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My Amazing Dreamcoat

My parents subscribed to two magazines when I was a kid: The New Yorker and Ranger RickRanger Rick was for my brother and me, and it was pretty great.  It was full of educational games and public service announcements about not starting forest fires.  If we hadn’t read it as kids, there’s a 50% chance we would have inadvertently burned the Blue Ridge Mountains down in the 1980s.

I liked Ranger Rick well enough, but I’d do anything for a good catalog.  After school, I’d grab an L.L. Bean or a Land’s End and read it on the floor of my room until dinner.  What beautifully freckled women!  I’d think.  What fine khaki pants and comfortable loafers!  I traced the images with my finger, wishing I were an an adult who could go kayaking in an Adirondack barn coat, size medium, color “oatmeal heather.”

My mother was relieved that I wasn’t bludgeoning my self-esteem to death with Seventeen or Teen Vogue.  And she was overjoyed that I was idolizing 30-year-old women in straw hats and forgiving bathingsuits.  To show her support, she added me to the Eddie Bauer mailing list.

I’m telling you this so you understand why I’ve never read an issue of Martha Stewart Living.  There was simply no room for Martha in my busy catalog schedule.

I haven’t watched her show, either, so it’s not fair for me to have a strong opinion about her.

And yet. . . 

My mom saw this advice in Martha Stewart Living and it made her cringe a little.  She sent it to me and it made me cringe a little, and now I’m curious about what you think.  Here’s the quote:

Tulips continue to grow even after they’re cut, so after arranging them, you may find that the stems start sprouting in different directions overnight, sabotaging your display.  Stop them by poking a hole through the stem with a safety pin, about 1/2 inch below the flower head.

Isn’t that kind of. . . sinister?  I don’t think it’s wrong to pick flowers, but there’s something macabre about stabbing them later so they can’t unfold as they may.  It’s such a sanitized, aggressive approach to beauty, isn’t it?

So I guess this tulip is going to stay where it is: at the back of the driveway, next to the recycling bin where no one passes by.

tulip

It snowed a little this morning and the petals closed up.  Perhaps they’ll open again by Easter and I can march our guests outside to admire it.  It would be the perfect opportunity for me to wear my Adirondack barn jacket!  And bring my canvas tote!

I can promise you one thing: our guests will have a raspberry scone in hand because these scones are wicked good.

scones finished small

They aren’t tall or starchy or cakey.  They’re short, buttery, and crunchy on the edges.  Inside there’s a tender pillow of raspberries.

They are phenomenal.

scone piece

The recipe is below, but first I’m going to walk you through it Pioneer Woman-style, with pictures, so that you get it right on the first try.  Here goes:

First, cut your frozen butter into your flour and sugar.  Use frozen butter because it’ll hold up in the dough–you’ll still have pea-sized pieces of butter in there, and that will make the scones flaky and delicious.

Add the cream to the butter and flour mixture and stir it with your finger just until it’s incorporated.step 1When you transfer the dough to a work surface, you’re going to see little pieces of butter, clumps of dough, and a lot of loose flour.step 2Push it into the shape of a brick with your hands.  Flip it over and shape it into a brick again.  (This is a gentle way of kneading it.)  Do it a third time if it’s not sticking together at all.step 3Then roll it out until it’s about 1/2″ thick.  If the dough comes apart, just push it back together.step 4Now press frozen raspberries to the bottom 2/3 of the dough.step 5And fold the dough toward you like it’s a letter you’re going to put in an envelope.step 6Roll your log of dough out until it’s about an inch thick and the raspberries are sealed up inside. . .step 7And then cut it into triangles. step 8See?  Then pop the scones in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.step 9When you take them out of the freezer, brush them with a little cream and sprinkle them with a little sugar so you get a nice crunchy top.  Then bake them up!

silpat

Raspberry Scones {Download & Print Recipe}
Adapted slightly from a recipe on Chow and told in my own words.
You can store left-over scones in a tupperware container, but they get a little soggy that way.  You can easily fix this by reheating them in the oven or the toaster oven on Day 2.  Also, in case you’re tempted: I don’t recommend adding chocolate chips to these.  Usually I’m a fan of adding dark chocolate to everything, but it didn’t didn’t marry well with the tartness of the berries here.

