Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Blueberry Scones

Before we get to the baked goods, allow me to share a little tidbit of my day with you. Because everyone deserves a laugh. 

Dan is on duty at the fire station every Monday night so I pick up Dexter from his house when I get off work and drop him off again Tuesday morning, since having a boyfriend in medical school is apparently much like having your own personal dog sitter.

6:10: Get to Dan's house to pick up Dexter. It took forever to get there since I stupidly took the interstate home and it was a parking lot. But at least I get a sweet parking spot right in front of the house.

6:11: Put key in lock and see Jager (Dan's dog) come bounding down the stairs toward the door. Hmm, why is he out of his cage? Is Dan still here? Did one of his roommates let him out, even though they know what destruction he can do in so little time?

6:12: Try to fend off Jager's advances. Spot the Hershey's chocolate wrapper and open bag of marshmallows on the floor. Shit. Not literally.

6:13: Take Jager out and try to call Dan. No answer.

6:15: Run into Dan's roommate and ask if he let Jager out of his cage. He didn't. Jager is Houdini and wished his way out.

6:17: Go upstairs and get Dexter who is quietly laying in his cage with the door shut and locked. Jager's cage door is wide open. Try to call Dan again. No answer.

6:18 Let Dexter outside to play with Jager who is running around like a wild man, fueled by all the sugar he has ingested. Finally get a hold of Dan.
Me- "Did you forget to lock Jager up? Because he's running around the house and ate chocolate and marshmallows. Too bad he didn't find the graham crackers or he could have made himself a s'more."
Dan- "Uh, no I thought I locked him up."
Me- "Well you didn't and now I'm afraid he's going to get sick, and since he's not wearing a collar, I can't get him up to your room"
Dan- "Huh."
Me- "OK BYE."

6:23: Ask Dan's roommate to take Jager out later in case he is sick. Dan's roommate agrees but doesn't think he'll be able to get Jager back in the cage since he is a problem child (Jager, not the roommate) and doesn't listen to anyone. And has no collar because he's hidden it somewhere. Hmm, starting to think he is actually a very smart dog. Call Dan again.
Me: "Ok, Will is going to take Jager out later, but he doesn't think he's going to be able to put him back in the cage."
Dan: "But I can't just have him running all over the house. That's not going to work. He should just leave him in the cage."
Me: "But what if he gets sick? You know what, fine, text Will and tell him to forget it."

6:30: Let Dexter and Jager back inside. Jager still seems fine and not sick, although very hyper. Try to coax him upstairs. Dexter sits at my feet, obeying all of my commands, wondering why I keep asking him to "COME" when he's right here.

6:32: Go upstairs and get Jager's leash. Make a loop through the handle so I can loop it around his neck for a makeshift collar like I've seen Dan do. Jager sees leash and immediately thinks we're going for a walk. Start to feel guilty that instead of the lovely walk he's anticipating, he's getting locked up in his cage. Loop leash around his neck and pull him up the stairs. Get him into the cage and LOCK the door, but leave the leash on so Dan's roommate can use it later to wrangle him since I really don't want him getting sick in his cage.

6:35: Finally leave Dan's house with Dexter and get into the car. Call Dan.
Me: "Ok, I left Jager in his cage, but I looped the leash around his neck and left it on so Will could use it later, that way he can still take him out."
Dan: "I don't know if I like that...What if he hangs himself?"
Me: "What?! How on earth would he do that? That's so ridiculous Dan."
Dan: "No, it's true! They say you're not even supposed to leave their collars on!"
Me: "Dan, how the hell would he hang himself? What would he hang himself on inside his cage?"
Dan: "The cage itself."
Me: "Are you kidding? He would have to be the smartest dog in the world to do that."
Dan: "No, seriously, he's going to hang himself!"
Me: "He would have to loop his leash multiple times through the multiple wire holes in his cage to even get close to strangling himself, and even then, there's no way he would succeed. If anything, he would just restrict his own movement."
Dan: "Fine, but if my dog is dead in the morning, I'm blaming you."
Me: "Well if you had locked his cage properly in the first place, this wouldn't even be an issue, but fine, tell Will he can remove the NOOSE from around his neck."

