Scones. These scones. They say so much about where I am in life at this moment, what things have transpired to bring me to this day and this batch of deliciousness. I have been struggling mightily lately to find a block of time where I can summon both the energy and enthusiasm needed, and also the time necessary, to settle into my kitchen and bake. Baking has always been a source of comfort for me, but in the harder moments when energy and passion are at a minimum (or simply don’t exist at all), sometimes I just can’t be bothered. But on a recent trip home, I plucked some luscious red rhubarb stalks from my mom’s garden, vowing that I would make them into something magical. I found a recipe online that seemed like a good starting place, then put together my own recipe with the usual tweaks and changes, and came up with something that I really love.
These scones were a week in the making; each day anticipation mounting until Friday evening when I knew I would have the time to make them… and then, I kind of blew it. I have this thing lately where I simply cannot be bothered to confirm details, to double-check, as if somehow I am just that good, just that smart, like I have it alllll together. Why would I ever second guess myself? The answer to that is complicated, and not really blog-worthy, so I’ll just tell you what happened instead.
I made the dough for these scones, carefully cutting butter into flour, folding in pieces of fresh fruit covered in sugar and vanilla bean, and garnishing with a heavy-handed sprinkle of raw cane sugar. During this process, something in my mind said, you didn’t check the oven temperature, 350 might not be right. But my hands were covered in layers of butter and flour and sugar, and so I decided, nah, 350 is the norm, I’m good to go and left it at that. But this isn’t the first time I’ve followed this train of thought, and this isn’t the first time it’s impacted the outcome of my labor. Even still, I popped those pretty little scones into the oven at 350, set my timer for 10 minutes so I could rotate the pan halfway through, and got down to some dish-washing. Well after 10 minutes, I giddily opened up the oven, only to find that my amazing fantastic scones were a mess, melting all over the baking sheet, crashing into each other, and looking nothing like the dreamy picture I had in my mind. It was in that moment that I decided to check the cooking temperature, which promptly screamed at me, 425. Whelp, I messed up. And I knew it was such an avoidable problem, but I did it anyway. And why? Because I didn’t want to clean off my hands to check the recipe? Because I was too lazy? Because I just couldn’t be bothered to care? This is my thing lately, this disregard for the common sense, and it’s rather infuriating. Does this happen to anyone else? I think at some point, your brain’s capacity for reasoning and logic just sort of quits, and I totally think I’m there. It’s been a long past year, you’ve heard me say it many times in recent months, and I think I’m just tired. So I made a mistake, and I kicked myself for it, but then I got over it and ate a scone and you know what? It was delicious.
This recipe was a bit rebellious. A well-executed scone, in my mind, has to hit just the right texture, and that’s tricky to achieve when you mess with the basic ingredients. But apparently I was feeling particularly sassy last Friday night, because I decided to cut out more than half of the all-purpose flour in this recipe, swapping in locally-ground, organic whole wheat flour and spelt flour. I’ve been baking with spelt a bit more lately, and really loving it, and these scones are no different. Maybe because I had a really heavy hand with the heavy cream? And all that butter?
At any rate, these scones are luxurious. The lightly, buttery texture I appreciate in a good scone was really present here, despite the nontraditional mix of flours. They were still flaky and really full-flavored, and not one bit dry, as can sometimes happen when baking with whole wheat flour. I gave them a generous brushing of heavy cream and sprinkle of turbinado sugar before they went into the oven, and I think that helped, too. I ended up getting through an entire batch in just a couple of days (don’t worry, I had help!), so I ended up making a second batch at the end of the long weekend, which I carefully cooked at the appropriate temperature, and they came out beautifully. That’s what you’ll see pictured here… only difference, besides baking temperature, was that the 2nd batch got an egg wash instead of heavy cream.
Now, I suggest that you go make these now, and forgive yourself for whatever you’re holding over your own head. Maybe next time, I’ll remember not to make the same mistake again, but if I do, that’s okay too.