Ingredients:

2 c. flour

1/4 c. sugar (plus a little more for sprinkling at the end)

2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

8 Tbsp. butter (1 stick), cut into 1/2″ cubes and then frozen

3/4 c. heavy cream (plus a little more for brushing on at the end)

1 c. raspberries, frozen

Directions:

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  Whisk it to break up any lumps.  Add the frozen pieces of butter.  (The butter really must be frozen or else you’re going to wind up with starchy scones.) Using a pastry blender or a dough scraper, cut the butter into the flour until only pieces of butter a little larger than the size of a pea are left.  Do not overdo it.  Pour the cream into the bowl.  Using your finger (not a spoon), mix just until the cream is gone and the dough is sticky.  There will still be loose flour in the bowl.

Carefully turn the mixture onto a lightly floured work surface and push it into the shape of a rectangle.  The rectangle will be very dry and coming apart.  That’s okay.  Flip it over and shape it into a rectangle again. Do it a third time if it’s really coming apart.  You’re going to think to yourself “this dough is too dry to roll out–I need to incorporate the butter more,” but it’s the chunks of butter that remain intact that will makes the scones so delicious, so don’t worry.  The key is to handle the dough as little as possible so those pieces of butter stay intact and cold.

Keep the long side of the rectangle facing you like in the pictures above.  Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough into an 8 x 10 inch rectangle as best you can, pushing it back together if it comes apart.

Take the raspberries out of the freezer and gently press them into the bottom 2/3 of the dough.  They won’t really stay when you press them in, and most of them will break, which is fine.

Now you’re going to fold the dough like it’s a letter you’re going to put in an envelope.  Run a dough scraper or a knife under the top third of the dough to loosen it. (This is the third farthest away from you that doesn’t have any berries on it.)  Then fold that third toward you onto the second third of the dough, which is covered in raspberries.  Press down gently.  Run the dough scraper or a knife under the second third of the dough to loosen it.  Then fold it over onto the last third of the dough (the third closest to you).  Now your dough will look kind of like a log.

Using your floured rolling pin, gently roll the log into a long, 1″ thick rectangle.  Cut the dough into triangles in one motion using a dough scraper or a big knife.  Transfer the triangles to a couple plates and put them in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper.

When the scones are chilled, place them 2″ apart on the baking sheet(s).  Pour 1 Tbsp. of cream into a measuring cup or small bowl and use it to brush each scone with a thin layer of cream.  Then sprinkle each scone with a little sugar–a tablespoon or two divided between all of them.

