Thursday, March 15, 2018

Ugly Lumps of Tasty Happiness

Just a warning before you go any further,

Almost every afternoon between 2 and 4 pm I need some strong tea to keep me going and push the anxiety and despair that have become such a vibrant part of living in 2018 back into the little lock box in my brain where they live (the little buggers then jimmy the lock and we have a grand old time at approximately 2:30 EVERY FUCKING MORNING.)

Here's the tea I currently drink which I buy on Amazon because they don't sell it in the US and most US tea is as weak as dirty dishwater:

I know it is possible to just have a cup or two of tea and not eat anything. But I'm usually also feeling a bit of blood sugar dip about then and quite frankly just want some goddamn baked thing to have with it. But, as mentioned in my last post, all those things I used to make like heavenly lemon scones and supernatural brownies now hit my aging metabolism like a brick and I spike then I crash and OH BOY IS LIFE WITH KATE EVER FUN THEN.

So I started trying to put together a scone recipe that I can eat without metabolic whiplash. I came up with something that works for me and I think it is pretty tasty: it is totally whole grain with whole wheat pastry flour and buckwheat flour. It uses coconut sugar which has a lower glycemic index than regular sugar. And it has walnuts in it to give it some protein and metabolism stabilization. To keep these from tasting like baked cardboard I add the zest of a whole orange, about a 1/4 of a freshly grated nutmeg and some vanilla extract; those three ingredients are basically food perfume. The dry stuff has a decent amount of butter cut into it and then buttermilk is added to make it doughy.

The first time I made these, I tried to pat them into a circle and then cut triangular scone-shaped wedges.
They looked scone-like, but were still too crumbly to cut in half and it was a royal pain in the ass. The dough is wet. It stuck to my hands and spatula and the parchment paper and I probably lost at least a half a scone's worth of dough which made me grumpy.

Then it occurred to me that the recipe is a lot more like a drop biscuit (flour, butter, buttermilk) than a scone (flour, butter, heavy cream or mix of milk and egg) so the next time I saved myself some grief and just used a spoon to blop it on the baking sheet. BONUS: I got 8 reasonably sized scones out of it rather than 6 in the wedge formation AND my hands weren't covered in gunk. 

After baking they looked like this:


It was a rough day when I baked the last batch so I made a pot of tea and ate two of them:

First one, with a thick layer of lemon curd spread on top. (I am aware that lemon curd has a shit-ton of refined sugar and I am undoing the stabilizing benefits of said scone. Bite me.)
Second one, a layer of Irish butter and crumbles of excellent sharp English cheddar pressed into the butter.  (The book in the background is The Taste of Empire by Lizzie Collingham which is the perfect book to read while drinking tea.)

They also freeze pretty well. If you take one (or two) out a few hours before you intend to eat it, the texture should be ok. If you have a toaster oven and can pop it in for about 5 minutes at 300 degrees then it'll be almost as good as when they first came out of the oven. 

Ugly Lumps of Tasty Happiness AKA Buckwheat Walnut Drop Scones

1 1/3 C whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 C buckwheat flour
1/3 C coconut sugar
1/2 t baking soda
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 of a freshly ground nutmeg (probably about 1/2 t if you are using the pre-ground stuff)
fine zest of one orange
6 T cold butter cut into cubes
1/3 C walnuts 
3/4 C buttermilk
1 t vanilla

Heat your oven to 400 degrees F. Put parchment paper or a silpat liner on a baking sheet.

In a food processor combine flours, sugar, baking soda and powder, salt, nutmeg and orange zest. Pulse a few times to mix it up. Scatter butter cubes over dry stuff and pulse a few times to pea-sized pieces. If you are using whole walnuts chuck them in and pulse a few times to chop them (do not grind them into dust). If your walnuts are already chopped or you prefer to do it by hand, then just mix them in with the dry stuff in the next step.

Dump everything from the food processor in a mixing bowl. In a measuring cup, mix together buttermilk and vanilla. Pour it over the dry stuff and use a silicon spatula to mix it in gently. You just want the dough to come together and eliminate dry spots. Get out a spoon and blop 8 scone-sized blops on the baking sheet. Bake for 18 minutes until lightly browned. 

Let cool slightly then serve with butter, jam, cheese or whatever floats your boat.

1 comment:

Susan W said...

I love EVERYTHING about this post. Absolutely everything. also, excited to try out the recipe, thank you for sharing it!