Tag Archives: scones

Good things in March

Oatmeal scones with currants

Oatmeal scones with currants — and lemon marmalade

If not for St. Patrick’s Day coming up (a celebration in my family, which I wrote about here), mid-March would be kind of bleak, noted for the Ides of March (the occasion of Julius Caesar’s assassination). It’s an in-between season, neither winter or spring.

It is still rainy and blustery here, still a time to enjoy pots of soup accompanied by crusty bread.  But there are those times when you run out of bread and wish for some nice heart-warming baked goods you could whip up and take out of the oven in just about half an hour from the time you thought of it.  I’m here to tell you it can be done!

A recipe I came up with recently, oatmeal scones, is quick, easy and satisfying. You can make it plain or add currants, lemon zest or caraway seeds for a very respectable substitute for Irish soda bread (which Americans seem to remember only once a year — and then it turns out the authentic version is not what we had in mind anyway.)

oatscones3

This afternoon the idea of oatmeal scones materialized into a plateful of them so quickly that Steve could hardly believe it. Set the oven to 425 degrees now, and you can be eating them soon.

If you’re in the St. Patrick’s Day spirit, serve them with something green –perhaps Anna Thomas’ green soup,  a skillet full of sauteed chard or kale with some garlic and lemon, or maybe a chopped kale-lemon-walnut salad like the one I made today.

kalelemonsalad

Kale-lemon-walnut salad, inspired by a Portland friend

For the salad, finely chop a bunch of lacinato kale and one medium organic (or unwaxed) lemon, skin and all. Add a quarter cup of chopped toasted walnuts. (Some chopped apple would be good in this too. Or some dried cranberries.) Sprinkle with salt and drizzle in as much olive oil as you like, perhaps adding more lemon juice (stir in half a teaspoon of honey if it’s too sour for you). Very healthy!

Now would you like that scone recipe? I’ve kept the recipe small-ish (6 scones) because these really are best fresh. But if you’d like to make a dozen, it’s no problem at all to double the recipe.
oatscdoughcurrants

Oatmeal scones (makes 6)

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or substitute all-purpose flour)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup oats (not quick-cooking)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut in small pieces
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup nonfat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons currants (optional)
  • zest of one lemon; 1 teaspoon caraway seeds (both optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

  2. In a bowl, combine all dry ingredients (flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, brown sugar)

  3. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or your fingers until the butter is the size of small peas

  4. In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, mix the egg and yogurt together, then add to the dry ingredients, mixing only until it comes together into a soft dough.

  5. Sprinkle a generous portion of oats on a counter or wooden board. Form the dough into a thick circle about 6 inches in diameter and lightly press the dough into the oats on each side, so the disc is coated with oats on both sides. Then cut the dough into six wedges, like this:oatcurrant2

  6. Put the wedges on a baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes, till golden. Serve them warm.

On any day of the year, these scones will go well with both savories and sweets, from breakfast to coffee or tea time to dinner.

oatsconesandtea

I must say these scones were delicious with lemon marmalade, accompanied by a  strong cup of Irish Breakfast tea. They lifted my spirits,  chased away the March blues, and almost made me forget the tea was decaf!

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Filed under baked goods, breakfast, dessert, Praise for other cooks, salad, soup, spring, supper time, vegetables, winter

Scones: lost, found and reinvented

I made some some scones with blackberries the other day to serve with afternoon tea. Yum. They were so easy to make and tasty. And that got me thinking about how I came by this recipe.

About 15 or 16 years ago, my sister Milly gave me a calendar from Mollie Katzen’s “Still Life with Menu” book. It had Katzen’s charming paintings and a recipe for yogurt scones which I came to love so much that the calendar was always turned to the same page.

These pastries could be put together quickly, forming a wet dough that you sort-of plopped onto the baking sheet and brushed or patted with egg.  They called for yogurt instead of the more traditional (i.e. fattening) cream. And they were delectable. At first, the only change to the recipe I deemed necessary was to add (of course) grated lemon zest.

I never wrote the recipe down, because I just kept the calendar open to the scone page on top of the fridge, handy whenever I needed it, for the next couple of years.

Then it came time to move. This was about 13 years ago. I was packing up my things–but when I went to look for the calendar, it had mysteriously disappeared! I even plunged into the scary no-man’s land behind the fridge, braving cobwebs and crumbs, but there was no sign of the beloved scone recipe.

I suppose I could have bought Katzen’s book or, being cheap, checked it out from the library. Or even surreptitiously written down the recipe in a bookstore.

But instead I just tried to reconstruct it. That was pretty successful. Then I started changing it. And changing it.

At this point, I think it could be justifiably called my own recipe, or nearly so, gratefully inspired by Mollie Katzen.

The dough I use is not as wet, so you can pat it into a circle and cut it into the traditional triangular shapes.

Also, I always make these scones with berries, frozen berries–no need to thaw them– a tip that came from Nia (which she got from someone else). Steve and I picked enough blackberries this summer that I still have a couple bags in the freezer, but store-bought blueberries or raspberries will do just fine too.

I also often use whole wheat pastry flour, which works just fine. And nowadays, on the cholesterol watch, I substitute olive oil for half of the butter (the lower amount called for) and egg whites instead of whole eggs. These scones have adapted well and are still delicious!

They are perfect in any season, great in the morning for breakfast or with brunch, and just as nice as a  substantial treat for “elevenses” or afternoon coffee or tea. (Steve and I nearly always have them with tea — PG Tips, brewed for three minutes and served with milk, British style)

Yogurt Scones

  • 3 cups of flour – white or whole wheat pastry flour, or mixture. You can use up to ½ cup of oat bran in this mixture
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons butter (or 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons oil)
  • ½ to ¾ cup frozen berries or ½ cup currants or chopped nuts
  • zest of one medium lemon, finely grated, optional
  • 1 cup yogurt (nonfat or lowfat is fine)
  • 1 egg or 2 egg whites
  • confectioners sugar, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Mix the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and brown sugar) in a large bowl.
  3. Cut in the butter (or, if you’ve planned ahead and frozen the butter, you can grate it into the dry ingredients), using a pastry cutter, two knives or your fingers (working quickly).
  4. Add the frozen or dried berries and nuts to the mixture, along with the lemon zest if you’re using it and mix very briefly to distribute
  5. In a small bowl or 2-cup measuring cup, beat the egg or egg whites together with the yogurt.
  6. Pour the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture, and mix with a fork only until the two mixtures are distributed and the dough holds together. Do not overmix.
  7. Finish patting the dough together with your hands, and stir in a little more flour if needed. The dough should be very moist, but not sticky.
  8. Divide the dough in half and pat each half into a thick circle about the size of a small dinner plate.
  9. Cut the circle into 6 or 8 wedges, like a pie, and place the wedges on a baking sheet. (You can brush with beaten egg if desired, or add some glaze after baking.)
  10. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until golden.
  11. To glaze the scones, mix up some confectioners sugar with a little liquid, such as lemon juice or maple syrup, and brush it on the scones while they are still warm.

Mixed, baked and ready to serve in about 45 minutes

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Filed under baked goods, breakfast, dessert, fruit, Praise for other cooks, summer, Uncategorized