Sometimes I do not smart things. Like stay up until 2 a.m. in the morning, trying to invent delicious and healthy vegan peanut butter cookies (and fail, not that that stops me from eating too much cookie dough), watching stupid television shows, avoiding homework, and all in all, achieving nothing but a bellyache.
Then there are other times where my baking urges lead to more productive, happier consequences. Like propelling me out of bed in the morning, motivating me to shower, dress, and blow-dry my hair in record time, and then on top of that, whip up a batch of scones to bring, still warm, to my Friday morning class. Because if there's one thing I can recommend to anyone, it's to learn how to bake. All you need are one or two good recipes under your belt, because if you show up to a gathering (be it a seminar, a meeting, or just a night with friends) you will be loved. You will be hugged. Vigorously. People will propose marriage to you. Offer you a place to live. In short, you can't go wrong with a plate of cookies. Or, in this case, a basket of scones.
Orange Date Scones
The flavours of orange and date pair beautifully, but this recipe is infinitely adaptable to all sorts of flavour combinations - orange cranberry, lemon cranberry, blueberry lemon, orange chocolate...so feel free to adapt the recipe to your own tastes and cravings.
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cup All Purpose Flour (you can use all whole grain flour for a heartier scone)
1/4 cup Sugar
Zest of one orange
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 cup Butter (cold!)
1/2 cup Buttermilk
1 tbsp Chia or Flax Seeds + 3 tbsp water (or 1 egg)
1 scant cup Chopped Dates
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. If using the egg replacer, add chia or flax seeds to a small bowl and stir in the water. Set aside to let the seeds and water gel.
3. Zest orange and mix into the sugar in a large mixing bowl. (Mixing zest into sugar allows the sugar to absorb the fragrant citrus oils in the zest, maximizing the flavour in your baked goods, a technique you can use with any citrus zest.)
3. Add the rest of the dry ingredients to the citrus sugar and whisk to combine.
4. Cut butter into small cubes, then add to the dry mixture. If you have a pastry cutter, use that to cut the butter into the flour. If not, use your hands to work the butter into the flour - just rub the flour and butter between your hands to break the butter up. You don't want to work the butter in completely, but for there to be pea-sized bits of butter throughout the mixture.
5. Make a well in the dry mixture, then pour in the butter milk and egg substitute or egg. Stir mixture together with a wooden spoon until it forms a loose dough.
6. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it gently until it all comes together in a soft dough, then form it into a ball.
7. Flatten the dough into a circle with your hands, about 1/4 - 1/2 an inch thick. Slice into 8 or 12 pieces, then transfer to a baking pan with parchment paper.
8. Bake 15 - 20 minutes, until browned and cooked through. Enjoy plain, with butter, or jam! These are best on the day they're made, so if you're not having friends over for brunch or just distributing scones out of the goodness of your heart, then you can store the dough in the freezer in a ziploc bag, and just bake off a few at a time whenever you have a hankering for a scone.