Wednesday, March 23, 2011

oat and maple syrup scones


The Sleep Fairy has left our apartment. I’m not sure what we did to her (I hope it wasn’t my cooking), or what we could leave out (teeth? might she be a distant cousin of the Tooth Fairy? cookies and milk? maybe Santa can help with these things?) to lure her to come back but we were sleeping and now we are not sleeping and we miss it terribly. Also, getting to the end of sentences while still remembering what they were about when we started them.

pot-luck brunch

My in-laws took pity on us last Saturday and invited our charge to notsleep at their place instead for the night. Of course, instead of pulling the shades and waking up a day and a half later, feeling a year and a half younger, we decided to host a brunch because apparently the only thing I miss more than sleep is entertaining friends. It was mostly a pot-luck, anyway, with Ess-a-Bagels, Russ & Daughter’s homemade cream cheese, various goodies from the Manhattan Fruit Exchange and a high chair that got relegated to cocktail ice bucket holding duties in the absence of its assigned toddler. I made thisbakedthing and also theseotherthings that might or might not show up in some silly old cookbook slated for 2012, and also, I made some oaty whole wheat maple syrup scones.

dry ingredients

a heaping tablespoon

I’ve been on a cookbook buying tear lately, to the point that you only need to make the slightest suggestion that a cookbook is good and I’ll go out and buy it. This has happened recently in the comments, which led to purchases of The Russian Heritage Cookbook and a used copy of The Cuisine of Hungary. This also happened recently over email, when I realized I didn’t own The Breakfast Book and immediately rectified that. And when Heidi at 101 Cookbooks mentioned The Many Little Meals of Rose Bakery, the book looked so charming I had it in my hands before the week was out. It had been way too long since I curled up and simple read a cookbook, end to end, and this is a sweet one to tuck into. You’ll immediately want to go to the tea shop and bakery in Paris, and hang out with its creator, Rose Carrarini, who says she wanted to “dissolve the distinction between home and restaurant cooking”. I was personally excited to learn that she found most baked goods too sweet and to find that she incorporated a lot of whole grains into her baking without making a big fuss about the healthfulness of it. I think both things come in handy when you’re making breakfast.

kneaded gently together
ready to bake, intentionally close

What’s up with all the sweets? I know! I do strive for balance, usually alternating between the sweet and the not-sweet but you see, I’ve been working on the main courses for my cookbook for the last month and much of my dinner-ish energy is going there. Not to mention, I’m running out of ways to make dead-of-winter vegetables interesting! Spring, get here soon, will ya?

One year ago: Bakewell Tart and Romesco Potatoes
Two years ago: Skillet Irish Soda Bread and Lighter-Than-Air Chocolate Cake
Three years ago: Caramel Walnut Upside-Down Banana Cake
Four years ago: Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Corn Bread and Cream Cheese Pound Cake + Strawberry Coulis

Maple Syrup and Oat Scones
Adapted from Breakfast Lunch, Tea: The Many Little Meals of Rose Bakery

These maple syrup scones have oats, whole wheat flour and maple syrup but are just barely sweet yet not at all gritty with healthfulness. I think it’s the substantial amount of butter within. Of interest, most of my favorite scones have heavy cream in them; this one does not but it has nearly the same amount of butterfat due to the higher amount of butter.

About the weights: In this recipe, they’re provided by the book’s author, not me. They differ from what I’d measure in my own cups and spoons but you can feel safe following them just the same, as they work — I did.

Yield: The book suggests 10 to 12 but I made mine (ruler-measured! yes, I’m ocd!) their suggested size and only got 8.

1 3/4 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting surface
1/2 cup (80 grams) whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (35 grams) rolled oats (I used quick-cooking)
1 very heaped tablespoon baking powder (I only slightly heaped; wish I’d heaped more!)
1 very heaped tablespoon superfine (caster) or granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
Scant 3/4 cup (160 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup milk or buttermilk
1 egg, beaten (for glaze)

Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Butter a baking tray, or, if you’re me and your baking sheets are in horrendous condition, line them with un-buttered parchment paper.

Whisk the flours, oats, baking powder, sugar and salt together in a large bowl. With a pastry blender or your fingertips, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. In a small dish, combine the milk and syrup, then add these liquid ingredients to the butter-flour mixture. By hand or with a rubber spatula, bring everything together to form a softish dough. If it feels too dry, add a little more milk but not enough that the dough is sticky. “The dough should not be stick at all,” the book admonishes.

On a lightly floured surface, pat or roll the dough out until it is 1 1/4 inches (3 cm) tall. Using a 2-inch (5-cm) cutter, cut the dough into rounds and place them on the prepared tray so that they almost touch. Glaze the tops with beaten egg and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the scones are lightly golden. The scones will stick together, so pull them gently apart when they’ve cooled a bit — pull-apart scones!

Serve warm. Also, you may find them stale the next day but your toddler may not care, so keep them around!


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