Cranberry Orange Scones

I like scones. They are my favorite item to order with coffee, so it’s about time I mastered them for myself instead of spending 1.95 for mass produced breakfast biscuits. Lemon walnut is a close tie so I’ll be attempting this one soon.
These scones turned out really well. I found a recipe by Ina Garten (what a funny man, but I love her) and I changed it to suit my style. I liked this one because it had a glaze that wasn’t overpowering like some can be. The dough was a little sticky and I was a bit concerned that they wouldn’t rise, but they rose beautifully! I haven’t had great success with some scone recipes in the past, but this one is worth keeping. I was thinking it might make a good base scone for fruity additions like lemon or blueberry.
Of course they were best the night I made them, but they kept fairly well the next four days we ate them. Oh, scone you make me happy in the morning.
Cranberry Orange Scones
adapted from Ina Garten, Food Network
2 C flour + 1/4 C and more for shaping
2T sugar
1 T baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt (or sea salt)
1 1/2 tsp orange zest
1 stick butter diced
2 eggs + 1 yolk + enough milk to make 1 C
1/2 C cranberries
1 egg beaten with 2 T water
1/2 C powdered sugar
3 tsp fresh orange juice
Preheat the oven to 400˚F. In the bowl of a mixer, add dry ingredients and stir to combine. Add orange zest and mix well. Add butter cubes and mix until the butter pieces resemble peas (or a little larger). Add eggs and yolk to a measuring cup and add enough milk to make 1 cup. I used soy milk because we had some. Using a higher fat milk is good too. Add this mix to the flour mix on medium speed until it just comes together. Add the cranberries and the 1/4 C flour and stir to combine. Plop the dough out onto a well floured surface and shape it into into a 8-9 inch round about 1 inch high. Cut the dough with a sharp knife into 8 pizza wedges. Place all of these onto a baking sheet. Mix the egg and water and brush across the tops of each scone. Place them into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. They should be a lovely shade of golden brown and Ina says firm to the touch.
Wait for them to cool a little on a wire rack and drizzle some glaze on top. Eat them right, hovering over the rack until they are cool enough to handle. They are best this way, otherwise you could be a little more civilized and put them on a plate or serving dish for guests. Serve with coffee or tea (or take them to work with you and eat them at your desk while savoring a morning latte).

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Scones

Remember what I said in my last post about baking more with whole wheat? Well, I’ve done it. (or at least started it). It is quite funny really… I woke up on the first and decided to be sweet and cook something for breakfast. I’m not a super huge eggs fan so I defaulted to baked goods. I rummaged through the cabinets to see what I had to work with. I usually know these things, but hey, I was gone for the holiday and forgot.

I found I had a small amount of all purpose flour and a large amount of self-rising flour (if any of you can tell me what to do with this I’m ready relieve space in my tiny cabinets). Sitting next to these was my hardly-used whole wheat flour bag. It looked so sad, all full, fat, and neglected. It’s true. I don’t use whole wheat flour much. I should but I don’t.

In order to make this little bag of flour happy I searched for something to make with pumpkin that I needed to use. I found a scone recipe and decided to give it a go. After all, the recipe swore you couldn’t tell they were made of whole wheat. Skeptical, I started the scone process. I forgot to check for butter in my wasteland of a fridge and turned up empty. I thought about attempting the Earth Balance spread but decided that stuff was too expensive to waste (just in case) and adapted the recipe using shortening. At the time, I was thinking… “a scone is like a biscuit – so I could probably substitute shortening for butter… they just won’t taste as good.” So I went for it and cut in shortening instead of butter. Mixed everything as required and sliced 8 scones. Baked ’em up fairly quick and just in time for M to arrive in the kitchen. (He slept in – and by arrived in the kitchen, I mean walked 10 steps from the bedroom to see what smelled good).

I was on my second cup of tea and decided to snap a few pictures while I had good light. All this time wondering if they were going to taste like cardboard or not. And oh the wait was finally over….

Eh, I guess they were fine. A little bland and lacking strong pumpkin flavor, we decided to eat them like the British and topped them with a slab of butter. If we only had clotted cream… At least I remembered to add a big handful of chocolate chips which helped some. I don’t think I will make these again, and to save you I’m not posting the recipe here. I’ll definitely find some more whole wheat recipes but from a trusted source. So all of you trusted sources out there – send me your favorite whole wheat baked good recipe! Don’t worry either, I’m not at all distressed that the first recipe of the year was not a huge success. It just means I have a lot more room to improve.

