Today was freezing cold. I didn't even put my shoes on today which is hardly fair since Tim did all the outside chores and he's still recovering from the nasty bug that visited us last week. The inversion and the off again, on again snow had me thinking about my Mom (Happy Birthday!) and about soup and scones. The soup was cream of broccoli (and no, not all the kids ate it). Here are the scones.
These scones are based on one developed by a friend of mine when she spent some time working as a baker in a cafe in Washington near Mt. Rainier. I've made some adjustments over the years but, as you will see, its a pretty free flowing recipe that just invites you to take liberties.
Lisa is one of those people who you meet and who you never forget. She's a wonder woman Jill of all trades - I've known her to be an artist, a writer, a doll maker, a farmer, cafe owner, a beer maker, a rancher, a tepee dweller, a home-schooler, a reiki master and an all around renaissance woman. Fortunately for me, she also bakes and shares!
I spent most of the day today, off an on, trying to find Lisa and her family...last time her gypsy soul had a phone number (now disconnected) was on Vashon Island in Washington. Knowing Lisa, wherever she is, she is working at making the world a more sustainable, positive place.
Lisa and her husband Jeff were stationed at Lake when Tim and I lived at Canyon. Their daughter Zoe was a little older than our daughter and one day a week they were playmates under Lisa's watchful care while I worked as a clerk for the rangers at the South District Office.
Living in the interior of the park, especially with children, can be a bonding experience. The winters are especially challenging and, with the snowdrifts of Hayden Valley between us, Lisa kept me sane during the first winter we spent at Canyon before she moved on to greener pastures. [I promise some thoughtful posts about wintering in the interior when its warmer!]
I'll never forget Lisa and I hope I can find her sometime soon! The name Lucky Farm stems from their website (Lucky Farm) where they offer some of Lisa's beautiful handmade dolls. If you are looking for a more conventional recipe, try the Buttermilk Scones in Tartine (which I've raved about in an earlier post). I make both varieties for our guests.
Lucky Farm Scones
6 cups all purpose flour (or some whole wheat or oat)
6 teaspoons (3 Tablespoons) baking powder*
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
12-16 Tablespoons cold butter
3 cups of liquid including 2 eggs**
1 cup additions***
* If some of the liquid is acidic (orange juice or buttermilk), reduce to 5 teaspoons and add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.
** whole milk, yogurt, preserves like marmalade, pumpkin puree, apple jelly or apricot jam, extracts, juice - just three cups of wet stuff
***dried fruit chopped into small pieces, toasted nuts, mini chocolate chips, bacon (cooked and chopped fine) and cheddar (shredded), orange peel, espresso powder, candied ginger, rhubarb and dried strawberries
Preheat over to 425 degrees. Cut the butter into small cubes and put it back into the refrigerator while you assemble the other ingredients. Mix together the dry ingredients in a the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Or you can do it by hand. Just don't use a food processor unless you are halving the recipe and have personal restraint about over-mixing! In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients until well-blended.
Take the butter out of the refrigerator and add to the dry ingredients. Using the paddle attachment, mix until the butter is broken down, but still in pea size lumps. Dump in the add-ins and mix for a tiny amount of time until distributed. Then, all at once, dump in the wet ingredients and mix for another tiny amount of time until the dough just barely holds together.
DO NOT OVER-MIX! (See every baking book on the planet for 1,000,000 reasons why.)
Dump onto a lightly floured counter and form with your hands into a long rectangle. Don't worry about it looking perfect - it should just hold together. There should be little lumps of butter visible. Cut into rectangles and then into triangles. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet with plenty of space between. This recipe makes 2 dozen large scones or more smaller ones. I usually bake one right away and take the other sheet pan and freeze the dough. Once its frozen, I put the frozen scones into a Freezer bag and save for later.
Brush the tops with either cream or milk or butter and then sprinkle with sliced almonds and/or raw sugar and/or crystallized ginger and/or a slice of apple...whatever pleases you and matches the inside flavors. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and eat warm or cold, plain or with butter and jam. Whatever.
Miles Davis said, "Sometimes you have to play a long time to play like yourself." I think that the same is true of baking. I'd love to hear your creative riffs on this recipe!
(and thanks, Lisa, wherever you may be.)
NOTE: To use the scones you freeze raw, take out the night before and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. In the morning brush with cream and bake as above.