For me one of the benefits of cold weather is that Rick and I get to share tea fairly frequently. One of us will skulk about the kitchen hovering near the stove and suddenly turn with a smile to the other and say ” How about a nice cup of tea?”
Last Sunday, as the snow fell from the sky in huge flakes, we cancelled plans to go out to a movie- The Sundance Film Festival was overrunning our favourite cinema house so we avoided the crowd and snuggled up together on the couch with a tea tray and a DVD of “The Wizard of Oz” By the way -those flying monkeys with the blue faces-um they still freak me out just a wee bit. But still- a perfect Winter’s afternoon. Grab the good stuff as you can I always think.
Somehow I always put tea and oranges together in my mind ( lyrics from the Leonard Cohen song Suzanne-“..and she feeds you tea and oranges that come all the way from China” inevitably sings out in the background) so there must be a sliced or quartered orange and if we’re lucky there will be a homemade biscuit or a scone. These scones go very well with a nice pot of Earl Grey tea. As for the blueberries I think using dried works so well- it makes them a bit like currant scones but with blueberry flavour and they don’t turn all grey-blue as they tend to do when you use fresh or frozen.
Blueberry Orange Almond Scones
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Ceylon Cinnamon
- 1/2 cup cold butter
- 1 cup whole dried Blueberries
- finely grated zest from one whole orange
- 1 cup chopped almonds
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 beaten egg for topping
- Turbinado (raw) sugar for topping
- 2 ounces almond paste crumbled, optional for topping
Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Cut the cold butter into small pieces and cut into the flour with a pastry cutter or rub between your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs with a few pea sized butter pieces remaining. Add the blueberries and almonds and stir in. Mix the buttermilk, one large egg, zest and extract together. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the buttermilk mixture. Stir just until combined and the dough starts to pull away from the bowl. Dump out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead only a few times until the dough holds together. Don’t over work as with most short doughs.
At this point you can form small handfuls of the dough into balls and place on parchment lined baking trays or you can pat out into a large circle, brush with a little beaten egg and sprinkle with the raw sugar and scatter the crumbled almond paste evenly over the top, place the round on a parchment lined or lightly greased baking tray, cut into 8 wedges and separate slightly (a bench scraper works great for this job) and bake in a preheated 375F oven for about 20-25 minutes or until golden and risen and just springs back slightly when very lightly touched in the center.
Serve warm or room temperature. They will keep well covered for a day or two but are best the day they are baked.
Enjoy the Winter as you can and hold on for Spring!