Thursday, May 13, 2010
Better with Butter
Now I'm no Julia Child, in fact, I generally cringe when a recipe calls for butter. Although I don't mind the taste, I just don't like cooking with butter, especially frying in butter. My arteries seem to clog at the thought of it.
But I do admit that somethings are better with butter. Take for example, a scone. The crumbly, flaky dough is only possible with butter or ( heavens no!) shortening. And while I'm hesitant to cook anything in butter, I love baking with it. So of course, when I saw this recipe for Apricot Oat scones in Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook, ( which Gian Luca got me for our anniversary) I didn't even hesitate at the whole stick and a quarter that the recipe calls for. In fact, I took pleasure in crumbling it with my fingers, watching the flour and oats transform into a course grainy texture with the magic of butter.
Then this morning, when we bit into the scones, we smiled, as if to say, ahhhhhh butter.
Apricot Oat Scones
from Martha Stewart
1 cup oats ( old fashioned or quick-cooking)
3/4 cup all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks ( 10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup diced dried apricots ( cut into 1/4" pieces)
1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon heavy-cream
Sanding sugar, for sprinkling ( optional)
1. Line baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, the all purpose flour, the whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles course crumbs with a few larger clumps remaining. Fold in apricots.
2. Whisk together the whole egg and buttermilk. Add egg mixture to the flour mixture; using a rubber spatula, fold in, working in all directions and incorporating crumbs at the bottom of the bowl, until the dough just comes together.
3. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. With lightly floured hands, gently press and pat the dough into a rectangle, about 1 1/4 inches thick. Using a sharp knife or a pastry wheel, cut into eight triangles. Place triangles about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet; cover with plastic wrap and freeze until the dough is very firm, at least one hour or overnight. ( At this point, you can freeze the unbaked scones in a resealable bag until ready to bake, up to three weeks.)
4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg yolk with the cream; brush over the tops of the scones, and sprinkle generously with sanding sugar, if using. Bake, rotating the sheet halfway though, until the tops are golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. They are best eaten the day they are baked.