Thursday, October 22, 2015

Lemon Zest, Turkish Apricot Scones

This morning I had none of my boys in the kitchen until the scones were done baking. But I still choose to think of this as an entry for this particular blog as I really do use their need for food as one of my motivations for cooking and baking.

A second motivation recently has been my need for a stress relief on mornings on which I am not running.  I am not happy about not running.  But to be able to run strong and safely in the long term, I need some short term rest.

So, I have experiments with two different types of scones over the past two days.  Both were fun.  And both were in the spirit of food as art.  On each day,  I focused on the colors in the scones.

Yesterday was a red and black day.  Some might think of these two colors as a direct reference to Les Miserables.  I think of these two colors instead as a reference to my growing up.  At the Highland Park elementary school in Upper Darby the the mascot was (and maybe still is) the hawks.  And on field day it was black against read.  An elementary school shirt was a red shirt with a black hawk on it.  My food choice--the basic recipe found here with  3/4 cup each of dried cranberries and chocolate chips thrown in.  Yummy!

Today's was a bit trickier.  My two sons who still live at home were disappointed when I previewed the scones and told them there would be no chocolate.  However, I was going for more subtle flavors.  So I found a recipe here and modified it just a little.  I didn't use the currants but instead used coarsely chopped Turkish apricots.  I replaced the cream with 2% milk.  (Mostly for not having any cream on hand.)  And I doubled the recipe.  These were VERY yummy!

I wanted the Turkish apricots as today's artistic touch was to use yellow and brown.  My 16 year old asked, "Why brown?"  I told him it was because of a conversation I had with a friend recently in which we talked about these two colors.  Topping the scones with a mixture of milk and cinnamon and sugar added to the nice flavor.  The lemon zest is a fresh flavor.  The dried Turkish apricots are sweet but more of a fall flavor in my opinion.   The yellow can be the bright color of the sun, a beautiful sunflower, or fall leaves.  The flavors were more subtle than with the chocolate and cranberries.  Cranberries are generally an "in your face" kind of fruit. And even semi-sweet chocolate chips are pretty bold.

So, I like working on contrasting scones with interesting flavors and thinking of food as art.  What do the colors represent?  How do I come up with the color combinations anyway?  (Shall I create a purple and gold scone for my high school colors or a maize and blue scone for Michigan?)

Fun memories.  Fun triggers for experimenting with the scones.  And tasty food.  What an exciting ay to bring concepts together.

Here are a few pictures form this morning.

Lemon Zest

Lemon Zest + Apricots
Scones shaped and topped with milk,
cinnamon, and sugar

Baked Scones 
Scone cut open 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Chocolate Macadamia Nut Scones

I have made breads for a while.  I have done biscuits.  And over the years of baking I have done, I have tried scones every once in a while.  Over the past couple of weeks I have made two recipes of cinnamon and sugar scones and two recipes of chocolate with macadamia nut scones.  I have shared scones with two running partners, another fellow member of Back on My Feet, people at work, and family at home of course.  Everyone seems pretty happy.

For the latter recipe, I have used a recipe from (  However, the recipe is somewhat difficult to read and I have made some modifications.

So, here it goes:

1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
2 cups plus 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut up
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2⁄3 cup milk
2 tbsp chocolate shavings

Preheat oven to 425 F.  

Chop macadamia nuts coarsely.  Mix 1/2 cup of the macadamia nuts with 2 cups flour, the baking powder and salt.  

Keep butter in the refrigerator until just before using.  Cut into small pieces and mix with dry ingredients.  Using a pastry knife or two butter knives. but up the butter until it forms a coarse meal with the flour.  

Add sugar, mixing gently to coat the coarse meal.

Add milk and mix until dough comes together.  Add up to 1/2 cup additional flour if dough remains sticky.  Handle dough the minimum amount possible.  

Flour a surface to spread dough and spread to approximately 1/2 inch thickness.  Cut into circles (I used a floured wine glass--make sure it is not a really skinny wine glass but it doesn't have to be extremely wide either).  Gather up leftover dough to form extra scones (again trying to handle as little as possible).

Place scones on a baking sheet--stone if you have one--and top with remaining 1/4 cup of chopped macadamia nuts.  For chocolate shavings, I like to take a dark chocolate bar and grate it.  (Of course, you can use more chocolate if you'd like.)

Place in oven and bake for 12 minutes.