Monday, September 27, 2010

Scone Kick

I'm on something of a scone kick, because making scones requires buying buttermilk, and what else does one do with a half-empty container of buttermilk but make more scones? While the last batch were straight-up decadent, the scones I made this weekend are more of a "healthy" scone. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but when we're talking scones, if they have a bit of whole wheat flour and some oatmeal in them, I say they count as healthy.

Oatmeal Nutmeg Scones are from Dorie Greenspan's (if you haven't seen her latest cookbook, Around My French Table, I highly recommend it!) classic Baking, a reference that has always given me great baked goods. Dorie (if I may) calls them "tender and sweet," and that's quite accurate. They crumble easily and aren't so sweet that they can't handle a dab of apricot preserves on top. They're pretty ideal scones, actually., lovely for breakfast or an any-time-of-day snack. (And I've still got more buttermilk, so my kick can continue.)--S

Oatmeal Nutmeg Scones

1 large egg
1/2 c cold buttermilk
1 2/3 c all-purpose flour (I substituted half whole-wheat flour)
1 1/3 c old-fashioned oats
1/3 c sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/4 t freshly grated nutmeg
1 stick plus 2 T (10 T) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

Stir the egg and buttermilk together.

Whisk the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg together in a large bowl. Drop in the butter and, using your fingers, toss to coat the pieces of butter with flour. Quickly, working with your fingertips (my favorite method) or a pastry blender, cut and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly. You'll have pea-size pieces, pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pieces the size of everything in between--and that's just right.

Pour the egg and buttermilk mixture over the dry ingredients and stir with a fork just until the dough, which will be wet and sticky, comes together. Don't overdo it.

Still in the bowl, gently knead the dough by hand, or turn it with a rubber spatula 8 to 10 times. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it in half. Working with one piece at a time, pat the dough into a rough circle that's about 5 inches in diameter, cut it into 6 wedges and place on the baking sheet. (At this point, the scones can be frozen on the baking sheet, then wrapped airtight. Don't defrost before baking--just add about 2 minutes to the baking time.)

Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until their tops are olden and firmish. Transfer them to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before serving, or wait for the scones to cool to room temperature.

Makes 12 scones.

Recipe courtesy of Baking by Dorie Greenspan

No comments: