A real weekend (at last!)

The last couple of weeks I’ve been picking up an extra 8 hours helping out at one of our new properties. It’s great money, but it was killing me. I was slated for a third week of it, which I would have done, but my wonderful boss told me not to bother. I was kinda bummed (money ; ;), but I needed that time off more than I realized.

This last weekend I had both Sunday -and- Monday off, and it was amazing. Sunday I ended up sitting out by the pool and soaking up some sun, which was awesome, and Monday I baked up a storm. I didn’t really mean to, but we had a lot of stuff in the fridge that was expiring and needed to be used. I made zucchini bread muffins, blueberry scones, and banana cream pie.

Did you know that August 27th is Banana Lover’s Day? We have these odd calendars in the office from the furniture rental company we recommend to our residents, and along with the normal national/religious holidays, it has other sundry observances, usually along the food line – such as Banana Lover’s Day. Apparently I missed Cheese Cake Day a few weeks ago. I’ve been kinda-sorta using it to plot out what I’ll make on Mondays or Thursdays if it’s convenient.

Even after making zucchini bread muffins, I still had about a cup of zucchini left, and as it’s Thursday I decided to query the internets as to the possibility of zucchini scones. I thought it sounded odd, but then people seem to like the combo of chocolate and zucchini. Turns out I’m not the only one who has thought of zucchini scones. I stumbled upon a recipe that does something interesting as far as the butter in the recipe goes. Instead of cutting the butter in, they grate it, freeze it, and then briefly integrate it into the flour mixture before adding zucchini and moving forward. I am intrigued – the scones I made Monday ended up not being flaky enough for my tastes, and I have a feeling the problem was a couple of things: I know I added too much liquid (I just tipped my hand too much the last addition), and I think I made the butter a bit too small when cutting it into the flour. I read in the CIA Baking at Home book that when you’re making pie crusts, you should cut the butter in really well (small crumb-bits) if you’re going to be baking a filling in the crust – apple, cherry, or other hot-filling pie – so that the filling doesn’t break apart and can stand up to the filling; but if you’re going to be filling it after completely baking it, especially if that substance isn’t particularly liquidy/wet, you want to leave larger crumb-bits so that the crust is flaky. It makes sense that if I wanted my scones to be more flaky, I should leave larger crumb-bits. We’ll see how this grating idea works.

Zucchini Scones

4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2-1 tsp freshly-grated nutmeg
1 c buttermilk (plus additional, if necessary)
1 c grated zucchini, dried well

Grate the unsalted butter on a box grater over some plastic wrap. Throw the grated butter in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to firm.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. (She seems to like using her hands to combine things – I agree up to the point where my hands start getting sticky-doughy.)

Once the butter is hard, toss it gently with the dry ingredients, being careful not to melt the butter with your body heat. (What I did was I initially broke up the grated butter mass and integrated it into the flour a bit with the fork, then once it was manageable used my fingers to make sure there weren’t any terribly large clumps.)

Add the buttermilk and grated zucchini and mix quickly with your hands. The mixture shouldn’t be dry. (Mine wasn’t, but then I think part of my moisture problem with the last batch of scones was just how much water the zucchini had retained. I squeezed out this batch and let it sit in a sieve for a while to drain, but I have a feeling that still left too much. Maybe I need to keep it out for a few hours or something and really let it dry?)

Using a portion scoop, scoop mounds of scone dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Leave enough space between mounds so that the scones can expand slightly as they bake.

Bake at 400°F for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool slightly.


The recipe goes on to mention making an icing for the scones, but I’ll have to see how they turn out before I can determine whether they’ll need icing or not.

[later]

They’re certainly interesting. I’ve had to bake them a good 10 minutes longer than the 15 minute mark, perhaps because I have so many on the pan. They do have a nice texture, though not the scone-texture I was hoping for. They’d make a good muffin – nice and light and moist. Eventually I will figure out how to make scones. I have a feeling part of it is that I end up handling the wet dough too much – I keep trying to make sure that the added ingredient (blueberries, zucchini) is fully integrated and not oddly clumped, and I have a feeling that while I’m doing that I’m just working the dough all to hell. I’ll have to try plain scones one of these weeks, because scones are pretty awesome. I’ll also look at my pumpkin scones, because as I remember those turned out decently well.

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