Wine for Breakfast – with Scones of course…

My good friend Rebecca has a bit of what you call the travel bug (read about it here). She can’t stay in one place for long and seems to use up her vacation time as soon as she accrues it. She left on a trip to New Zealand a while ago and brought back some really tasty wines, Daniel Schuster being one of them. I got to meet him at the Jug Shop (our friendly neighborhood liquor store) where they occasionally do wine tastings. I almost came home with a bottle but they sold out – literally the person in front of me bought the last one. Thankfully, Rebecca decided it was time to share in this goodness.
She proposed a slumber party (which I have not done in years) and thought it would be fun to have this wine for breakfast. haha. Wine for breakfast seems silly I know… but it was fantastic! The glory of our breakfast goes to Daniel Schuster himself (who might I add is an excellent salesman). He convinced us the way to drink this wine was breakfast in bed and here is how he sold us…. A bottle of Late Harvest Rielsing, brandy soaked apricots, apricot studded stilton cheese, maybe he said something about roses scattered on the bed…. I can’t remember it all, but Rebecca remembered the food part well.
We didn’t have breakfast in bed – a little weird for 4 grown women – but we did all sit around our breakfast counter and devour our breakfast. We recreated the instructions fairly well and I made some scones with the Stilton cheese. It is amazing the flavor you get after taking a bite of cheese and apricot followed by a sip of deliciously sweet wine.
Late Harvest is one designation given for dessert wine. This means the fruit is harvested later in the season so there is less fruit but a higher concentration of sugar in each grape. This can be done with a lot of different types of wine, some of which are combined with Brandy to make Port or similar dessert wines. You also usually drink these types of wine in moderation since they have a higher alcohol content. This Riesling was not overly sweet and paired really well with the cheese. Schuster was right. We might just have to spend some money on a case and do this again.
Thanks Rebecca for sharing!

Stilton and Apricot Scones
1 egg
1/2 C cold buttermilk
1/4 C apple cider or unsweetened apple juice
1 3/4 C all purpose flour
1/3 C stone ground yellow cornmeal
2 T sugar
1 T baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick butter cut into small pieces
3/4 C crumbled stilton cheese with apricots
1/2 C dried apricots finely diced

Preheat oven to 400* and center a rack in the oven. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat.

Stir egg, buttermilk and cider together. Whisk the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with your fingertips until you get pea sized pieces and everything in between. Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and stir with a fork until just blended. I promise at this point you have done everything right, the batter is just sticky, really sticky. Stir in the cheese and apricot. Fold with a spatula a few times. After this I found it easiest to drop it by the spoonfull or so on the silicone mat. Alternately, you can turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, pat into a 12″ rectangle a half inch thick and cut with a dough cutter into 12 equal pieces. Bake 20-22 minutes, or until the tops are golden and slightly firm. Transfer to a rack to cool for about 10 minutes.

Serve with a delightful chilled dessert wine, preferably the one mentioned above, and do remember to soak some fresh apricots in brandy overnight.

A Scone A Day…

does not keep the doctor away… it only encourages physical activity.
I really like scones a lot in spite of their evil fat content. Lucky for me the scones I made don’t have the extra fat from heavy cream (buttermilk instead). I have had the intention to make scones for a while now but they never seem to make it from thought to edible good! After my swim I was talking breakfast with my friend, Rebecca, and decided tonight would be a good night to make scones. I had no recipe in mind but found one that used up some ingredients I had on hand.
The scone is similar to a biscuit, except sweeter and usually has a fruit component or can be savory with cheeses. The Scone was nice and flakey and a little ugly with its bumps and lumps (I promise it is supposed to be this way). I added little chunks of banana to the basic dough before adding the liquid and the recipe suggests that prunes or apricots would be nice as well. Scones are pretty easy as long as you don’t over mix them. Like any biscuit – Less is More. Hopefully you will have a chance to try them.
Oatmeal Nutmeg Scones
with Banana

1 egg
1/2 C buttermilk

1 2/3 C flour
1 1/3 C old fashioned oats
1/3 C sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 stick + 2 T cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 400* and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

Whisk the dry ingredients. Cut in the butter. Add 1/2 C chopped fruit (banana, diced prunes, dried apricot) then mix in the egg and buttermilk until the dough just comes together. Knead in the bowl gently! Turn it out on a lightly floured surface and divide in half. Pat the dough into a 5″ round and cut into 6 pieces. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake 20-22 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Cool on a rack for at least 10 minutes or room temperature.