Scones are one of my favorite foods. Add a cup of tea and I’m in my comfort zone. This week as we’ve been welcomed with cold mornings, I’ve had hot fruit scones on my mind. Since it’s still summer, combining light lemon and tart cranberries, seemed right for the season of fun and frolick. The citrus is a reminder that warm days are still here but the berries are a teaser that cool autumn is around the corner.
More than a dozen summers ago, in 1999 during the anticipation of Y2K hoopla, I was a city girl beginning my new life in the mountains. While writing a book on vinegar (thoughts that it may never be published if the end days were near), baking and breakfast weren’t in my vocabulary. The first week I was fighting cob webs, seeking dust bunnies, and sweeping a cluttered deck full of pine needles. And then, it happened. I stepped on a huge, rusty nail. Since I was barefoot (forget the Zen-like feeling you can get from wearing no shoes on the South Shore, the wound was off the charts on a pain scale. One doctor’s visit later: I hobbled home and dealt with the post-stress of a tetanus shot’s achy arm. I treated myself to store-bought pastries and diet soda that didn’t help my demise.
On Wednesday (yes, we made it to the 21st century) I woke up and brewed a cup of nature’s coffee. Then, with a burst of java-induced physical energy (I almost went swimming but the big chill stopped me), I turned to the kitchen. It was time to make a batch of feel-good homemade scones. These good-for-you baked delights are fine for breakfast, brunch or an afternoon snack.
Lemon Cranberry Scones
1 cup natural whole-wheat flour
1-1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or cake flour)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup European-style butter (cold cubes)
1 brown organic egg
3/4 cup 2 percent low-fat milk
1 cup lemon Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons fresh orange rind
1 1/4 cups dried cranberries
Raw sugar (for sprinkling on top of scones)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Add chunks of butter. In another bowl, combine milk, yogurt, egg, vanilla and stir till a dough-like mixture forms. Add cranberries. Pour into a lightly greased round cake pan. Bake till firm and golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Sprinkle with raw sugar. Makes approximately 12. Serve with a pat of butter or bit of cream cheese.
I’ve made scones of all varieties: drop scones (my favorite), kneaded the dough and cut circles and triangles (all can be done with this recipe). But this summertime around, putting it together in a round pan and baking it; then slicing the cake-like quick break into perfectly shaped triangles like a pie was easy to do and easy on the eyes. The first bite of a scone was sweet and tangy with a sugar crunch. To make it more inviting I topped the sweet triangle with organic blackberry jam. I was in Scone Heaven. Teamed with a cup of calming chamomile tea I sat outside in the sunshine on the deck without nails (I wore shoes) and savored the flavorful mix of change on a summer-pre fall morning in the sierra.
Motto: Change is good despite it can be a bit unsettling. But note, keeping an open mind and heart to trying new things makes the transition feel like home.
Cal Orey, M.A. is an author and journalist. Her books include “The Healing Powers” series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, and Coffee) published by Kensington. (The Healing Powers of Honey and Coffee are offered by the Good Cook Book Club.) The Healing Powers of Coffee, Vinegar, Olive Oil, and Honey are sold at Walmart stores nationwide. Her website is www.calorey.com.