Whenever I talk to my sister I often exclaim loudly, Hey! I wish we were eating scones on the back porch with your strawberry jam and a huge pot of Golden Jubilee tea. She kinda sighs and says, yes Jude, that would be amazing. But sadly we are both left to drool and dream about the day when we will be reunited and can eat scones together again. We've shared many a great breakfast over my dad's earthy almond and cranberry spelt scones while the West coast rain pours down outside, or the July sun streams in the windows. In my mind it's usually Saturday and dad is getting ready for track practice, Sal has a rehearsal to go to, or a garden to weed, I have a paper to write, Katherine is off to some dance or capeoira class, but for a blissful hour we can guffaw, chuckle and snort about how funny we are.
My greatest fantasy about scones definitely involves the lake house in Oregon. Last summer I made cherry scones on my birthday and ate about 3, accompanying them with more jam and coffee than acceptable. During the most recent visit I was jet-lagged and waking up at 7 every morning or earlier. One of these mornings I decided fresh scones would benefit every one. They're my favourite breakfast treat to make and share with other people (with muffins it's a tie!). Eaten out there on the deck among the scattered newspaper, various home decorating magazines, Nana's collected rocks and seashells, multi-coloured woven place mats, and extinguished tea-lights from the night before, it's (as I've said before) paradise.
Now, I'm going to have to talk about Molly Wizenburg again (my deepest apologies! but she is so adored over here). During the course of my recent food-blog browsing, I've seen countless other foodies who have written about her scone recipe with enthusiasm and success. I've been dreaming of plain cream scones that would be the perfect canvas for Katherine's homemade strawberry jam. So I made some. And oooh boy! They were perfect. I feel justified in announcing such perfection because my FATHER! said they were the best scones he'd ever eaten. And then shortly after Uncle Peter, his brother, came in from the deck and said, wow, those scones are the best ever! Hmmmm....something tells me they were collectively adored. I tried to humbly conceal my through-the-roof delight - inside I was throwing my hands up in the air and saying HOLY COW THESE SCONES ARE AMAZING!!!!
I will provide below two recipes. The first one is Molly's and the second one is my version. I've had a lot of anxiety and constant change in my life over the past year and although things are improving, my stomach seems to have suffered. I eliminated wheat from my diet and then brought it back in a couple of weeks ago. However, it makes me sick and irritates my skin. So from now I'm cooking with spelt flour (an ancient form of wheat). The only difference between the two is that spelt flour is finer and takes less liquid. Otherwise, they perform the same. I even like spelt better for baked goods because it produces a lighter and more delicate crumb.
They're what scones should be : light, flaky with a good delicate crunch on the outside and heavens to Betsy, not dry. Add whatever you like (nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips, lemon zest etc) to the flour before adding the milk and egg. The flour will coat your addition of choice and make mixing easier.
Preheat oven to 425 F
1/2 C milk
2 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C unsalted butter (if you use salted, leave out salt)
3 TBS sugar
any additional flavours
- Beat together milk and egg
- In another bowl mix together dry ingredients
- Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender, or use your fingers to rub it in until you have tiny pea shaped balls
- Add additions
- Pour wet into dry. Note: only add about 3/4 of the liquid and mix together gently with a fork until big lumps form. If you have a lot of flour left, add the rest of the liquid. You want the dough to just come together. Right when you think you might-maybe-possibly need more liquid, and there isn't tons of flour left in the bowl, STOP, and use your hands to bring the dough together.
-NOW, listen carefully. Knead the dough 12 times (you can do this in the bowl). Molly demands this with exactitude and I followed her instructions. The kneading lightly melts the butter and incorporates any flour left stranded in the bowl.
- Press the dough out into a circle (of about 3/4 of an inch thick - to yield big puffy scones) onto lightly floured cutting board and cut into wedges.
- Brush with left over milk and egg mixture, or just with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
Yields about 12 big scones
Bake for 10-15 min or until golden
Judy's Wheat-free Happy Belly Scones
I found white spelt flour and it tastes more authentic than whole spelt flour. The difference is equal to white flour and whole-wheat flour.
3/4 C milk
3 C white spelt flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
6 TBS butter (3/4 stick)
5 TBS sugar
Follow instructions as written above.
Last note: Because spelt flour usually makes less than a recipe will call for, my one and a half recipe made only 10 big scones. For 6 people, we needed more.
Happy breakfasting! Or brunching! Hopefully you share them with family or friends, but I bet a solo accompaniment would be quite acceptable if you find yourself in a rare moment of peaceful confident solitary bliss.