Monday, May 7, 2012
Oatmeal-Maple Scones, Boston and an Anniversary
Today is the first anniversary of Blue Kale Road, and what a road it has been. When I began this journey, I had no idea of all the fun, creative challenges and learning I was embarking on. It’s been a year of happy discoveries!
One of the unexpected joys of writing Blue Kale Road is meeting other food bloggers, both online and in person. What a world of kind, supportive, delightful people! I was in Boston this past week to visit my parents as they prepare to move to California. In addition to having a “last hurrah” with my folks in my hometown, I was looking forward to meeting three of my favorite food bloggers. I am consistently inspired when I read Molly, Sara and Emily’s lovely blogs and I want to cook all they share. Seeing each of them in person was a treat – what a pleasure to meet such vibrant, talented women!
I indulged in a few other treats last week, too - Boston is filled with amazing restaurants. Since my parents are leaving the city we took advantage of this opportunity to eat out ... a lot. We popped in to some of their local favorite spots like the Grotto, Paramount, Pierrot, the Sail Loft and even tea at the Four Seasons! Creamy garlic soup, Greek omelets, buttery Dover sole, rich goat cheese puff pastry, glasses of champagne ... let’s just say it’s a good thing we were walking everywhere, which also allowed me to take in some of my best-loved Boston sights.
A morning visit to Flour Bakery and Café left me happily filled with sweets. Joanne Chang does not disappoint! My parents and I studied the chalkboard menu filled with tempting choices and finally decided upon the granola bar, lemon ginger scone, pecan sticky roll and almond biscotti, all to share amongst ourselves with our cups of coffee. Bliss, I tell you.
The Flour cookbook has been on my wish list, so I seized the moment and bought it while in Boston. What better way to bring a taste of the bakery home with me? And now I can share with you.
Yesterday, my first morning home, found me in the kitchen with my cup of tea, the Hunger Games soundtrack playing and the Flour cookbook open. What to bake? I made Joanne Chang’s luscious homemade Oreos last fall for a bake sale, so I decided to focus on a breakfast item for my sleeping family. Not surprisingly, given my love of all things maple, the Oatmeal-Maple Scones called out to me. I improvised a bit with the recipe since I hadn’t been grocery shopping yet, substituting milk for cream, honey for half of the maple syrup, walnuts for the pecans and dried blueberries for the golden raisins.
The resulting scones were heavenly. The maple glaze filled the craggy tops with earthy sweetness, and biting into the scone’s crisp surface yielded a buttery, flaky interior. Nibbling on a scone in the sunshine, reflecting on the past year and daydreaming about what may lie around the next curve in the road ahead made for a very content morning. I am grateful to be in this moment.
Adapted slightly from Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery and Café
By Joanne Chang
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups oats (not instant or quick)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 8 pieces
1/3 cup cold milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup dark honey
1 cold egg
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, walnuts and dried blueberries and mix on low speed with the paddle attachment. Drop the pieces of butter over the mixture and beat on low speed for about 30 seconds, until the butter mixes in a bit but is still rather chunky.
In a small bowl, stir together the milk, syrup, honey and egg until well combined. Pour the mixture into the flour mix and beat for about 30 seconds on low speed. The dough will be soft.
Remove the bowl from the stand and use a spatula or plastic bench scraper to scrape the dough down from the sides and mix in any dry spots. Use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to scoop and drop mounds of the scone dough on the lined baking sheet.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Transfer to a rack and let cool.
While the scones are cooling, whisk together the powdered sugar and maple syrup. Drizzle in enough water to make a smooth glaze (I used close to 1 tablespoon). Brush the glaze over the tops of the scones, call everyone to the table and watch them pounce on the scones. Enjoy!