Of Scones and Love

Strange when examined up close, despite how common the practice is, the way we tend to assign deeper meaning and otherwise nonsensical connections to everyday objects is a behavior that still intrigues me. The way that something like an innocent mandolin can inspire fear upon sight in some, and how there’s nothing more soothing than a steaming cup of tea, no matter the actual flavor. Stemming from so many converging memories, it’s hard to say where all of these associations come from, but I’m fairly certain I know why I’ve been thinking of scones a whole lot lately, and along with them, a particular person who really deserves a half-dozen or so of them.

It was the very first thing I ever successfully baked for anyone else, and I still swell with pride as I recall that beautifully browned tray of lumpy, sweet breakfast biscuits. Sparkling with coarse turbinado sugar sprinkled liberally on top, each scone was lovingly decorated and carefully shaped, despite the bumpy surfaces. Made with cranberries and orange zest, a fairly safe but still new combination to me, I watched anxiously as I served the first one to my mother, candidly observing her every reaction. Although it may have been a good bit of acting on her part, she seemed just as thrilled as I, and from then on, I’ve always felt that the best treat to make for her would be scones.

Since that day, there have been scads of scones, some better than others, some prettier and still some that were huge flops and went quickly into the open trash can. But she tried them all, enthusiastic and still honest when asked her opinion, and so the scones kept on coming.

Until life got in the way, of course. Focusing more on the holidays and other baking projects, I’m sad to say that it’s easily been months since the last batch of scones were born in this kitchen. And with that confession, I realize that it’s been equally as long as I made something special for my mom. Who needs a better reason to bake than that?

I’m a firm believer that mother’s day should come around a number of times a year, at random and by surprise, especially for a woman who’s gone above and beyond the call of parenting to save my sorry butt so many times. Forget waiting for a special occasion, now is as good a time as any to spread the love… Especially with scones.

Although this little number falls more on the cakey side of the tracks than I usually like my scones, they’re a refreshing change of pace, perfectly suited for a chilly autumn breakfast or brunch.

Apple Ginger Scones

2 Cups White Whole Wheat Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
Pinch Ground Allspice
1/2 Cup No Sugar Added Apple Butter
1/2 Cup Apple Cider
1/3 Cup Dark Brown Sugar, Packed
1/2 Cup Frozen Margarine, Diced
1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Crystallized Ginger
1 Medium Red Apple, Diced

Ginger-Cider Icing:

3/4 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/2 – 1 Tablespoons Apple Cider

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and line a baking sheet with either a silpat or piece of parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and spices, so that all of the dry ingredients are equally distributed throughout. Separately, mix together the apple butter, cider, and sugar until smooth, and set aside.

Add the frozen margarine into the dry ingredients, and using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut the margarine in so that you achieve a coarse but even meal-like consistency with no pieces larger than peas. Toss in the chopped ginger and apple so that they’re coated in the flour, and then pour in the wet ingredients. Stir just enough to bring the dough together.

Scoop out about 1/2 cup of batter for each scone, and use lightly moistened hands to shape the lumps into rounds on your prepared baking sheet. Bake for 18 – 22 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool completely on a wire rack before preparing the icing.

For the icing, simply stir together all of the ingredients, adding in the cider just a few drops at a time, until it reaches your desired consistency. Drizzle across the scones liberally.

Makes 8 Scones

Printable Recipe