The next morning I returned to Dan's house to drop off Dexter and see what kind of damage Jager had done throughout the night. Of course, he was perfectly fine, had not gotten sick, and was still breathing. His leash was lying beside him in his cage so either Dan's roommate removed it but for some reason left it in his cage, or Jager continues to be do amazing things even though he lacks opposable thumbs.

And now, after that long interlude, for those of you who stuck around, on to the scones! I was somewhat skeptical when I first read this recipe because she adds raisins to the dough. Or, excuse me she adds sultanas, sort of like when she adds treacle (molasses) or tells me to wrap something in cling film. Silly Brits; not only do I constantly have to refer to the little dictionary of translations in the front of the book, but she also uses these things (golden raisins and molasses) in everything. Ok, I'm exaggerating, but she uses them a lot. And at first, I thought I would give her the benefit of the doubt since, you know, she was a pastry instructor at Le Cordon Bleu in France and now works at one of the best restaurants in the country. She probably knows what she's doing. What she doesn't know apparently is that I can't find golden raisins anywhere. I can find regular brown raisins, but apparently, those aren't good enough. Sort of like the regular (cheap) sugar that is below us as well. So as I'm standing in the store staring at all the raisins, I decide to just substitute instead. I had some leftover dark chocolate from the brownies, but really thought blueberries would be great. The package of dried blueberries caught my eye, but I really didn't want to end up with dry little dehydrated blueberries in my otherwise perfectly delicious scones. So I got some really great looking, plump blueberries and went on my merry way.

When I got home, I was reviewing the recipe, getting all my ingredients and equipment ready. Ok, let's see here. Mix, mix, add, right ok. Stir in the...and then...oh. Uh oh.

"turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead gently"

I didn't realize I would have to knead the dough, since I sort of forgot that dough for scones so closely resembles thick biscuit dough. And after all the kneading, there was rolling. Kneading and rolling those big fat blueberries. This could be a problem. Images of bright purple dough flashed before my eyes and I thought about switching to chocolate, but decided the potentially great results outweighed the costs. If I ended up with purple dough, maybe the scones would taste even more like blueberry, right? Right??

Hokay so. The ingredients:

flour, baking powder, salt, butter (not pictured), blueberries masquerading as sultanas, heavy cream, milk, sugar, eggs (also not pictured)

First, I sifted the flour, baking, powder and salt into a bowl.

I added the diced butter, and used my hands to rub it into the flour mixture until "it was no longer visible."

Nope, can't see any butter. Probably because I just covered it with all the flour.

I added the blueberries and mixed gently, still using my hands. I mixed the milk and cream together, and also added this to the mixture, stirring gently with a wooden spoon, trying desperately not to burst any of the blueberries.

At this point, the recipe says to turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead, but it was also at this point that I realized the caster sugar was still sitting on the counter. I read and re-read the recipe but there were no instructions to add it. Given how dense and biscuit-like scones are, I really thought I should add the sugar, to give them some much needed sweetness. Sugar is the last item in the ingredient list, which is usually organized in the order in which you use each ingredient. So, right before I turned the dough out onto the counter, I added the sugar and mixed the thick dough as best I could.  I dumped it out onto the counter and kneaded gently. The dough was extremely dry and crumbly and I had sudden feelings of hopelessness that this crap would never form the "smooth, soft dough" it was supposed to. Not to mention, I was also trying not to crush the blueberries, which hadn't incorporated into the dough all that well. Finally, I came to a point when the dough was mostly sticking together and decided I was done.

Smooth? Soft? or Dry! and Crumbly! Hmmm

I wrapped the dough in plastic wrap and chilled it in the fridge for an hour, after which I preheated the oven and prepared the egg wash. I combined an egg, an egg yolk, and some salt and then put the mixture through a fine sieve, and put it aside.

Although I was dreading it, I began to roll the dough, trying not to press too hard. It was still pretty dry and not a breeze to roll out. Some of the berries did break, but surprisingly, most stayed intact. Apparently these were super berries. I rolled the dough to about 3/4 of an inch thick, a little thinner than the 1 inch the recipe describes, basically just because I have no concept of measurements and really need a tape measure.

