During the past few weeks, time flew. I was working 16-hour days during the week and all day on the weekends. I needed every moment I could get…typing, thinking, and a lot more thinking. As much as I hate to say it, those difficult questions my committee poses, those questions that make me both look inward to question my assumptions as well as scour countless textbooks and online resources, those are the questions I which make me grow as a person and force my research onto another level. I both love and abhor those questions. These are the questions I fixated on as I re-worked and re-wrote and re-thought and then re-worked some more.
I walked passed countless trees in full rose-bloom, fluffy pink-white against the blue sky, on my way to and from work each day. Every morning I’d feel remiss; I wanted to remember my camera, to stop and take pictures along the way. I knew by the time I had a moment to take the time to stop, focus my camera, try a few different angles, to get just the right shot…the trees would be bare or wilted. It seemed spring was unapologetically getting on without me. All of the usual signs were there, but I wasn’t quite ready to take advantage of them all.
Finally, this weekend, Ben and I took time to play.
With the windows rolled down, we drove to southeast Portland to get dinner Friday night and used the excuse to drive by a house for sale we’ve been talking about buying, dreamy-eyed and hopeful. We like the area, the close proximity to shops and restaurants, and the ease with which we could bike to work. We’ve been talking about what we would want in a home and where it would be located. We’ve been looking online at homes for sale, trying to determine what kind of a house we can expect for our price range.
My first priority? A usable kitchen, one that doesn’t have obnoxiously-sized cupboards that are just the wrong size for baking dishes and cookie sheets, no matter which way you place them, or that has three drawers, each the size of a woman’s shoebox. Seriously, what do you fit in a drawer that size? One and a half rolls of aluminum foil? There’s lots of wasted space in my kitchen.
And, finally, tonight, I baked something again. I was craving scones and chocolate, so you can imagine what I made when I got home from work today – chocolate chip hazelnut scones.
They’re good. They’re real good. I’m trying really hard to not eat another one.
Mmmm…maybe you will have more willpower than me.
Gluten free chocolate chip hazelnut scones:
To make buttermilk, simply add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a measuring cup, then fill to the one-cup line with your favorite type of milk (hazelnut, almond, soy, regular, etc). Do this before you start mixing your flours, to give the mixture a chance to become curdled. If you want to make these vegan, simply substitute coconut oil for the butter, but be sure the oil is at a temperature at which it resembles cold butter (i.e., you may need to soften the oil a bit in the microwave if you store your oil in the fridge). To coarsely chop your hazels, place them in a sturdy plastic bag and bang them up a bit with the bottom of a heavy mug.
1 cup sorghum flour
¾ cup millet flour
¾ cup tapioca flour
½ cup coconut flour
¾ teaspoon xanthan gum
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup honey or agave
1 cup buttermilk (see note above)
½ cup chocolate chips
½ cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
In a large bowl, mix your dry ingredients until thoroughly blended. Using a fork and knife or a pastry blender, mix in the butter pieces until a pebbly mixture forms.
Mix in the chocolate chips and hazelnuts. Add the honey and butter milk and stir until just moist (mixture will still be a bit crumbly).
Using your hands, form two balls with the dough and flatten each one onto your baking sheet, about 1 inch high. Slice the discs in half and then each half into thirds, so that each disc makes 6 scones.
Separate scones and place even-distance apart on the baking sheet. Dip the back of a spoon in milk and apply to tops, then sprinkle turbinado sugar on top, if desired.