December’s Third Thursday December 15, 2011Posted by Toy Lady in baking, random stuff, Third Thursday.
Welcome to December’s Third Thursday – it’s December already!
Now while I don’t have any special holiday baking that I’m doing right now, I guess one could consider these Gingerbread Scones to be holiday-ish.
I’ve been reading Elly Says Opa for a while now – Elly’s a young mom – I remember when she “announced” her pregnancy! I think her little boy is at least a toddler now, though he may be ready to start school for all I know.
I’m kind of bad at keeping track of things when I get busy.
So here I was, earlier this week, wondering what the HECK I was going to do for Third Thursday. I mean, I have been working late every day for, oh, about a month now, Elly posted a list of some of her favorite holiday recipes, and oh, hey, gingerbread scones?
We love scones.
And it appeared that we had everything on hand to try these – which is always a plus on a weeknight when I’ve already worked 2 hours late. The LAST thing anyone wants to do is stop at the store on the way home, you know?
As you probably know, scones are basically a variation of baking powder biscuits – which are totally not hard.
First, we mix up the dry ingredients – in this case, 1-3/4 c. flour, 3/4 c. rolled oats, 1/3 c. brown sugar (yes, I know sugar usually counts as a liquid), 2 tsp. ground ginger, 1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/8 tsp. ground cloves, 1/4 tsp. salt, 2 tsp. baking powder and 1/4 tsp. baking soda.
And meanwhile, we take a stick (1/2 cup.) of cold butter, and chop it into little bits. I like to cut it into tablespoons, then cut those tablespoons into quarters.
Cut the butter into the flour mixture – you can use two knives, but honestly?
I don’t know how that works. I went to the local restaurant supply and invested the $2 in a pastry cutter. Seriously. If you ever make biscuits (or scones) just do it.
Then it’s time for the liquids.
To 1/2 cup of buttermilk (I don’t even remember when we got the buttermilk – or for what – but it wasn’t lumpy, and it wasn’t furry, so it was still good!) so to the buttermilk, we add 2-1/2 tablespoons of molasses (I JUST picked up a quart of baking molasses last weekend, too!) and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
My parents brought us back a quart of vanilla from Mexico – I won’t lie, it was probably the best vanilla we’ve ever had.
But DUDE, a quart? Goes a long way.
(We’re actually working on our second quart. Not to mention the homemade stuff we’ve always got brewing. We like our vanilla.)
So . . . the scones. Just like biscuits, you add your liquid to your dry, and give it a quick mix.
You don’t want to overmix it – just moisten the flour mixture enough so you can dump it onto the counter and knead it a bit.
Knead gently half a dozen times until everything (mostly) sticks together.
I divided my dough in half and patted it into two rounds.
Then I sliced each round into 8 wedges – I wanted small-ish scones. After all, any minute now, the Holiday Cookie Gifts are going to start flooding into the office.
The last thing we want when they show up is to be all full of scones, you know?
Now here is where Elly and I kind of parted ways. Rather than an egg wash, once the scones were placed (not touching) on a lined baking sheet, I brushed a bit of cream on their little tops.
Then I sprinkled them with some maple sugar.
See, I don’t have patience for glaze – you’ve got to sift the sugar (which, really, who has time for that?) and then you want to drizzle and wait for everything to set. . .
And glaze is just so sweet.
One of the vendors at our public market has maple syrup, maple candy, and, of course, maple sugar.
So I went ahead and sprinkled my unbaked, cream-brushed scones with a healthy pinch of maple sugar.
Maybe not as visually stunning as a nice glace, but much simpler, and, in the long run, slightly healthier.
Heh, look at me, using a stick of butter, brushing with heavy cream, and sprinkling with sugar, THEN talking about healthy!
I baked the little guys at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes until they were nicely golden. It’s kind of hard, though, to tell when something flavored with molasses and cinnamon has browned. So I tested them with a toothpick, just like a cake, to be sure they were done.
And at 20 minutes, they were perfect.
I took a bunch to work to share, and Peeps took a bunch to work to share. His container came home empty – they were a big hit.
Unfortunately, the cookies started coming into my office today, so the less-glamorous scones kind of got forgotten.
That’s okay, though. More for me.
And these scones were quite good – not quite gingerbread, but very tasty – not too sweet, with just a touch of maply goodness on top, and just perfect with a fresh cup of coffee. Or tea, if that’s how you roll.
If you’d like to play along, leave a comment with a link to (or a description of) your Third Thursday project – tell us what you’re up to! For loose (really loose!) guidelines, or if you want to check out some past Thursdays, they’re right here!