Friday, April 01, 2011

Pecan Buttermilk Scones

I'm in the process of letting all of my subscriptions for food magazines expire. This is due in part as a nod to our economic situation; but, the truth is, I'm utterly unimpressed with them-- in the same way that I'm unimpressed with reality tv, shopping at the mall and designer handbags.

Since the advent of the Food Network, foodies every where have been given a voice and a stage and gained the appreciation of the general population. And that's great....hey, I'm basically a food blogger-an unknown breed even 5 years ago. But, much like I loathe bandwagoning in every other realm, I am utterly fed up with the cliques and snobbery that comes with foodies who publish physical magazines. Do I really need to pay someone actual money to tell me that bacon is the hot new thing? Really? Honey, look at my butt-I knew bacon before you could spell it.

Full page spreads of some 20-something's dinner party where they gush over the beauty of organic produce as locavores that they've now paired with a vintage french wine that cost more than my electric bill. To me, these people have become the Ambercrombie and Fitch of the food world and the unpopular chubby girl that's still inside me realizes I don't need this kind of superfluity.

 I've manned the grill. I've run the 6 tiered carousel gas oven, stacked with dozen of scratch made cheesecakes. I've stood in one place for 12 hours, icing cake after cake with consistency only to come back the next day and do it again. I've worked side by side with crusty, mean professionals that push their bodies until bones separate and muscles fail.  I've pulled the late shift, the breakfast shift, the all-nighter, the lunch rush, holidays, record heat and cold. Little Miss 20-Something doesn't know shit about what goes into creating with food, let alone trying to pay your bills with those skills.

Screw you,  popular girl, who just discovered dark chocolate and cupcakes. You sound like Paris Hilton discussing the needs of the Japanese people.

So, imagine my total  surprise when I opened the April issue of bon appetit (because I was stuck on bed rest, with no where to go) and found recipes I would actually like to use.  I theorized that some of this is due to the distinct lack of baking that has been going on in this home due to my new condition. Regardless. I guess even the popular girl can pull a decent quote for the school year book now and then.

Oh, and I totally didn't make the original recipe--you can get that here.

Preheat the oven to 425 and cover a baking sheet with either a silpat or parchment paper.

In a mixer bowl or large bowl, blend together these ingredients:

3 cups AP flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp clove
1/2 tsp nutmeg

To this, toss in
12 Tbs or 1 1/2 stick of cold butter, diced

Blend either with a mixer or your hands until the chunks of butter are about the size of peas. Now add
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1/2 cup diced dried apricot (or the dried fruit of your desire)

Blend again just until these items are covered with flour and fully incorporated. You aren't trying to make the butter disappear.

To this dry blend, you will add about a cup of buttermilk and a tsp of vanilla. I say "about" because you may need a little more to bring all the dry together. I ended up needing a cup and a half myself.

The idea here is to bring the dough together just like you would with biscuits (which is what a scone essentially is) don't want to overwork or over mix the dough. Just bring it together enough to shape and bake it. And the sooner the better as there is currently a reaction occurring between your buttermilk and your baking soda/baking powder. (baking is science, kids).

Divide the dough into two balls and shape them into disks, about 2-3 inches thick. With a large knife or bench scraper, cut the rounds into 6 each or 8's if you want a smaller portion (you'll just come back and eat another anyways).

Sprinkle with a little sugar before popping into the oven and baking for approximately 20 minutes. If it seems that the scones are getting very brown but the center seems pretty wet (around 15 minutes), cut the heat to 400.

At the center of each round, you'll be able to see if the dough is still wet-looking or dry. You can poke the center with a toothpick or sharp knife also to test for doneness. Pull out and allow to cool before cutting (yeah I never make it quite that far). A warm scone is the best comfort on a gray day. When the scones are completely cooled, you can store them in an airtight container, warming them for a 20-30 seconds apiece in the microwave if desired.


Nik said...

YUM! Too bad hubby is allergic to tree nuts. :(

Mrs. V said...

Nik, just remove the nuts (and probably the dried fruit as they are often processed at plants that also process nuts) and add something you like--like chocolate chips or frozen berries or citrus zest. The core of the recipe is sturdy enough to "play with" the flavors-as I plan to show next week with some bacon/cheddar ones :)

Nik said...

I have been making strawberry basil scones that he actually seems to enjoy. :) But I will have to try the ideas you have regarding the chocolate chips. Maybe even cinnamon chips, he likes the Panera ones. THANKS!

