My lists are getting ever longer — what cookies to bake when, what to look for at the store if they don’t have the kale I’m hoping to incorporate into my meals, when to do the pumpkin pie I’ll serve on Christmas afternoon (for the record, this year’s cookies will include spice cookies, sugar cookies, almond crescents, and tahini shortbread). I am pretty set on my Christmas Eve and Christmas day lunch menus (1. Baked salmon, a spinach souffle, lots of little roasted potatoes, asparagus and/or roasted cauliflower, cranberry upside down cake and cookies 2. Thanksgiving redux: turkey, kale and cabbage slaw, mushroom risotto, baked sweet potatoes, roasted broccoli, pumpkin pie, a gingerbread house cake for the little girls) and will probably make waffles after we’ve stowed away the wrapping paper. But, as Pooh might say, we’ll probably get a bit elevenish and will need a little something, as Sierra does say (at least 30 times a day) to tide us over between breakfast and the later feast. Cranberry scones would fit that particular bill nicely.
And they’re especially good on these chilly, sometimes gloomy mornings. When I manage to squeeze in a run the trail is rather ethereal in this winter light, and when I am awake enough to appreciate it I realize I will miss it when we move. The ease of leaving my house and running a few blocks to the Wadi is so needed when I barely can remember my own name sometimes. Difficult to believe we’ve been living here for almost two years and we’ll be moving on in less than two months. Foreign Service life definitely helps you to live in the moment, something for which I’m thankful.
In the interest of full disclosure, the photos in the post are of blueberry scones, made in the sleep-deprived haze of a Saturday morning. After the fact I’d wished I’d used cranberries instead, for they are perfect for these late December days. The scone base remains the same regardless of the fruit used so if you care more for, say, pear scones rather than cranberry or blueberry, you’d just cut them up finely and use in place of the cranberries. I actually was able to find fresh cranberries at the store we frequent, and have plans to use them in a cranberry-orange cake and an upside-down cake, with any leftovers turned into sauce.
We’ve got our wee decorated, lights strung just so, and a gingerbread cake tucked up high in the kitchen to save it from greedy little hands. The heat is in on and our rather cavernous house feels just about as cozy as it’s going to. Happiest holidays from our corner of the desert to where-ver in the world you are.
To make gluten-free, substitute one cup oat flour, 1/2 cup sweet rice flour and 1/4 cup brown rice flour for the whole wheat flour.
Makes 12 scones.
1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour or spelt flour (or a mix)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
8 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 cup cranberries, halved (or 1 cup bluerries)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 large egg
7 to 8 tablespoons heavy cream
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder and salt.
Rub the cubed butter into the flour mixture with your fingers and a fork until it resembles a coarse meal.
Gently fold in the zest and cranberries.
In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, the egg and 5 tablespoons of the cream.
Add to the flour mixture and gently mix with your hands until the dough just comes together. (If the dough seems dry, add an extra tablespoon of cream.)
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Pat the dough into a 6-inch round about 1-inch thick. Using a round cutter, cut dough into 12 rounds.
Place rounds on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle the 2 tablespoons of remaining heavy cream over the tops.
Bake until scones are golden brown, about 12-15 minutes. Serve warm.