So I’ve been on a bit of a baking spree – even by my standards. The week before last – the week I didn’t post – I made pita bread, rosemary + olive knots, and ham + cheese filled focaccia. And I did not photograph any of it…well not really anyway.
The thing is, I’ve always found savory baking – particularly the kind that involves yeast – to be especially tricky. So rather than sucking it up and saying, “I’ll post even if it’s a failure,” or conversely, “I’ll just bake something else and post that if it’s a failure,” I just decided to not post anything. Every single time.
And I’m sorry. I really am. Because the pita bread, for the most part, were light, floury pillows. The olive knots were salty, fluffy, and so full of rosemary. And the focaccia. Oh my god, the focaccia. I’ll spare you the delicious details. Needless to say, I have unlocked the puzzle that is yeast, and I will share it when I post a recipe that calls for it.
That said, I kind of spent all my “blog” money on the ingredients for my extracurricular baking. I was a little bit stumped all week as to what I would make, seeing as even for chocolate chip cookies I would have to go buy brown sugar. I got out of bed Saturday actually kind of dreading the day in general – I had a whopping headache (thank you Whiskey Ward), few ingredients, and an out-of-town guest to feed.
Then it all came together in a serendipitous moment. I was flipping through a new cook book and performing a mental checklist of ingredients when I saw them. Ginger Scones with Almond Topping. Now if that doesn’t sound like the perfect hungover breakfast, I don’t know what does.
I’ve read a few things here and there about natural remedies, and these bad boys pack a punch. Almonds are great for your skin, intestinal health, and cholesterol levels. And I’m not sure if you’ve heard but ginger is tops when it comes to naturally easing nausea. Also, I don’t know about you, but I have always felt that a good, heavy breakfast makes be feel loads better…um, most of the time.
I know a lot of people don’t like ginger, though I have no idea why. On this matter I will say two things. The first is that I had to warm up to it – I was really overwhelmed by the flavor of a piece of candied ginger AT FIRST. My how things have changed. I always keep some in my pantry and munch on it constantly. Second, for having both ground ginger and crystallized ginger, I did not find the ginger flavor to be at all overwhelming. It was just what the doctor ordered. Sweet, fluffy, tender, and with a very subtle spice. I liked these best directly out of the oven, it will blow away whatever conception you have in your head about scones. My boyfriend, Zach, just ate his 3 days later and was raving about it. That being said, I present you with…
Ginger Scones with Almond Topping
3 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/3 c. sugar
1 TBSP baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
6 tablespoons butter, cold as you can get it, cut into roughly 12 pieces
2/3 c. diced crystallized ginger
2 large eggs
3/4 c. milk
1 TBSP egg white (Weird, no? Separate the egg, beat the white, then measure.)
3/4 c. sliced almonds (or slivered, or whatever you’ve got)
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 c sugar
1. Set a rack in the middle of the middle and preheat to 400.
2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and ground ginger in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, and pulse several times to mix. If you don’t have a food processor, you can just whisk these together in a bowl.
3. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is thoroughly incorporated and mealy, 10 to 12 times. If operating sans FP, you can use a pastry cutter, if you don’t have one of those, get in there with your hands and get messy, baby. The idea is to get the butter/flour mixture to look kind of like coarse sand. Add the crystallized ginger.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together, then add to the flour mixture. Pulse several times to mix, but not until the mixture forms a ball. Sans FP I like to take AB’s advice and stir with a rubber spatula for ten seconds and then WALK AWAY.
5. Invert the bowl over a floured work surface. Fold the dough over on itself several times to give it a final mixing. (My rule of thumb is several = seven…sev…get it?)
6. Use a bench scraper or knife to divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Pat each piece into a disk, and cut each disc into six wedges…Um, I’m not good at fractions and proportions… I just cut four pieces for slightly larger scones.
7. Arrange the scones on a prepared baking sheet. (I really hope I don’t need to tell you how to prepare your baking sheet…) Pop the whole shebang into the fridge while you prep the almond mixture. Generally with biscuits and other things that call for cold butter, the butter is cold for a reason. Something to do with steam and puffiness. Leave them out if you must, because the topping is pretty quick coming together…but I like fluffy things.
8. Combine the egg white and almonds in a small mixing bowl and stir together so the almond pieces are evenly coated. Then stir in the cinnamon and sugar. Top each scone with about 2 tsps of the mixture. and use your fingers to spread it evenly over the tops.
9. Bake the scones until they are well risen, firm, and the topping is a deep gold, about 15 minutes.
I swear the pictures looked better than this at the time. It’s not my fault anyway. Also, I know it seems like a lot of work for a Saturday morning, but believe me I can make them the way I felt on Saturday (and I’m the princess of bad hangovers – Mom’s the queen), then so can you. And once you make it through the minor ordeal, the payoff is big.