I love you...

like a [phat] kid loves [cheese]cake

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Everybody Knows I'm a Motha-Sconing Monster

"I shoot the lights out
Hide til its bright out
Whoa, just another lonely night
Are you willing to sacrifice your life?"
- Kanye West

I am a monster, a murderer, a cereal killer, if you will. And here is why.

I have to have breakfast in the morning. If I don’t, I guarantee that as I walk to class, cars will jump out of my way and freshmen will fall to the floor. Because I am hungry and I am tired, and I need my cereal.

My big, milk-drop-shaped bowl of CTC cereal.

But sometimes, tragedies happen, in that I (a) run out of cereal or (b) run out of milk. And when that happens, I could either (a) make a “quick” trip to Safeway, (b) cry out in agony and wake up the boy (he needed to wake up, anyways), or (c) make use of what I have in my fridge and create something to fuel my morning munchies.

Luckily, I chose (c).

These scones, like all scones, are very easy to make, mostly because so many components are substitutable with anything you have on hand. If you don’t like ginger, use cinnamon. If you hate walnuts, use almonds. You understand.

You can also make them by hand, if you don’t have the luxury (or necessity, in my case) of a KitchenAid. Best of all, scones freeze extremely well, so I highly advise you make extra dough, cut out the shapes, and plastic wrap them so that the next time you need your breakfast bite (or if you need to feed me), you can pop them in the oven and be ready to go in a few extra minutes. And unlike CTC, they are very portable, so you can put them to bake, do your morning routine, and have them as hot and fresh as you as you head out the door.

The icing is not necessary, but I find that it adds a nice finishing touch as it melts into the warm scones. As for the cardamom flavouring, those who know me know my love-affair with it, and I just came back from India, I have been missing it. Feel free to use whatever spice you have or want; I think nutmeg would be delicious.

For even better scones, here are a few tips:

Make sure your butter is cold, like, really cold. You want to have chunks of butter in the dough to help make it moist and expand during the baking process. I always keep a couple sticks in my freezer and grate them into my dry ingredients (cutting up frozen butter is challenging sometimes).

I bet you thought this was cheese!

If you’re adding nuts, toast them first! Nothing makes your kitchen smell better than the wafting aroma of freshly toasted nuts, and they add another layer of flavour. Plus, it is extremely easy: Lay nuts out on a sheet tray and bake at 350 until brown and fragrant.

You can cut scones into any shape that you like. Traditionally, they are triangles or circles, which is what I did. If you don’t have a biscuit cutter, be creative - I used a shot glass. Yea, college, whattup.

Pear-Ginger Scones with Cardamom Icing (Makes 16 small scones)

2 cups whole-wheat flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 stick butter, cold and grated
1 pear, peeled/diced (I used Bosc)
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 egg
Milk, for brushing

1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 cardamom pods, crushed
1/4 tsp ground cardamom

Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place all dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl, if you don’t have one). Add grated butter and mix until butter is evenly distributed. Be careful not to over-mix, as you want there to be noticeable pieces of butter.
Add walnuts and mix only until they are coated with flour.
Add pear, buttermilk, and egg, and stir until just combined. If you mix too long, the dough will become dry, so you still want it to be wet and sticky.
Turn out dough onto a heavily floured surface. Slightly wet your hands and pat it into an even block about 1/2-inch in height. Flour the top of the dough as well as your biscuit cutter (or shot glass), cut out rounds, and place on prepared baking sheet. Keep going until all the scraps are used up. **At this point, you can also freeze the dough by placing on a small tray lined with parchment paper and wrapping tightly in plastic wrap. If you have more than one stack of scones, place a piece of parchment in between the layers to keep them from sticking.**
Brush the tops with the milk. Bake for 10-13 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for at least 10 minutes and then drizzle the icing on top.

For the icing:
Place the cardamom pods in 1/2 cup of boiling water and let steep for 10 minutes. In the meanwhile, combine powdered sugar and ground cardamom.
Whisk in 1 teaspoon of the cardamom water until combined. Only add as much water to reach your desired consistency.