Saturday, February 6, 2010

Oat & Apricot Scones with Glaze

I am telling you, I am telling you that scones need to grace our breakfast and snack trays more often, folks.
My head was spinning over a twirling kitchen aid motor on what differentiates a scone from a muffin and here's what I came up with. Short end of it.

Scones, to me, are like glorified biscuits- a buttery and delicate dough with flash-refrigeration/freezer-time and baked off to create a dense but crumbly pastry and best eaten immediately. Definitely wonderful with marmalade, jam, butter... nutella....

Muffins on the other hand, are more cake-like in both preparation and in end result. Muffins are ever deserving of hype and love, but I'm afraid that scones might begin replacing muffins during our wee AM hours. I simply prefer the scone, darling! (as I typed that, thick British accent seemed appropriate)
This recipe actually made it's way onto my blog about 1 1/2 years ago, but it was one that needed re-do, a re-try, and a reevaluation..
... and might I insert right here that the outcome is awesome. Really freaking wonderful and hearty and perfect for the snowy day we're hibernating from on the east coast.
I took my recipe-creating liberties and made up a glaze of sorts to pour on the scones immediately after they made their debut from the oven. It sealed the deal for me- I had to pat myself on the back for that one. But do what you wish! Make up your own glaze or topping.

Oh, and remember, scones really are best the day they are made. I'd argue they are best within the first few hours. Ta ta!

Oat and Apricot Scones
{Martha Stewart Baking Handbook}
1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal*
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup plus
2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 stick (10 Tbsp) unsalted butter, cold, and cut into small pieces
1/2 heaping cup diced dried apricots
1 large whole egg, plus 1 egg yolk
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp heavy cream
Sanding sugar for dusting (optional)

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tsp orange zest
1/2 of an orange's juice
1 Tbsp or more of milk
1/4 tsp almond extract
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, both flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cutter, or two knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbles. Fold in the apricots.
Whisk together the whole egg and buttermilk. Add egg mixture to the flour mixture and using a rubber spatula, fold in, working in all directions and incorporating crumbs at the bottom of the bowl, just until the dough comes together.

Turn out the dough (mine was very sticky!) onto a floured work surface. Take off any rings you might be sporting. With floured hands, gently press and pat dough into rectangle about 1 1/4 inches thick. Using a sharp knife, cut into 8 triangles. Place triangles 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Freeze at least one hour (or you can freeze it up to 3 weeks, just place the unbaked scones in a resealable Ziploc).
Preheat the oven to 375 and in a small bowl, beat the egg yolk with cream. Brush this mixture over the tops of scones. Sprinkle generously with sanding sugar. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until tops are golden, about 25-30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Make glaze.
In a medium mixing bowl, take powdered sugar (1 cup is an approx. measurement) and add orange zest, orange juice and milk, adding more liquid if mixture is still too thick. Alternatively, if it gets too runny, add more sugar. Stir in extract and pour over warm scones, or serve on the side with cooled scones.

*I pureed my oats to cut them up a bit- it was a good move.

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