Monday, April 2, 2007

Lavender-Vanilla Dusted Scones

Some foods don't have to take forever and a day to make my favorites list. Take these scones from Marion Cunningham's The Breakfast Book.

The recipe requires only eight incredients that you probably already have in your pantry. It takes about five minutes to throw them together and make the dough. Then 15 minutes to bake. So in less that a half hour, you have warm, delicious scones to go with your morning coffee.

The attraction of scones is biting through the only slightly crusty exterior and finding a soft, warm interior dotted with bits of dried fruit. They are only a bit crumbly and hold together almost as well as a muffin. When my wife makes them, they aren't even browned, really. Just hinting at the baked look you see in this picture.

I'm not a baker. I'm much more comfortable around the barbeque. But I started making these scones for the monthly meetings of a local gardening organization here in the District of Columbia (D.C. Urban Gardeners, which you can find a I also bake a batch on Saturdays to sell at the produce stand we hold during the warmer season outside my daughter's charter school.

The recipe calls for chopped dried fruits such as apricots, prunes or figs, plus a small amount of golden raisins. But I usually use whatever I have on hand, sometimes dried cranberries, sometimes dried blueberries, sometimes just raisins. Feel free to improvise. I also like to use a long chef's knife to cut the dough into wedges. But you can also divide the dough with a round cookie cutter, or even make heart shapes.

These are a comfort with breakfast or to display on a brunch buffet. After I made them several times, my wife bought a bottle of lavender-scented vanilla sugar to dust the scones instead of the plain granular sugar that Marion Cunningham calls for.

For One Dozen Scones (Or Ten Large Wedges)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup chopped dried fruit (apricots, prunes, figs, etc.)

1/4 cup golden raisins

1 1/4 cups heavy cream


2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 tablespoons sugar (or lavender-vanilla sugar)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Use an ungreased baking sheet.

In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients and the fruit. Pour in cream and mix just until all the ingredients are incorporated. Turn the dough out onto a flat surface lightly dusted with flour and kneed about eight times, or until the dough is firm with just a bit of shine to it.

Use your fingers to press the dough out into a circle about 3/4-inch thick. Cut into wedges or use a cooking cutter to cut into 3-inch circles. Place cut dough onto baking sheet. Brush with butter and dust with sugar. Place in oven.

Bake 15 minutes, or until scones are lightly browned. Place on a wire rack to cool. Serve warm.

No comments: