Thursday, August 15, 2013

Inspired | Lavender Lemon Scones

Yet another trip to the local farmer's market resulted in a TON of great stuff.  Denny came this time, so we obviously couldn't just buy ONE thing.  We had to buy several things: farm fresh eggs, steak burgers (so good), cucumber relish, heirloom tomatoes, homemade beef jerky, lemon orzo, Puff's "boozy" beer & chamomile jam (LOVE this company - we also have the strawberry champagne mint & raspberry whiskey chipotle), and lastly, lavender infused sugar.

When we bought the sugar from the Indigo Blooms Botanicals booth (who sold primarily herbal home and body care products), the woman asked what I was going to do with it.  I said, "I'm not sure yet, but I am always looking for new ingredients for new recipes for my blog".  She was excited to hear about the blog and told me that I would have to let her know what I made with it.  Turns out that she just had extra lavender and was looking for new ways to use it, so infused it with sugar.

That day, I started brainstorming what to do with the lavender sugar, just like I did with the rosemary sourdough bread the weekend before.  Stumbling on a recipe for lavender scones sealed the deal.  I know this is ridiculous, but I try to stay away from recipes that involve working with cold butter because I don't have a large food processor or KitchenAid miracle worker (FYI, birthdays and weddings are coming up - just saying!).  So, cold butter scares me and therefore I don't do a lot of baking...I've bent many a fork trying to knead the stuff into a stubborn cookie dough.  But I went for it anyway because this recipe said you could knead the butter in with your hands.  I have hands.  I can do this.

Next problem:  the recipe called for dried lavender buds.  Where was I going to get those??  It seemed like such a "stuck up" thing to have in a recipe.  It made me almost want to not make them, and all I could think of was the episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S where Ross smashes a scone, yelling "Stupid British snack!"  But, a Google search told me I could get them at any health food store.  I consider the Sprouts we go to be "healthy" so I went there for our groceries, in the hopes of finding lavender.  When I couldn't find it myself, I asked around "Nope, don't have it here".  Ugh, I was NOT going to go to another store.  If grocery stores were peaceful, quiet meccas of amazing food, I would love grocery shopping.  But they aren't.  They are crowded, noisy, warehouses full of aimlessly wandering shopping carts that you usually have to dodge, lest they run you over in the frozen food aisle.

I was bummed.  I thought lavender scones weren't happening.  But then, while shopping in the bulk food section, I saw a shelf of bulk spices and herbs and alas lavender buds!!!  Can I just say, I l-o-v-e the bulk foods section.  Even before it magically brought me lavender.  Nuts, rice, granola galore - and so CHEAP!  I remember when I worked at Whole Foods and people would fill the entire check out counter with bags of bulk foods and I thought they were crazy hippies...until I saw their bill compared to other people's.  Then I thought they were geniuses who knew of a loop hole in the (sometimes) ridiculously expensive health food industry.  I filled a small ziploc baggie with the lavender and it cost me something like $.23.  No joke.  So, when in doubt, check out the bulk spices if your store has them.  I guarantee even the "normal" easy-to-find spices will be much more affordable this way.

After all that, I realized I forgot the buttermilk....after I got home.  Dammit.  I guess a second trip to the store was always my destiny.

Here are the stupid (yet delicious) British scones.  I think they turned out pretty well.  The recipe called for too much sugar to use the lavender infused sugar in the baking (as you can see, I just had a little jar), so I sprinkled it on the top.  Also, if you don't like lemon this might not be for you - I tasted more lemon than lavender at times.  This pairs nicely with a cup of tea, sweetened of course with the lavender sugar :)  Enjoy.

cups all-purpose flour plus more for surface
3/4 cup granulated sugar
tbsp baking powder
tsp dried lavender buds
    1 tsp kosher salt
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
    1 cup plus 2 tbsp buttermilk
    2 tsp finely grated lemon zest (I might use less next time)
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    2 tbsp sanding or granulated sugar infused with lavender

    [Dried lavender buds (culinary lavender) are available at some supermarkets and natural foods stores.]

    Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 425°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk 3 cups flour and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Add butter; rub in with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal.
    Whisk 1 cup buttermilk, zest, and vanilla in a small bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir until shaggy dough forms.
    Transfer to a lightly floured surface; knead until dough forms, about 5 turns. Pat into a 10x6" rectangle. Halve dough lengthwise. Cut each half crosswise into 4 squares. Cut each square diagonally in half into 2 triangles. Divide between baking sheets. Brush with 2 Tbsp. buttermilk. Sprinkle with sanding sugar.
    Bake until scones are golden and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 13–15 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; let cool.
    Serve warm or at room temperature.  I don't know, maybe put some boozy jam on it :)  I really liked honey and butter on it

Adapted from this recipe.  Lemon curd isn't really my thang, but maybe it's yours!

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