**Dear kind readers, today was supposed to be a review of Anytime Prayers by Madeleine L’Engle. Alas, due to a confluence of overambitious home projects and a four month old baby – well, let’s just say it’s not going to happen. But it’s a beautiful autumn day, and hey! Scones make everything better! Enjoy my favorite scone recipe, and if you have a particularly good one, I’d love to share it, too.**
As my daughter has entered the preschool years, two of my favorite things have been a) the expanding range of books she can enjoy and b) the ways these books pop up in everyday conversation. (She has taken to asking me what time dinner will be, so that she can announce, just like Frances, that she’ll have time to run away afterward.) But just as the books have gotten more interesting, so has life: we’ve added a new baby, and my dedicated reading time with my daughter has gotten less for the time being.
So this fall, I’m trying something new. At least twice a week (and eventually more), when she gets up from her nap, we’re going to have tea and I’ll read aloud. And of course, tea is always better with some scones. Here’s our favorite recipe, modified with gratitude from the original on Epicurious.
Whole Grain Cranberry-Apple Scones
makes 12 large scones
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup oat flour
1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chilled butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup diced tart apples
1/2 cup chilled buttermilk, plus more for glaze
1/4 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
1 large egg
Coarse sugar crystals (granulated works fine, if you don’t have coarse sugar)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine first 8 ingredients in large bowl; whisk to blend. With a pastry cutter, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add cranberries and apples and toss to distribute evenly. Whisk 1/2 cup buttermilk, juice concentrate, and egg to blend in small bowl. Gradually add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients, tossing until evenly moistened. (You may drizzle in a bit more buttermilk if the mixture is too dry. But don’t let it get sticky.)
Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Gently knead 2 or 3 turns to bind. Divide dough in half. Pat out each half to 6-inch-diameter, 3/4-inch-thick round. Cut each round into 6 wedges. Arrange scones on prepared sheet, spacing at least 1 inch apart. Brush scones with buttermilk to glaze, then sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Bake scones until puffed and brown and tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 22 minutes. Serve warm. If you can’t serve them right away, heat them back up gently in a low oven. They really are much better warm. With lots of butter.