. The results were delicious, but the next time I went to buy oats they only had the thick kind (which I’d never used for anything), and I was too lazy to go to another store. It turns out they add a delightfully nutty texture.
About the same time, I went from never having heavy cream around to having a constant supply because I found a nearby source of milk that goes from Jersey cow to glass jar to my refrigerator. Each gallon of milk has several inches of thick cream floating on the top. (Yes, I am one of the luckiest girls in the world—this stuff is amazing). Too lazy to whip it, despite the fact that whipped cream is one of my very favorite foods, I figured it would be less work if I replaced the milk and butter in my scone recipe with cream.
Ready to prove how quickly a batch of cream scones could be oven ready, I jotted down the time and started grabbing ingredients. Totally out of all-purpose flour but too lazy to hike across the farmyard to the new building where I had a 50-pound bag, I used white whole wheat flour instead. This resulted in healthier, hearty scones that weren't little whole wheat bricks.
I overcooked the first batch because I had no idea what color they were supposed to be. Too lazy to make more, I ate them anyway. And despite my firm belief that a room temperature scone pales in comparison to one that has been nicely reheated so that the outside regains its lovely crunch, I was too lazy to reheat them--or even pull out some butter or jam.
As I gobbled up scone after room temperature scone, I wondered if they were indeed scrumptious, or if I was simply so exhausted from lambing season that anything handy tasted good. When I found myself munching down a five-day-old specimen I’d forgotten in the pantry, I decided the recipe was a keeper.
White whole wheat flour is 100% whole grain, but it's made from a different variety of wheat that it isn’t as dark and heavy as regular whole wheat flour. It is not, however, a perfect substitute for all-purpose flour, and your baked goods will come out differently when using it. White whole wheat flour varies by brand, too. I’ve had good luck with King Arthur brand (on the bag they call it "a lighter, milder, 100% whole wheat flour"), though I’m still trying to locate a local source for their organic version.
If you don’t have any white whole wheat flour and are too lazy to go out and buy some, this recipe works just fine with regular all-purpose flour. You could also replace the currants with raisins or dried cranberries or whatever other fruit you have on hand. As always, I urge you to seek out local and organic ingredients whenever possible.
Using a digital kitchen scale to weigh your ingredients makes baking a breeze. I love my 11-pound Oxo Good Grips Scale and often use it several times a day. When measuring tiny amounts, however, stick to teaspoons, grams, or milliliters for accuracy.
I highly recommend investing in a couple of heavy duty commercial baking sheets like these. At less than $14 each, they're one of the best kitchen deals around. I've been using some of mine for 20 years for everything from baking rolls to roasting brussels sprouts, not to mention perfectly baking thousands of cookies. I line them with sheets of unbleached parchment paper, which is wonderful stuff. I can usually reuse each piece several times before discarding it.
3 cups (15 oz - 425 g) white whole wheat flour (you might need a little more)
1 cup (4-3/8 oz - 124 g) thick oats (regular old-fashioned oats will work, too)
1/3 cup (2-1/4oz - 63g) granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons (1-1/8 oz - 34g) baking powder (make sure it’s fresh!)
1 teaspoon (6 g) salt
3/4 cup (4-1/8 oz - 116 g) dried currants
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
1 cup (8 fluid oz - 250 ml) heavy cream (you might need a little more)
Optional Egg Glaze:
Beat well with a fork:
1 egg & 2 Tablespoons milk or cream
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Mix in the currants. In a small bowl, beat the eggs and vanilla into the cream with a fork, then gently fold the cream mixture into the dry ingredients, mixing lightly just until blended. Add up to 1/4 cup additional flour if the dough is too sticky.
On a floured surface, divide dough in half and gently pat each half into a circle about 6 inches in diameter (about 1 inch thick). With a sharp knife (I use a large serrated knife dipped in flour), cut each circle into 6 wedges and place on a heavy duty baking sheet lined with unbleached parchment paper.
Brush the tops and sides of scones with egg glaze if desired and bake for about 25 minutes, or until dark golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, with or without butter and jam. Store in an airtight container or freeze.
To reheat a frozen scone, I wrap it in foil and pop it in my beloved toaster oven at 320 degrees on the convection setting for about 10 minutes. Uncover it during the last few minutes if you like the top nice and crunchy.
© 2007 Farmgirl Fare, the sconehead foodie farm blog where Farmgirl Susan shares stories & photos of her crazy country life on 240 remote Missouri acres.