I like to consider myself a reasonable person in most matters, but I am a bonafide snob when it comes to scones. I blame it all on my mother. She made scones--namely buttery, currant scones, from the Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery--on a regular basis, whipping them up in minutes (sans food processor or even pastry cutter), and then presenting them at table, snug in a linen-lined basket, with an assortment of jams and opinions regarding what a proper scone should be: (1) Made in a home kitchen; (2) served warm (preferably fresh out of the oven); (3) light, not leaden. In other words, everything a store-bought, or even bakery-made scone, can never be.
I think I've already passed my scone snootiness on to Nick: I purchased a mini vanilla scone for him at Starbucks the other week (per his request--he is both pro-icing and pro-vanilla) and he promptly declred it "yucky" (although he did lick and nibble off all of the icing). Fortunately for both of us, we have Kevin, who considers this kind of selectivity utterly ridiculous (unless, of course, one is talking about steak or pale ale).
And Kevin does love my scones, so I was happy to make some pre-church this past Sunday morning. I had plenty of time, which clashed with my deep-seated need to get dressed and ready for church at the very last minute. I have about 20 favorite scone recipes (really; cue the eye-rolling from Kevin), but settled on one that uses a combination of olive oil and butter, because (a) it's yummy; and (b) I was low on butter and eggs. I swapped half of the a-p flour for white whole wheat flour, and added the zest from the lone orange in the fruit basket and dried cherries from the pantry.
Together with coffee, the newly and gloriously cool weather, & the company of Nick & Kevin, it was a pretty perfect morning. Add to that, Nick did the dishes--his new passion in life--while I threw on some clothes and make-up. Enjoy!
Whole Wheat-Dried Cherry Scones
Mom's right, scones are best eaten shortly after baking, but these are still darn good re-warmed (and, much as I may like to eat 3 or 4 scones in one sitting, 1 is typically plenty). Let them cool completely, then tightly wrap in plastic wrap, or seal in a plastic zipper-top bag. Re-warm them in the oven or toaster oven (not the microwave oven--no scone deserves such a fate)
1 cup whole wheat flour (preferably white whole wheat, but regular is fine, too) 1 cup all-purpose flour 1/4 cup granulated sugar 1 tbsp baking powder 1/4 tsp baking soda 1/4 tsp salt 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt 2 tsp finely grated orange zest 3/4 cup dried cherries (or any dried fruit you like or have on hand) Optional: 1-2 tbsp Turbinado sugar
Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray, or line with a silpat.
Place the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in the bowl of a food processor or into a medium mixing bowl and pulse or stir until well blended. Add the butter and oil and pulse until mixture resembles fresh breadcrumbs (or use a pastry cutter and large bowl to do this).
Add the buttermilk, orange zest, and cherries; lightly with fork until dough just comes together.
On a lightly floured board, pat the dough into a circle that is about 1” thick and 9” in diameter on the cookie sheet. Optional: brush with a bit of buttermillk and sprinkle with Turbinado sugar.
Cut the circle into 8 wedges with a knife or pastry cutter and separate them on the sheet so that they are at least an inch apart. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until golden. Serve warm. Wrap well and refrigerate or freeze any extras. Makes 8 scones.
Vegan Whole Wheat-Dried Cherry Scones: Prepare as directed, but use vegan margarine in place of the butter and a 6-oz container of soy vanilla yogurt in place of the buttermilk.