Baking, Cooking & Eating, Sweet

Lemon-Rosemary Scones

Sarah and I have a grand weekend tradition of eating breakfast out. We’ve been doing it almost as long as we’ve been together. First, it was at the Original Mel’s in Berkeley, then the Runcible Spoon in Bloomington, and now … it’s wherever we can manage here in Philadelphia. We’re fans of restaurant dining, generally — of food made to order, of eating amidst the din and clatter of other groups at other tables. But our breakfast tradition is really less about the experience of the restaurant, per se, than it is about the idea of breakfast being leisurely — of it being a time to talk, sip coffee, eat bacon, and let the world recede around us, if only for a little while.

Circumstances, though, are such that going out to breakfast is sometimes neither plausible nor desirable. Sometimes we awaken too early or too late. Or we feel that we’ve done too much eating out, or that it’s too cold outside, or that the idea of facing mediocre breakfast — the majority of breakfast (alas!) in our neighborhood — is not very appetizing at all.

Sometimes we want to stay in. But cereal for breakfast, on a weekend, is just so very sad.

Today was one of those days. It was a morning when the timing, the weather, everything lined up against the notion of leaving the house. And so I crept downstairs, early but not too early, pre-heated the oven, and put together some scones.

The base recipe for these scones is not mine. It’s a Mark Bittman dealy that appeared in the New York Times a year-and-a-bit ago. But the combination of flavors is mine. And I’ve made some important modifications, especially to cooking time, that take these scones from pasty and slightly raw tasting (a common scone problem) to toasty and delicious.

They’re super easy, at any rate. And they can be done, start to finish, in under 40 minutes. How can you not want to make them for breakfast?

2 cups AP Unbleached Flour
1 Egg
1 Stick of Unsalted Butter, chilled and cubed
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
3 tbsp White Sugar
2 tsp Baking Powder
2 tsp Dried Rosemary, crushed
1/2 tsp Salt
Zest of 2 Lemons

Preheat your oven to 450F, and line a cookie sheet with parchment.

To the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, and pulse a couple of times to mix. Add the lemon zest, rosemary, and butter, and pulse in five-second bursts until there are no more chunks of butter, and the mixture has a texture like sand. In a second bowl, beat the egg and cream together, then add to the food processor, and pulse again, again in five-second bursts, until the dough just barely comes together.

At this point, turn your dough out onto a floured pastry board, shape into a rectangle, and using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out evenly until it is a half-inch thick. Use a round cookie cutter (or the mouth of a glass) to cut out two-inch disks, spacing them evenly on your lined cookie sheet. Then re-form the left-over dough, re-roll, and cut again. You should get 8-10 rounds in all.

Once the rounds are cut, top each scone with a little bit more cream (to add color and sheen once they are cooked), and a sprinkle of additional white sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and just starting to darken around the edges. Then remove from the oven and eat while hot.

I never get tired of these.