Mrs. V said...

see-you're a lucky woman! I couldn't get away with strawberry basil with Mr. Devlin and I'm very jealous. :) and I LOVE cinnamon chips-so good.
When I worked at a cafe for a museum in PA, our scones were essential (and famous) for afternoon tea but-as you can imagine-after years of making them, we were running out of new and creative things to add to the scones. Not that they even needed something added because sometimes the joy of a good scone is just that it's hot and has a smear of jam or marmalade across it. That didn't stop us from spending loads of time listing off every item in our inventory to add to the scones-not ALL were winners hahaha

Nik said...

Haha, my mother came over and stole all the scones from me, so my husband barely got to eat one! Ah well, more baking for me!!! :D I am headed to the grocery store today, think I will pick up some cinnamon chips. If I dont get around to it (the storms are crazy here right now!) I think I will make some cinnamon sugar biscotti. YUM!

I am super jealous you got to work at a cafe', something I've always wanted to do! The closest I got was pantry chef at a restaurant. :-/ With four kids now, I suppose its kind of like having my own cafe' at home though!

Mrs. V said...

It IS pretty impossible to say no to one's mother :) And the cafe job was in my top 2 favorite jobs ever-it was pretty much a dream job in every way (minus good money and any chance for insurance!).
....not unlike being a mother, actually :) I'm one of 4 kids and as I prepare for the concept of Baby #3, I find myself spending a lot of time wondering just *how* Mom did it all without anyone ever feeling less than important....I will have to ponder that as I spend another day on bed rest per the dr :(

Anonymous said...

LMAO!!! You're a riot. Gave me a much needed smile tonite. Thanks!

Nik said...

Aw bed rest? How far along are you? I remember with my first I was so sick that they had to hook me up to a Zofran pump that I wore all day and night. :( I was like that until 7 months along. I hope you are feeling better soon. Are your first two boys or girls or one of each? I have 2 girls then 2 boys. All done here! Yes, moms are pretty darn special that they can do that, I am from a family of 4 kids as well. I hope I can be 1/2 the mom that mine was, then I will feel like I actually deserve the title of 'Mommy'! :)

Mrs. V said...

I'm 17 weeks now. First was morning sickness as I had never experienced it before (although no pump-holy crow!). Then complications started at 15 weeks. The girls were easy, perfect pregnancies so we say this is a boy (we don't actually know that yet but I kinda hope).
Thank God for amazing mothers! I keep trying to get mine to blog all of the things she is or has done but she's never slows down long enough to tell the world about herself...she's 20X the woman I am :)

Nik said...

Well I hope its a boy for you all too! How exciting, are you finding out? I hope the complications aren't severe and that they dismiss themselves very soon. Will keep you and your little one in my thoughts and prayers. Congrats.

Mrs. V said...

thank you-I covet every prayer for this child. We planned to find out because if it is a boy, well, this house has been ruled by girls for a while and I'd like to prepare....and if it's another girl, she'll be in good company

Nik said...

Well let me tell you, boys are CRAZY (mine anyways, and I am what others call a 'strict mom'!!). I always warn other moms that have girls first to watch out, boys are so so so different! When people warned me I just nodded my head and let the words go in one ear and out the other without thinking. They were so right, and I had been warned, but I never really expected their words to be so true! Don't get me wrong, they are a blast, but they test EVERYTHING. My girls were so carefree - example.... "Mommy has to do laundry can you sit here and color?" Girls - Okay Mommy. (sits and colors until I return, sometimes even longer) Boys - Okay Mommy (silence, 'oh okay they are coloring!' when I return I find the couch colored on, the gates unlocked and the boys with screwdrivers and toys trying to open them to install new batteries.....) So different, but very very fun as well. :)

Mrs. V said...

you have children who sit???? lol In our case, it's probably going to be more a matter of personality. Thing 1 is like daddy, so she's terribly smart but without common sense and in a world all her own. Thing 2 is like Mommy, so she's just perfect lol
I've always said that creating people is a bit of "genetic roulette" so Baby could be the best combination of our good features...or all my worst nightmares in an adorable package hahaha

Nik said...

HAHA, yes children are certainly a game of chance! LOL! My two daughters are SO well behaved. We are strict parents (well, compared to many people today) and enforce discipline where needed. The girls took the discipline and learned from it quickly. The boys never learn (okay, fine, I am exaggerating!) They are certainly well behaved, but in comparison the boys have required so much more discipline! I think its also that they are hard wired differently. So you work with it, no matter what, they are all fun!!!! :) They just all grow up too fast. :(