September 13, 2008

Baking with Culinary Lavender: Scones

On a Saturday or Sunday morning in the fall, bake a batch of scones. Have your tea and coffee in the garden to enjoy the pleasant weather.

I adapted a tried-and-true scone recipe to create these lavender scones. The original recipe for cranberry scones came from my best friend. I just left out the cranberries and used the ground culinary lavender when mixing the dry ingredients. For me, there's nothing more therapeutic and enjoyable than baking scones.

I use culinary lavender (finely ground) from Sunshine Lavender Farm in Hillsborough, NC . If you grow Provence Lavender, you can dry it and grind it to make culinary lavender.

It is difficult to describe the flavor of lavender. It's refreshing, but not minty. It tastes just like you'd think lavender will taste from that aromatic fragrance. A local ice cream shop will occasionally make vanilla and chocolate lavender ice cream with this same lavender. I've also had delicious cupcakes made with lavender. Go ahead...try baking with lavender!

Lavender Scones

Makes 1 dozen scones.

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (substitute whole wheat if desired)
1/2 cup sugar (I use turbinado sugar instead of refined white)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 tablespoons culinary lavender
3/4 teaspoon salt (I use Kosher or sea salt)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon grated orange zest (I use a microplane)
1 cup buttermilk (lowfat is okay)

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lavender in a large bowl.

Add butter and beat with an electric mixer (or pastry blender) until well blended.

Stir in zest.

Pour in buttermilk and mix until blended.

Gather dough into a ball and divide in half (I use a knife).

On lightly floured surface, roll each half into a circle. I make mine thick so that I get 6 scones (pie shaped wedges) out of each half. I use parchment paper to reduce the amount of flour needed. I also tend to hand shape, rather than roll the circle. I cut the wedges with a sharp knife. I gently tap the 3 sides of the scones on the parchment to make smooth edges.

Place scones on lightly greased cookie sheet.

Bake in preheated 400 F degree oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden.

Let cool.

Variation: you can omit the lavender and use dried or fresh cranberries or blueberries. You can use cinnamon instead of lavender if you want that flavor. I don't glaze my scones, but you can do that if you like.

Serving suggestion: Serve with preserves or lemon curd. I prefer orange marmalade with champagne (from Scotland) if I don't have any homemade on hand.

Left-overs: If you have left-overs (not likely) you can wrap a scone in a slightly damp paper towel and microwave for 15 seconds if you like your scones warmed up.
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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