Thursday, May 12, 2016
There's Something about Baking Scones ...
I've written about this before. I don't care. I'm doing it again. Scone-baking. As I sit here (10:45 a.m.), I can smell them, just out of the oven, now sitting on a wire cooling rack in the kitchen. It's all I can do not to go in there right now and shove them--all of them, all eight of them--in my face. And then think up a lie to tell Joyce ... I tossed them, Joyce--I forgot the egg ... ruined 'em ....
But no. I'm mature. I'll not do that. Instead, I'll just write a little about them.
I started baking my own scones a few years ago when I got tired of paying megabucks for them at coffee shops and bakeries. And I quickly learned something; I like my own scones a whole lot better. Not bragging, just saying.
I don't use any recipe dating back to the Ancient Egyptians--just some recipe I found online, a recipe that didn't look too troubling; I modified it a little: egg, sugar (I use local honey), 2 cc flour (I use 1/4 oat, 1/2 whole wheat, 1/4 white), baking powder, baking soda, salt, then ... the add-ins. The batch you see above has walnuts and dried cranberries. I sometimes use dried cherries instead.
But the most common items I use are Ohio maple syrup (instead of the sugar--with a dash of maple extract to make the flavor "bite" a bit more) and pecans.
What I really like about the process is how quickly it all happens: From I think I want scones today to Those are nice-looking scones it's only about a half-hour, including clean-up. This is vastly different from the regular sourdough baking I do each week (or more), a process that requires a decision hours in advance. My usual pattern: feed the sourdough starter about 9:30 on Saturday night--about 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, put some of the starter back in the fridge--then bake bread (or whatever) with the rest of it--and this can take several hours (mix-rise-shape-rise-bake).
So scones are sort of the instant-coffee version of my baking: quick, pretty good, not as good as the Full Meal Deal.
I eat a scone every morning for breakfast--every day but Sunday, but that's another story for another time (a secular reason, by the way). After the scones are out of the oven and have cooled to room temperature, I bag them and put them in the freezer. Each morning when I come down to unload the dishwasher, etc., I take one out, wrap it in a paper towel, then return upstairs to make the bed, shower, dress, etc. (Joyce has long ago left for the health club.) Then I come down, pop it in the microwave for about 30 sec., then put in in my jacket pocket and walk over to the coffee shop, where the kind owners pretend they don't see me eating it while I sip their coffee, check email, Facebook, and begin my morning's quota of pages for the latest book I'm reviewing for Kirkus Reviews (about 100 pp/morning). I also pop a heavy-duty calcium/Vitamin D pill (necessary twice a day because the anti-cancer med I'm on has the effect of weakening bones; the pill retards that side-effect).
Joyce eats a scone occasionally, especially when they're right out of the oven. (She knows when they're at their best!)
Right now, she's already walked into my study to say they smell and look really good. That's Joycespeak for I'm gonna devour one at lunch!