I had my first taste of fall baking this week. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not ready for summer to be over. The chilly months seem to last a lot longer than the warm ones here. But on the occasional stormy summer day, it’s fun to switch it up and spend some time in the kitchen instead of the sunshine.
Summer equals berries, and I had about a half a cup each of blackberries and blueberries that needed to be eaten soon. Instead of making muffins, I pulled up a recipe for oatmeal scones and made a few tweaks. The result had my kitchen smelling like oatmeal cookies, and with the dark clouds and rain outside, it might have been October.
I started making the dough by whisking some buttermilk and an egg together in a small bowl. In a bigger bowl, I added flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, a pinch of salt, and flaky oats. Next came the spices that would be guilty of creating that delicious aroma in my kitchen: nutmeg, ground ginger, and plenty of cinnamon. Yum!
I cut a stick of cold butter into little cubes and used a pastry cutter to mix it into the dough as though I was making pie crust or biscuits. When the dough resembled little butter pebbles, I poured in the buttermilk-egg mixture and gave it a good stir. Confession: the dough was so thick and sticky that I dropped the spoon, removed my rings, and went right in with my hands!
When the dough had come together (still thick and sticky), I mixed in the berries. I made sure they were pretty well distributed in the dough before I dumped the sticky mess onto my well-floured countertop. Using my hands, I formed it into a disc about an inch thick and cut it into eight little pie pieces.
I carefully transferred the wedges to a cookie sheet I’d lined with a nonstick baking mat (parchment paper would work just fine). Before popping the scones into the oven, I sprinkled brown sugar over the top of each one for an extra hit of warm sweetness. I love that you can see the big berries and chunks of butter in the scones!
The scones baked for a good 25-30 minutes and the house smelled heavenly. They turned a lovely golden brown and some of the berries burst and oozed. Yum. They’d hardly cooled before I transferred them to a pretty plate, and I couldn’t wait to try one while it was still warm.
Like most scones, these are not overly sweet, which I appreciate. The bulk of the sweetness comes from the fresh berries bursting in your mouth and the sugary crunch from the brown sugar sprinkle on top. They are soft, not too crumbly or dry, and taste like a fabulous (if less sweet) oatmeal cookie.
They made a perfect mid-day snack and would be delightful with coffee for breakfast or even an after dinner treat. If you wanted a bit more sweetness, these scones would be the perfect candidate for a maple brown sugar glaze. Any berries you have in the fridge would be delectable. The best part: I layered them on wax paper, placed them in a Ziploc bag, and popped them in the freezer. Now I can enjoy a taste of autumn whenever the mood strikes- even in the middle of summer!
Black and Blue Oatmeal Scones (adapted from Warm Vanilla Sugar)
- 1 egg
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 2/3 cups flour
- 1 1/3 cups oats
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small cubes
- ½ cup blackberries
- ½ cup blueberries
- Brown sugar for topping
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and buttermilk together.
In another bowl, mix together the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder and soda, salt, and spices. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut the butter cubes into the dough until it resembles small pebbles. Add the buttermilk-egg mixture and mix well (use your hands if you must). Carefully add the berries, making sure they are evenly distributed in the dough.
Add a big handful of flour to your countertop and dump out the dough. Using your hands, press the dough into a disc that is one inch thick. For large scones, cut it into eight wedges. (You could also use a cookie cutter or small juice glass for smaller round scones). Transfer the scones to a cookie sheet lined with a nonstick silicon mat or parchment paper. Sprinkle brown sugar over each scone before popping them into the oven.
Bake the scones for 25-30 minutes until they are lightly browned on top. Allow to cool as much as you can before tasting one. To freeze, layer the scones on wax paper and store in a Ziploc bag or Tupperware. Cheers to unexpected hints of the season to come. Yum!
Hungry for more? Check out the collection of recipes on the FOOD BLISS page.
The New 52: A recipe for each week in 2015.