Friday morning, after more than a week of sunny weather, the day dawned cloudy and fretful. Rain threatened, a cooler wind blew, the sense of energetic anticipation we’d felt on previous mornings just wasn’t there. The idea of a second cup of coffee or tea seemed more enticing than getting out into the yard and to work. We looked at each other, and I admitted to Michelle, that I was feeling sconish.
I’d never really known about scones until I met Michelle. Now, it’s hard to consider life without them. We’ve collected many recipes over the years, and Michelle has taken each one to new levels. There seems to be a scone for every occasion.
Lately, she’s been alternating between sweet and savory scones. A favorite sweet recipe makes scones that are almost cookies, particularly when chocolate chips fall into the batter (Dang! Again?). I love them, but I may like the ones she makes with orange and dried cranberries (craisins) even more.
Savory scones are a great way to use leftovers: extra pizza or spaghetti sauce, excess chopped onions or garlic, or other goodies. These are excellent for portable lunches or dinners. A couple of them wrapped up in a napkin makes a meal. If they sit around long enough to dry out, no problem. We butter scones as a treat, but the savory ones are best dipped in a bit of olive oil, especially when sprinkled with Italian herb blend of some sort. The ones she makes in the cast iron skillet are heavenly.
She got the basic Iron Pot Oven Scone recipe from the book, From Celtic Hearths: Baked Goods from Scotland, Ireland and Wales by Deborah Krasner (check your local independent bookstore) one of the most delightful cook books we own. From there, Michelle added her particular flair. Below is the recipe with the variation that created the scones pictured above:
Iron Pot Oven Scone
2 Cups unbleached flour
1 tsp Baking soda
1 tsp Cream of tartar
1 tsp Salt
1 Cup Buttermilk (we make it with 1 tsp vinegar, 1 tbsp butter or oil, fill the rest of a cup measure with regular milk)
½ Cup crushed tomatoes
½ Cup Milk in place of Buttermilk above (the tomatoes were acidic enough to turn regular milk to buttermilk)
½ Cup Rolled oats
2 tbsp Butter (cut in)
½ Cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
¼ Cup Sunflower seeds
½ tsp Onion powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
Preheat oven to 450°
Sift dry ingredients into mixing bowl. Make a well, and add buttermilk. Mix until soft and elastic. Knead on floured board, knead very lightly, and form into round. Bake covered in cast iron skillet or Dutch oven 30-35 minutes.
As it happened, the wind came up Friday and quickly turned the day back to mostly sunny. We got plenty of work done after all, and hardly had time to linger over scones . . . at least not for very long!