Friday, July 2, 2010

The Orange and Oat Scone Challenge

A couple of Sundays ago I was sitting around dreaming of what I might bake for snacking on in the week ahead. Cookies, muffins, and breads came to my mind. Nothing really got my tastebuds going until I remembered a scone recipe that I had stumbled across on the site 101 Cookbooks.

101 Cookbooks is a wonderful blog dedicated to "natural, whole foods and ingredients - vegetarian recipes that are good for you and for the planet." Heidi Swanson does an amazing job of posting fantastic recipes that are both good and good for you, plus her photography is beautiful.

That Sunday, I decided I wanted to make scones and new she had posted a scone recipe before. As I searched through her site I came across three scone recipes, Raspberry Mega Scones, Maple Syrup Scones and Orange and Oat Scones. I decided to try the Orange and Oat Scones, mainly because of the addition of the oats and the yummy orange zest. Let me just say that I made the right decision!

Below is my feeble attempt at photographing the process...

When I first made this recipe I was afraid that I would overwork the dough and come out with a dense, dry, mess of a scone. It's just what I do when I bake...freak out. I'm much more comfortable around cooking than baking, but I haven't let that stop me from trying.

Anyhow, the scones were the farthest thing from a mess. They had am amazing flavor that I credit to the burst of orange zest and the chewiness of the oats. They also weren't overly sweet like some scones can be. They were a perfect snack or smoothie accompaniment for breakfast. N and I have really enjoyed this scones. Yum, yum, yum.

Now you might be asking yourself, "So what's the challenge part?" Well, last week when we were visiting N's parents I mentioned to my MIL that I had found a wonderful scone recipe. She gave me a look that basically said, "thanks" and not in a good way :-)

You see, recently she's discovered that she's gluten intolerant and has had to say good-bye to her favorite food group...bread. Actually, she hasn't given bread up she's just learning to bake gluten free for herself, while still baking her usual yummy breads, cookies and muffins for the rest of us gluten gluttons. In fact, she's chronicling her journey into gluten free baking on her new blog The Gluten-Free Baker. This my dear friends is where the challenge comes in...(cue evil laugh).

Since my MIL gave me a less than happy look at the mention of my recent scone discovery, I thought I'd challenge her to create a gluten-free version of these scones for herself. Now, my MIL isn't a competitive person by nature (so she claims), but she did give birth to 3 very competitive children and I'm hoping that may have rubbed off a little.

So what do you say Elzbee? Are you up for the challenge? There is no deadline and you have as many attempts as you need to get it to your AND my liking :-) In addition, it'd be nice to see your progress on that fancy new blog of yours.

And in case you may not be feeling the draw of a friendly competition, I thought I might entice you with a prize befitting to your knitterly side. A trip to our favorite yarn shop where I will treat you to some fiber goodness (within limits of course!)

If you agree, feel free to leave a comment. Let the race begin (hopefully)...

Orange and Oat Scones
Recipe from 101 Cookbooks

3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 cups rolled oats
zest of 1 orange
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup coarse turbinado or Demerara sugar, for sprinkling
2/3 cup dried currants (I've also used golden raisins)

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, 1/2 cup of turbinado sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and pulse 15-20 times or until it looks like sandy pearls. (If you are working by hand, cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter.)* Transfer the dough to a bowl and stir in the oats and zest. Stir in the buttermilk and currants until just moistened.

Bring the dough together with your hands. If the dough is still too crumbly, stir in more buttermilk a tiny splash at a time, but try to avoid over mixing. After bringing the dough together, gently pat it into an 8-inch round. Cut into triangle shapes (see photo) and transfer to the prepared baking sheet with some room between each scone. Sprinkle the tops with coarse sugar. Bake for 12 to 15 minute or until the bottoms are deeply golden.

Makes 8 extra-large scones, or 12 to 16 larger ones.

* I actually prefer cutting in the butter by hand, because I can control how quickly it incorporates.

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