Friday, December 30

England where my heart lies {Orange-Honey Scones}

And from the shelter of my mind,
Through the window of my eyes,
I gaze beyond the rain-drenched streets,
To England where my heart lies.  -Kathy's Song by Simon & Garfunkel

My heart is in England today. Perhaps it's the cold, steal grey skies. The sun, just a white orb, failing to penetrate the icy clouds with its warmth. Perhaps it's the damp air that clings to my hair and jacket when I walk out the door.  It coats my lungs with a cold film that makes me cough when I inhale, and then escapes in a burst of heavy steam.  Whatever the reason, I find myself thinking of Darjeeling tea, wool sweaters, green hills, scones with orange marmalade, Paddington Bear, and all things comforting and English.

These scones take me back to college when I spent a few weeks alone in London between semesters.  I can almost remember the smell of damp bookshops & smokey tabbaco shops.  And I most certainly can recall the smell of fresh-from-the-oven scones in a warm coffee shop with chairs upholstered in torn & faded leather, tables chipped & greasy from ages of use set in front of a picture window that looked out onto a wet, verdant green hill painted on a canvas of grey, not too unlike the one just outside my window today in Colorado. That must be why I'm craving scones.  Because, although the memories are fading like the leather on those chairs, when you leave a piece of your heart somewhere, you can return whenever you like.

These scones are my attempt to return to that coffee shop.  They're zesty, not too sweet, and perfect right out of the oven.  I make mine with orange-flower honey that I bought in Florida - I know not very English, but I love the flavour - but use whatever honey is local to you.

Orange-Honey Scones

1  1/2 cups of flour
1/4 cup of sugar
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
the zest of one orange
1 stick (8 TBSP) cold butter, cut into small cubes
1  1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup of half-and-half or whole milk
1 large egg
1 Tbsp orange-blossom or local honey
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 C).

 Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and orange zest in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a couple forks or a pastry cutter until the mixture is fine. Stir in the oatmeal.

Gently warm the milk to just lukewarm (95-100 degrees F) and stir in the honey to dissolve. Whisk in the egg and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until everything in uniformly moist (the dough will be sticky).

 Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Press or roll into a circle that's about half an inch thick. Cut into circles using a biscuit cutter or the rim of a small glass. Transfer the wedges to a baking sheet lined in parchment. Sprinkle the tops with a thin layer of sugar. Bake for 20 -25 minutes or until the edges are golden.


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