A few weeks ago, on a muggy Saturday morning, my daughter went with my mom to pay a visit to the farmers' market in our town. She returned a few hours later, a slightly drooping flower crown pressed over her damp hair, pure delight on her face. She couldn't wait to tell me about the huge, juicy peaches, mountains of sweet corn, bushels of sugar snap peas. There was chunky granola and maple sugar candy. And then there were the homemade blueberry pies and croissants and the trays of freshly made cider doughnuts.
Just as I was starting to deeply regret having stayed home to do laundry ~ as much as our family enjoys wearing clean socks and underwear ~ she dipped into her backpack and withdrew something wrapped carefully in paper. An unexpected consolation prize, for me. "I know how you like bees and stuff, Mom," she said. "And it's made from local wildflowers."
The label on the pretty hexagonal jar read, Heather Ridge Farm Irish Style Lemon Honey. "Try it, Mom. You have to try it!" she urged. As soon as I twisted off the lid, the fragrance of lemons perfumed the kitchen. No further prompting necessary, I sunk my spoon. Thick, sweet, and sunny with lemon essence, it's a bit like eating sunshine.
Now, though sorely tempted, we couldn't just pass the jar and take turns dipping our spoons. We could have made peanut butter and honey sandwiches, but that just seemed so pedestrian. This honey was crying out for something special to showcase its amazing flavor.
So, I concocted this recipe for Spiced Cream Scones ~ tender, moist scones with a flaky sugar-and-spice crust, flavored with just enough spice to complement the lemon without overwhelming the subtle richness of the honey. We ate them warm the next morning before church, freshly drawn from the oven and drizzled with sunshine.
Spiced Cream Scones
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 1/4 cups cold heavy cream plus additional for brushing
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine flours, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice in a large mixing bowl and whisk to blend. Make a well in the center and pour in the heavy cream.
Using a wooden spoon, mix until the dough clings together and the dry ingredients are moistened. Lightly flour hands and knead dough a couple of turns - do not knead more than two or three turns or your scones will be sinkers! Lift dough out of bowl and place on a surface that has been dusted with flour. Shape it into a disk approximately 8 inches in diameter. Cut into wedges and place on prepared baking sheet with at least an inch between them.
Brush scones with heavy cream. Combine remaining two tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon ginger and sprinkle this mixture over the tops of the scones. Bake scones at 425 degrees F for about 15 minutes or until tops and bottoms are golden brown and the sides of the scones appear dry.
Serve warm with honey and butter, if desired.
Makes 8 large scones
Looking for more on farmers' markets? Check out the To Market, To Market blog event over at A Scientist in the Kitchen.