Sunday, March 24, 2013
Apricots for Sweetie
It can't be Sunday evening, a full week after St. Patrick's Day! Where has the time gone? For about a week before that day and for a day after, we seemed to be on that pendulum upswing where there was lots of social stuff going on, then the pendulum swung more towards things that needed to be done. Probably some of that was due to not handling the usual while we were being so social? Anyway with more kitchen planning and visiting places that sell appliances and cabinets, with taxes and scholarship group and fire department stuff and graphic design, the usual errands and chores, getting seedlings re-planted into little peat pots (which makes them 'starts'!, the dance card has been full for every dance and then some.
So today's post is for the scones with apricots that Sweetie requested for his birthday, even though that was days ago. I served them still warm, with a nice bowl of mixed fruits and hot coffee...no butter needed. They are barely sweet, except for when you bite into one of the apricot pieces, a bit on the rich side, and fragrant with apricot and almond aromas. As with many quick breads, these benefit from being barely handled. At first there wasn't enough liquid, so I added a bit more, then it seemed like the dough was too sticky. I so rarely make scones anymore that I thought I'd lost my touch and was sure they would be dense. I sort of flattened out the sticky dough on the silicon mat into a rectangle, then used a knife with flour on the blade to cut them into rough squares. I scooted the squares away from each other and slid the mat onto a baking sheet. You could do the same thing using baking parchment - when the dough is sticky it is nice to shape and bake the scones on the same surface.
I love the bits of apricot showing, too. Sweetie was a happy birthday boy when these were served!
These would make a nice bread for Easter, too. If you threw in some dried cranberries as well, it would look and taste even more festive.
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup almond meal (almond flour - I use Bob's Red Mill)
½ cup white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
4 oz (1/2 stick) very cold butter cut into small pieces
½ cup light cream
¼ cup buttermilk
¼ teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup moist dried apricots, diced finely
With a fork stir together the flour, almond meal, white whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the diced butter, then, using clean fingers, rub the butter and flour together until the texture of bread crumbs. Work quickly to keep the butter cold. You can also use a pastry blender to cut in the butter.
In a large measuring cup, use the fork to stir the eggs to beat them lightly, then add the light cream, buttermilk, and almond extract and stir to mix well.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and gradually add the liquid ingredient mixture, mixing lightly with the fork, just until ingredients are barely combined. Do not over mix. If mixture seems to dry, add a few drops of milk; if too wet, add a tablespoon of flour. Finished mixture should be the consistency of moist biscuit dough.
Take a tablespoon of flour and use it to dust the diced apricots, working to have all sides lightly coated with flour.
Again using the fork, gently stir the apricots into the dough, just enough to disperse them.
Turn dough out onto a baking parchment lined surface (or a Silpat mat). Pat dough out to about a 1 inch thickness. Cut with floured scone or biscuit cutter, or with the rim of a drinking glass. Gather scrapes and pat them down, then cut some more scones until dough is used up. If dough is too sticky, pat into a rectangle or circle and cut with a lightly floured knife edge, then use the knife blade to move the cut pieces apart. Slide the parchment paper onto a baking sheet. You could also use a Silpat mat, like I did. Just be careful when cutting so as to not cut the mat.
Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for about 10 – 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool slightly in pan, then serve warm.