It feels like it’s been forever since I made a post, here. Forever. And many, many miles. When I last put fingers to keyboard, the saurian hulks of gourmet food trucks dotted my neighborhood’s landscape. There was music in the air. And from underfoot, children and darting drunkards threatened to lurch and leap out into traffic.
Since then, I’ve had a birthday, a concert, a road trip, and a stay in a hotel. I’ve had a protracted bout of the flu (complete with fever, chills, and a full set of aches). And I’ve had somewhere north of fifty student papers in need of immediate grading (complete with critique, and a smattering of mollifying comments).
It’s been an eventful sort of birthday week-and-a-half. Which I suppose is better than the alternative kind. And now I can say, I think, without any equivocation: I’m glad to be drawn back into my writing rhythm. I’m glad to see the tail end of my viral tormentor. And I am definitely glad to be writing, once again, for all of you.
Which brings me to this week’s experiment.
For some time now, a bag labeled Fire Roasted, Stone Ground Corn Meal has been staring at me from a perch upon my kitchen table. It came into the house with the winter CSA, right before the winter CSA ended. And since then, every time I’ve walked by, I would almost swear that I could hear that bag mocking me. You know I’m lovely and delicious, it whispers as I pass. And you know you’ll never be able to figure out what to do with me.
Then yesterday, just as I was thinking about easing my way back into the idea of cooking something for the blog, I stopped dead in front of it. I do so know just what to do with you, I told it out loud, startling a cat who had recently made that table his daytime bed. I plucked the bag up with resolve, and whipped around to the kitchen to whip up a nice, fresh batch of scones.
Yes, of course! But you can never have too many recipes for scones! Scones may be counted among that felicitous category of baked good that manages to be simultaneously quick, and simple, and elegant. They’re variable in their use — good for breakfast, or snacks, or even instead of dinner rolls. And they tend to be appealing to folks with all manner of culinary “tastes” and hang-ups (unless said hang-ups happen to be about carbs; but you might think twice before cooking for those folks, anyway).*
At any rate, these particular scones are particularly good. The stone ground corn lends them a kind of pleasant grittiness, and the toasty, fire-roasted quality of the corn flour lends them a satisfying sense of being simultaneously savory and sweet. Like other scones, with their butter and cream, they’re tender on the tooth. But these are lower in gluten than other scones, making them all but melt in your mouth.
I know (dear readers!) that it’s a bit of an off-chance that you all have bags of Fire Roasted, Stone Ground Corn Meal hanging around your kitchens, too. But especially if you’re in the Philadelphia area, it can be had. And even if not — even if it’s just the plain old grocery-store cornmeal that you find: try these scones anyway.
Corn scones are delightful. And with a spoonful of honey or jam to go with them, no one in your household will want to pass them up.
1 1/4 cup AP White Flour
3/4 cup Roasted Corn Meal (If you can’t find it, the non-roasted variety will due.)
1/2 cup Chopped Walnuts
1/2 cup Heavy Cream, plus a little more for brushing
3 tbsp Brown Sugar
1 tbsp White Sugar
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 Stick Unsalted Butter, chilled and cubed
1/2 tsp Salt
Preheat your oven to 450F, and line a baking sheet with parchment (or a Silpat). To the workbowl of a food processor, add all the flour, the brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Pulse once or twice to combine. Then add the cubed butter and chopped walnuts, and pulse in five-second bursts until there are no more chunks of butter and the mixture is the consistency of sand.
In a second bowl, whisk together egg and heavy cream. Add it to the food processor, and then pulse again, in short bursts, until the dough just barely comes together (you don’t want to overwork the dough here, and create unnecessary gluten).
Turn the dough out onto a pastry board floured with more cornmeal, and press it gently into a rectangle. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out evenly to a thickness of a bit more than half an inch. Use a round cookie cutter to cut inch-and-a-half disks, spacing them evenly on your cookie sheet. Then re-form the dough, re-roll, and cut again. In all, you should end up with about eighteen scones.
When the scones are cut, brush their tops lightly with a little bit more cream. Sprinkle them with white sugar. And then bake for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown, and the bottoms are just starting to toast around the edges.
Serve with blackberry or blueberry jam, and enjoy!
* You know I love you, low-carb folks. Come on over and I’ll grill you a boneless skinless chicken breast, or something.