Well, it seems like time has gotten away from me. Skittered, Scattered. Slunk.
You know what hasn’t seemed to disappear, however ?
The past, oh I don’t know, week or so has been hot and humid in my neck of the woods. Every morning, walking to work (after the car and train ride, I might add), I am just covered in an unhappy film of dog day perfume: perspiration. In such oppressive heat and humidity, nobody wants to cook. In my house, we’ve been creating cold salads, grilling often, and even toasting breakfast outside in an effort to keep the oven dormant and cold.
Yes, I am using the heat as an excuse for my miserable updating skills. As a result, in celebration of this lovely, cool evening, I’m adding a fabulous morning treat otherwise entitled “Lemon Ginger Scones.” Around here, we don’t have a lot of entertainment…trees, birds, boats, testing pontoons in a pool…maybe not that last one, but the novelty of going to the General Store for breakfast never seems to wear off. What to order ? Scones. Scones scones scones scones. And a cappuccino (if you’re me; others prefer americanos). In any case, it dawned on me that while I will always love the 2 mile trek down the road, making my own scones is also an option.
Therefore, when my mom showed up with a bag of candied ginger, we were off to the races. These scones are aromatic and spicy with an almost-authentic texture thanks to the use of plain yogurt. You cannot make these without real, candied ginger. It will not taste the same. Go on, take a risk and purchase this odd ingredient because its presence adds fabulous bursts of flavor in every bite of scone. It also pairs fantastically with coffee, a fried egg, and perhaps some cheesy grits.
2 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp lemon zest + the juice of a lemon
1/2 tsp lemon extract (if you are lemon fans)
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, frozen and chopped
4 1/2 oz candied ginger (about 2/3 cup), chopped into small chunks
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 cup plain yogurt
Preheat the oven to 400F. Using a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the flour, sugar and barking powder. Pulse on low to incorporate. If you don’t have a food processing machine, it’s okay – just use a spoon to mix together these three ingredients.
Add the lemon zest, butter, lemon juice and extract. Pulse on and off, until the mixture is pale yellow and crumbly – you should be able to press it between your fingers and it will make a loose ball. If you are without a mixer, just knead the butter in with your hands – the heat from your fingers will render the butter easier to work with, but be sure to begin with VERY COLD BUTTER. If it warms up too much, it will change the texture of the scone and the consistency of the batter.
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the ginger. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt and the cream, stirring to make a smooth mixture. Make a well in the ingredients; pour the dairy into the flour combo and stir with a spoon or your hands – whatever you prefer. I like to get messy in the kitchen, so I’ll use my natural appendages to mix, but don’t hesitate to use a little tool here and there.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Roll out until it’s about 3/4 of an inch thick. Cut into rounds – just as I did for the strawberry shortcakes, I used a glass to make nice circles to great effect. Place into a greased baking sheet, spaced about 1 inch apart from each other.
Brush the tops with cream, drizzle with some raw sugar if you so desire, and bake for about 14 minutes or until just beginning to brown.
Devour with a hot cup of coffee and a beautiful summer morning. Bon appétit !