I’ve been thinking of scones for QUITE some time. Why? Who knows. I recently downloaded the Epicurious app on my phone when I went through a ton of Bon Apetit magazines in Portland, and realized all the recipes in the magazines are available in the app. How. Cool. So I took this handy tool and did a search for scones, and…well, ended up using something from Food52 (again, I love this site), but I have about 20 recipes book marked on Epicurious (that’s right, you can book mark certain recipes, right on to your phone!).
Before I got started, I needed to set up an “air conditioning” system in the kitchen so as not to sweat directly into the scones. Sweat. Directly. Into. The. Scones. So, using my good old-fashioned ingenuity and a little elbow grease, I came up with a highly-involved cooling system.
I took a box fan we had running in the living room, and set it on top of a stool, and pointed it at my knee-to-ankle area. It was delicious.
Anyhoo, I found this recipe for Naughty Rhubarb Scones, and was apprehensive at first. First, it calls for half and half as the main “wet” ingredient, and I don’t typically use ingredients like that (1. I never use it all, so a lot of if gets thrown away and 2. IT’S HALF AND HALF FOR GOD’S SAKE, creamy and sinful!). Second, I’m not a fan of Rhubarb for a few reasons:
- I’ve never cooked with it
- It looks like red celery
- In my childhood house growing up we had a pet cemetery that was the resting place for Black Tiger (our first cat, crushed by a GARAGE DOOR), about 10000 rats (my sister got rats as pets when she was younger, and they weren’t fixed, so they had HUGE litters each month, with many stillborns, and then when we got the male, Scruffy, fixed, he died from the operation), some fish, and probably some other pets. And what happened to be growing on top of this animal death plot? None-other than a rhubarb plant. Rhubarb = Plant that feeds on death.
- It’s really bitter
So, you can understand my apprehension at working with it for the first time, but hey, Quarter-Life Retirement! Try something new, even if it reminds you of your deceased cat. So I got some from the Farmer’s Market, and set out to make’a some scones.
Rhubarb is…bitter. Very bitter. This recipe calls for you to macerate the rhubarb in sugar for a few minutes before adding (macerate = soften/break up by soaking, in this case, the sugar helps break down the rhubarb and take away some of the tartness) it to the mix. I would suggest keeping it in the sugar for at least 30 minutes to try to “sweeten” it up more.
I don’t have a stand up mixer (something I want more than anything in my life ever…a KitchenAid Stand Up Mixer), so anytime I’m baking, I don’t look forward to the mixing aspect, especially if it calls for cold butter to be “cut in” since it’s important not to over-mix, and you want to keep the butter in little chunks somewhat since that’s what gives the product (in this case, the scones) its flaky buttery goodness. So, I always get nervous. I’M GOING TO OVER MIX, I’M GOING TO UNDER MIX, THESE WILL BE THE WORST SCONES EVER. But, this recipe gives a tip to put the flour mixture in a food processor with the butter, and mix from there. GENIUS!
It worked well, better than I normally “cut in” the butter by hand, but I may have over-mixed it a bit, since instead of having little “pea-sized” chunks left, I had a uniform “sandy” type texture. Live and learn!
With the air blowing at my calves and a nice butter/flour mixture at my disposal, I assembled he rest of the ingredients, rolled out the scones, cut them out, and popped those suckers into the oven. Then I turned to my counter, and noticed the disaster left in my wake:
Stupid clean up.
The smell came wafting out of the oven and I was PUMPED. I took them out, let them cool for about 25 seconds because, who am I kidding. Awe-some. They are “naughty” indeed. They need no butter, no jam, the half and half make them super creamy and moist and just super. My scones didn’t come out quite as layer-y and dense as I would have liked, and I assume it has to do with my over-butter-mixing. But the taste more than makes up for it. I will definitely make these again, but I will probably swap the rhubarb for some other fruit (strawberries? go all out and do chocolate-toffee? currants? only time well tell) because they are just so tart, and bring back old kitty memories. And now, the reveal:
And hey, why not, here’s another money shot: