OK, so I might have taken things a wee bit too far the other morning. Just a smidge.
We were struggling, as usual, to get the momentum moving in our ever-so-halting quest to start our day. The plan was to leave the house in about a half hour so that Little Man and I could drop Dave off at work and then we would head to a friend’s house for a play date. That’s when it happened… I remembered that I hadn’t made muffins or scones to bring for a snack. Now, in hindsight my response could have been “ah well, next time I’ll do it.” Then I would have simply grabbed a couple of extra handfuls of the healthy portable snacks we have around so that there would be extra to share with his buddies. That would have been reasonable. That would have been a good use of time. That also would have been a wise choice leading to marital accord and to not freak out your spouse who is chronically stressed about being late to work (or maybe he’s just stressed about my ability to find things that “must” be done before we leave the house, like unpacking one box just to say that I’d done my quota for the day, or transplanting a seedling of kale to Little Man’s garden spot, or moving the pillows before they get destroyed by cats, the list goes on…). As you might have guessed, my response to this situation was not the rational one.
Instead, I grabbed my Ipad and started to flip desperately through recipes to see what ingredients we had on hand so that I could whip something up. I couldn’t do the Blackberry Oatmeal Muffins the batter has to rest for 20 minutes before baking and we didn’t have that kind of time. No, not the Cheddar Chive Scones; I wanted sweet not savory. And not the Banana Chocolate Muffins; I wanted their appearance to be a bit more wholesome since I was taking them to someone else’s house… and there would be fewer chocolatey hand prints to clean up this way also. So I decided to wing a new batch of scones that I hadn’t tried yet: Blueberry Cinnamon Scones. Now set on this path, nothing could sway me, much to my spouse’s dismay. Little Man, however, was in complete support of my harebrained plan and was singing his scone song in the background.
I start tossing ingredients into the food processor, whirring up oats into oat flour, adding the other flours, brown sugar, etc. Then when I got to the part of the recipe where I needed to cube up the butter, I glanced into the refrigerator and realized my fatal error. I was out of eggs. For my plan of world domination to succeed I needed one egg. I could have stopped at this point, dumped the flour mixture into a resealable bag, tossed it in the refrigerator and finished them at another time. No big deal. Instead, I grabbed my egg collecting basket and booked it out the front door. Oy… Isn’t that what the normal person would do in the morning? If you’re out of eggs, what other option but to run through your backyard like a crazed banshee, across the farm lot and to the hen house. The sun was up, but just, and it was peeking over the cedars behind the barn. I had a moment to admire the gilded edges of the sunflowers that ring the garden before I was at the hen house door.
I was already dressed to go to my friend’s house, so now I was carefully stepping around chicken poo in my low-top Converse to get to the laying boxes. The chickens were not happy to see me, primarily since an industrious farmer’s daughter had already been up to visit the birds in order to harvest their plenty. Having previously been disturbed and robbed, the chickens did not look kindly on me as I prepared to loot their nests again. Then their looks of dismay turned to scorn as we all realized that where there are normally dozens of eggs, now there were only two single eggs to be found. I grabbed my booty and headed for the door before their derision turned to outright chicken hostility.
Outside the sheep berated me for not filling their troughs, the pigs tried to get my attention asking why I hadn’t brought out the slop bucket, and as I dodged a particularly large dragon fly, it was all I could do to not break out in hysterical giggles. Who would have thought that my going back to graduate school (where I met Dave and started our crazy adventure) would have led to this.
Once back inside the house I quickly finished the dough and got the scones in the oven. Dave was still getting ready, trying to convince Little Man to change out of his pjs, and casting me rather bemused glances. Little Man was dancing around playing hockey, signing, and generally ignoring whatever his parents wanted him to do. And I had succeeded in destroying our kitchen before even making my own cereal. Let the games begin…
As it all ended up, the scones were great even though they needed a little extra baking time because of the frozen blueberries. I was able to get Dave to work almost on time, and Little Man and I had a wonderful time playing with friends. The only glitch was during the play date when Little Man came up beside me on the couch at our friends’ house with a mouth bulging with blueberry scone and a mischievous smile on his face. He had already finished his own scone, and seeing his friend leave the table to play with a truck, Little Man struck with viper-like speed. Then he came to me, not having an ounce of subterfuge in his heart (yet), smiled his blueberry grin, and proudly stated “took scone.” Little Man is definitely his father’s son. Just ask his Auntie Jen about the pilfered cherry tomato when we were in graduate school. She learned quickly to not leave spare tasty bits around like that. While Little Man managed to stuff quite a lot of the pilfered scone into his mouth, there was still a bit left and I don’t think his friend minded. I’ll just bring a few extra to leave behind next time. And perhaps I’ll plan a little bit in advance before I find myself wondering if I have time to go find a cow to milk for my tea.
Blueberry Cinnamon Scones
½ cup oats
½ cup whole wheat flour
¾ cup white flour
2 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 tblsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
1 ½ cup blueberries, frozen
6 tblsp. butter, ½ in. cubes
1 large egg
1/4 cup yogurt, plain
3-4 tblsp. milk
1 tbsp. cinnamon sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a food processor blitz the oats to a coarse meal. Add the other flours, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon and salt, and then process to combine. Add the butter and pulse to blend. The butter should be in roughly pea-sized bits.
3. Pour the flour mixture into a large bowl. Add the blueberries and toss to coat. Set aside.
4. In a small bowl beat together the egg, yogurt and milk. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and mix until the dough just comes together. If it is too dry and powdery to hold its shape, then add more milk a scant tablespoon at the time. It should look quite dry (see picture), and will not actually come together until dumped out and kneaded.
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it 4-5 times. This is not like kneading bread dough, but is more of a gentle fold over. The goal is to not handle the dough too much, since that warms up the butter. The colder your butter, the flakier your scones. Once the dough is together and kneaded, pat it into a 8-inch round and cut it into eight wedges.
6. At this point you can bake your scones immediately, or you can freeze the dough to use in the near future. If you choose to freeze your scones, wrap them well in plastic wrap and put them in the freezer on some form of plate or sheet tray. Once they are completely frozen you can remove the plate and keep them frozen for 1-2 weeks.
7. When you are ready to bake your scones, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, and space the scones evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the scones with milk and sprinkle them with the cinnamon sugar.
8. Bake until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes if the dough was used immediately or closer to 25 minutes if the dough was frozen. To check if the dough is baked completely, just give a scone a little touch on top while still on the baking rack. If the scone seems gooey in the center you will feel it, and that means it needs more time. If the scone is mostly firm to the touch, then it is done and can be cooled. If they need more time, bake for an additional 3-5 minutes and check them again. Cool on a wire rack and serve.
Click here for a printable version of the Blueberry Cinnamon Scones recipe.