Thursday, May 17, 2012

Lavender & Lemon Scones

No judging, ok?  I've had this little tin of dried culinary lavender in my cabinet for over a year.
I know, I know....that's a big no-no.  You see, sweet Aimee from Simple Bites gave me a tin of culinary lavender at Blissdom (in 2011). ;)  I just couldn't find the *perfect* recipe to try with I kept it in my cabinet and would just open the tin and take a whiff occasionally.

No judging, remember?

When Bon Appetit arrived in my mailbox complete with recipe for Lavender Scones, I knew this was the moment.

I changed the recipe up a bit....based on what I had on hand.  I also grated in the butter....a trick I learned from Cook's Illustrated a few years ago.  More on that in a minute.
In one word, I would describe these scones as "lovely."  In more words, they are sweet, flaky, and a little fancy.  Planning a tea party, or a ladies' brunch?  Make them. 

Don't be fooled though, even though they sound girly & dainty, Mr. E and the kiddo LOVED them!

Lavender & Lemon Scones
{makes 16, adapted from Bon Appetit}

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) salted butter
3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
3/4 cup sugar
1 TBSP baking powder
1 teaspoon dried culinary lavender
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup half & half, plus more for brushing
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or extract)
sanding sugar
lemon curd

Place the butter in the freezer.  Preheat oven to 425.  Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, lavender, salt and baking soda in a large bowl. 

On the large holes of a grater, grate the frozen butter and add to the flour mixture.  Stir gently, then rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until it resembles a coarse meal.

Whisk together the buttermilk, half & half, lemon zest and vanilla bean paste.  Add to the flour/butter mixture and stir until a shaggy dough forms.

Dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead about 5 times, until the dough comes together.  Pat into a 10 x 6" rectangle.  Halve the dough into two 5 x 6" sections.  Cut each section into fourths, then cut each square diagonally.  (A bench scraper is the perfect tool for this.)

Place 8 of the scones on the prepared baking sheet.  Brush lightly with half & half and sprinkle with sanding sugar.  Bake for 13-15 minutes, until golden and done.  Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Meanwhile, place the remaining 8 scones on another baking sheet and freeze in a single layer.  Once frozen, place in a freezer bag.  Bake from freezer as directed above.  Add a few more minutes of cooking time as necessary.  If baking all at once, move oven racks to the lower and upper thirds and rotate sheets during cooking.

Once the scones are cooled, serve with a dollop (or three) of lemon curd.  I used store-bought, but if you are looking to make your own, check out Sweetapolita's post on Citrus Curd.  It's heavenly.

Now that I've been bitten by the lavender bug, I think there's no turning back.  I see lavender sugar cookies in my future.  And hey, I might even buy a fresh tin! ;)

Thank you, Aimee

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