Attractive, what with all the seeds and smushed blueberries.

I was supposed to use a 2 inch cutter, which of course I didn't have. Silly me, I sort of assumed this would be the size of the top of a drinking glass. Which is actually about 5 inches. Whoops. So, while the dough chilled I did some research and looked around for something that was about 2 inches in diameter so that I had a good estimate. I used a knife to make my rounds, which were closer to about 3 1/2 inches in diameter, so I ended up with 12 instead of 16 scones. At this point, I was frustrated and not optimistic.

I put all of the scones on a lined baking sheet, turned them over as the recipe says this will help them rise more evenly, and brushed them with the egg wash.

The scones were in the oven for about 10 minutes when I took one out and broke it open to check the doneness. It was still gummy and the tops weren't yet brown, so I left them in for another 3 minutes. At that point, I tested again and they were done.  The scone pictured in the book has a bright orange top, which at first, I thought was some sort of jam, until I realized it was actually the crispy top of the biscuit. Mine didn't look anything like that, but they still looked pretty good.

It looked a lot more golden and a lot less jaundiced in real life.

Dan said these were the best scones he had ever had. I'm not sure I agree with him (I still remember these blueberry scones my friend's aunt made when I was 13 and we visited her in Albany. She sent them with us on the plane home and they were amazing), but they were very good, and I was really happy I had used the blueberries. They were dense and biscuit-like, as scones should be, but I thought they were actually a little too dense. The juicy berries added a needed lightness and sweetness to the thick scones, and next time I may add some sugar to the top for an even sweeter touch, or serve them toasted with some butter or sweet jelly.

Later, I gave Dexter a bath.


*Cue that unbearable abused animal commercial music...now*

Next Indulgence: Oatmeal, [pecan] and Raisin Cookies, Wedding Fingers, and Goober Cookies

Oh, also, I found my whisk attachment for my mixer. It was in a drawer in the kitchen. I know, shocking right? Imagine that. I think I can actually feel my mother flashing back to all those times when in the midst of a crying, wailing, screaming fit because I couldn't find my favorite shirt or keys or some other absolutely essential item that was GONE FOREVER but I needed RIGHT NOW, and can you feel the hysterics starting to build, when oh...

here it is.

Cue sheepish laughter now, and that face my mother always gives me at these moments that seems to say "I will smother you with that T-shirt if you ever do this to me again." Love you, Mom!


  1. So I will start by commenting on Dan's (MD to be)concern about Jaeger's risk of hanging himself... I hope psychiatry is not a possible career choice.
    I will now move on to the finding of the whisk attachment simply I told you so.
    And now onto those yummy looking scones. I know now why I haven't wasted the calories at Starbucks where the blueberry scones consistently tempt me to waste good Weight Watcher points. Those scones with some good coffee, we could actually bring them to Starbucks would be a great way to start your B-day visit on Sat. A lot more fun than what I was doing 23 years ago on the same day. But I knew even then that not only would you be beautiful, smart, a great writer but you would also make a mean scone. Though the crying that day was probably because you couldn't find your pacifier which was probably right next to you.

  2. Ummm this blog is SO funny. I love every single part of it! I already heard the jager attempted suicide story but breaking it down in chronological order was amazzingg. I can totally picture the entire situation unfolding and I love every single second of it!

    On to the scones: They look yummy!!! And I am incredibly proud of you for being a rebel and not sticking with the recipe. (side note--Remember when we substituted chocolate for raisons in that bread pudding recipe for mothers day and it was a giant chocolate mess--seems like these turned out better)

    Finally, the pictures of Dexter getting a bath are soooo cute an I legitimately laughed out loud in class when I read the "cue that unbearable abused animal commercial music"--quick quick change the channel! hahaha amazing.

    OH and p.s. I am not really sure what you and Mom are talking about....I don't remember either of us EVER losing anything...and if we did we clearly realized it would eventually turn up.


  3. Morgan! Your blog is so cute and funny, I love it!


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