It's been a busy December so far, especially with our daughter in a local theatre performance, with every evening filled with practices and performances. We attended her first public performance last night, and it was fantastic! They will continue for the rest of the month. We also had a farm-related issue to take care of a couple days ago, which I have added to our Bee Journal. Most honeybee hives around here don't overwinter well, and in fact, I just talked to someone last night whose friend lost 5 out of 7 of their hives due to the cold weather we've been having. We still have two hives left. I'm hoping our remaining little bee friends can hang in there.
Today, I made figgy buckwheat orange scones that I will be taking to a special "craft day" a friend is hosting. The scones came out very nice, especially considering how significantly I altered the recipe. I have been craving the figgy buckwheat scones that Kim Boyce of The Bake Shop in Portland makes. Her scones are divine. However, we have to be careful of too much dairy as two in our family are lactose intolerant, so I came up with my own version. I actually started with the basic scone recipe from The Joy of Cooking. Here's what I ended up with, in case you'd like to give it a try!
Figgy Buckwheat Scones
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar (I used half honey; when adding the honey, I mixed it with the butter first)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons butter (I used vegan butter)
1 large egg
1/2 cup heavy cream (I used soy milk instead)
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
Fig jam (alternatively, you could use another kind of jam if you like)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the dry ingredients until they are well blended. Set aside. If combining honey with the butter, use a fork to lightly cut in the honey and then scrape this mixture into the dry ingredients. Otherwise, if not using honey, just cut the butter into chunks and add to the dry ingredients. Use your hands to crumble up the butter into the dry ingredients until the whole mixture is crumbly. If you freeze your flour first (I keep the buckwheat flour in the freezer), the butter will stay exceptionally cold, which is important when making scones. You don't want the butter to melt. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, cream, and orange zest. Then, quickly stir the wet ingredients into the flour/butter mixture. Don't over-stir at this point; just get the dry and wet ingredients incorporated and stop stirring. Stirring too much will cause them not to rise properly.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pinch off about 2 tablespoons of mixture and shape it into a triangle. Repeat until all of the dough is shaped into triangles, placed about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Make a deep well in the center of each for the jam. Then, add the jam to the well (it takes about a teaspoon of jam for each scone). You should have about 16 small scones.
For a fancier touch, you can optionally mix together 2 TB sugar and 1 tsp orange zest (rub the zest against the sugar as you mix). Then, sprinkle this sugar mixture over the top of the scones.
Bake the scones for about 15 minutes. Don't overbake. You can check the bottom of the scones after about 12 minutes; as soon as they begin to brown on the bottom, they are likely done. Cool on a wire rack. Enjoy within a few hours, and then keep the leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator.