Wednesday, February 07, 2007

How Do I Love Thee?... Sweetly


It's no secret. I love chocolate and candy and all the refined sugar treats. But there is something wonderful about the sweetness of dried fruits. My favorite dried fruits happen to number 7.

Dried fruits that I almost always have in my pantry include cranberries (Craisins), apricots, raisins, cherries, currants, prunes, and figs. The raisins, either regular or golden, go into my almost daily oatmeal for breakfast. One of my favorite tea cookie recipes uses the currants, plus raisins. Prunes are a favorite snack when i want something sweet, but also somewhat healthy. Figs are sweetie's favorite snack, although he also mixes up a bunch of these dried fruits, some nuts and a dollop of chocolate chips when he has been working hard. Apricots are one of my favorite dried fruits to bake with because the heat brings out their sweet goodness. The same is true of dried cherries. My sister lives near Traverse City in Michigan and they are one of the best places in the world to find cherries, so she shares with us by sending the best dried cherries for Christmas. They are so big, even when dried, that they're almost too much, too intense for eating out of hand. In baked goods they really shine.

This recipe uses both the apricots and the cherries in a sensuous, melt in your mouth scone. This one appreciates your gentle handling by being almost as light and flaky as a well made biscuit, but with the rich taste of a scone. Butter gives the flavor here, so do use butter. The buttermilk makes it lighter than if you'd used cream, but also contributes to the tenderness. Try these for breakfast. You won't need any extra butter or jam, but who says you can't guild the lily if you want to?

Dried Fruit and Citrus Scones
Adapted from a Ladies Home Journal recipe March ‘97

Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a cookie sheet.

3 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (no substitutions)
¾ cup finely diced dried fruit (can be one or more of the following: apricots, dried cranberries, golden or dark raisins, dried cherries, currants, dried peaches) I used apricots and cherries, diced
½ cup chopped pecans
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons grated orange peel

Glaze: 2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. With pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add diced dried fruit and pecans. Combine buttermilk and orange peel in a bowl or measuring cup. Pour over crumb mixture. Stir together with fork just until mixture comes together. Gather dough gently into a ball; knead 4 or 5 times. Cut dough in half and transfer pieces to prepared cookie sheets. Shape each piece into two 6 inch x 1/4 inch thick circles, 2 inches apart. Using floured knife, cut each circle into 8 wedges.
For glaze, brush tops with cream and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake 20 – 25 minutes until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes 16 scones.




3 comments :

Brilynn said...

I really really like dried cherries, I've been adding them to everything lately. I'm fairly certain I would love these scones, maybe with some candied ginger too...

Kristen said...

I am so impressed! You are flying right along with this challenge. Can't wait to hear what 14 is!

Elle said...

Ooohh Brilynn, ginger would add some zing. You have such great ideas.

Kristen, thanks for the encouragement. I'm halfway now. More to come....