Bake the scones for 20 minutes or more, until they’re golden brown.  Let them cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before trying to remove them to a rack or serving.

~~~

thunder march smallThunder’s dreamcoat would probably be made out of bacon.

Not a bad choice.

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29 Comments Post a comment
  1. These look incredible! One of the first raspberry scone recipes I’ve seen that doesn’t use jam – love the use of real fruit. As for Martha, clearly she only has one use for nature – and that is in OCD-styled arrangements – personally, I’d love my flower arrangement to move and change overnight.

    March 25, 2013
    • Yes, in fact if my flower arrangements creeped across the table overnight, I’d applaud them in the morning.

      March 25, 2013
  2. I, for one, love being surprised by how tulips change overnight. (How do they *do* that?)

    The raspberry scones look like they melt in the mouth. Yum! I’ll try the bacon variety, too.

    March 25, 2013
    • Jennifer–I had never noticed how they change, probably because it’s been a long time since I’ve bought or cut some. When I was in New York, gerber daisies were easiest to come by (also roses.) I would get three gerber daisies at a time and put them on my mantle. I think they might be my favorite flower now…

      March 25, 2013
  3. Dayna #

    Silly girl, everyone knows you use white chocolate with raspberries!

    March 25, 2013
    • Ha! Yes! In fact, I was in the kitchen scratching my head about whether to go to the store and buy a bar of white chocolate before making a test batch to see if refrigerated (not frozen) butter would work. And I decided…..that I was too lazy. I threw in the dark chocolate, and it was a waste. I shook my fist to the heavens, but I should have known better!

      March 25, 2013
      • That said, I’ll amend the head note because that’s a good point. White chocolate might be delicious in these.

        March 25, 2013
  4. Frozen scones! That’s a new one on me. If the results are good (buttery, crunchy), I will certainly try it.

    March 25, 2013
  5. I have a hate-hate relationship with Martha since my elder daughter turned 10 and wanted to make the little sugar houses she saw in Living as a craft for her party. The directions called for sugar rectangles (not the easy to find cubes, but freaking rectangles!) and after much online research, store hopping, gnashing of teeth and roundly cursing Martha Stewart, I finally conceded defeat. The sugar rectangles were no longer being manufactured. My daughter was so disappointed. We ended up making tiny log cabins out of Twix. And they were adorable. But I have never felt the same about Martha after that. It surprises me not one bit that she stabs tulips.

    Your raspberries scones, on the other hand, make me very happy. I love the way a crumbly dough comes together to make something magnificent. And I am with Thunder on the bacon dreamcoat. That would be ideal.

    March 25, 2013
  6. Whoa, so much raspberry goodness in the middle of those scones! I am bookmarking this recipe for sure.

    And I would never put a safety pin through a tulip! What’s the point of real flowers if you’re going to try to control exactly how perfect & uniform they look? They happen to sell some perfect wooden tulips in the flower market in Amsterdam; maybe Martha Stewart should only be allowed to buy those…

    March 25, 2013
  7. Thanks for sharing your recipe along with the wonderful photos

    March 25, 2013
  8. jenny_o #

    I don’t care if my flowers creep, sprout or jump out and say boo! because at least they’d be alive and unchewed (we have cats, I think I need say no more about that).

    Around these parts, those scones are called “the good cookies”. Our actual scones are like biscuits with a dose of sugar in them, and, if you’re lucky, a few raisins. I like yours better 🙂

    March 25, 2013
  9. Ranger Rick Holla! I loved Ranger Rick and we got My Big Backyard, too. We got Highlights for Children for a while, too. And my brother got Boy’s Life. We were periodical children. My Mom used to get a catalog, I can’t remember what it was called (one of the ones that sells shower caps and fancy glasses with folding lenses so you can do your mascara on one eye and still see with the other) but I loved it because every third page or so had a small story in the corner. That and the Sears Wishbook. I mean, who didn’t love a good Wishbook? I wanted every single swing set because the sun was so dang shining and the grass was so dang green and the kids were so. dang. happy. *sigh.* So now I surf Pinterest.

    March 25, 2013
  10. I think Martha also recommends that you put a lighter to the stems of Poppies to keep their blossoms bloomed. Hmmm. (Actually, even though it sounds a bit off…I do think that’s what you do.)

    But…on a larger note, we rarely see photos of your other dog anymore. I hope you didn’t eat him!?

    March 26, 2013
  11. The Sears Wishbook (and any catalogue for that matter) were serious entertainment when I was growing up. We weren’t allowed to watch tv, so instead I’d imagine that I had won millions of dollars in the lottery and I’d pick one thing from every page of the catalogue that I’d buy.

    Also, I love Martha Stewart, but I wouldn’t stab anything for her. Unless, maybe, we end up in prison together. Of course, if you ever take the time to watch her tv segments with children? It becomes painfully clear that she’d be the initiator of any prison violence.

    And finally, I have some amazing frozen raspberries. I think I need to make these scones.

    March 26, 2013
  12. oh yum, raspberries and scones – two of my favourite things!

    March 26, 2013
  13. Candy #

    Be still my heart!! These may be come my new favorite sweet scone. Also, love the pictures of the process.

    March 26, 2013
  14. Katherine! I have a weird vision of a long dining table in a Victorian house, eating these scones with hot tea and you and a bowl-y vase of tulips between us. Is that the creepiest vision ever? It made me so happy to read this. Those scones look amazing, and I am overjoyed they did *not* contain white chocolate.

    Thank you for this hilarious glimpse of you as a girl. And your awesome mom. And the secret (or not so secret?) audience of catalogs. I grew up similarly drooling over the J.Crew catalogs my mother had nothing to do with, but must have shown up by my older, impeccably-dressed brother’s doing? (Can you tell I grew up in CT at this point?)

    Sending love, hope you and Scott and VA are well! I love love love your writing, and I’m so glad you are “here” 🙂
    Kara

    March 26, 2013
  15. Amy #

    I used to LOVE reading catalogs as a kid! I read them so many times I practically had them memorized. Land’s End was a good one, but I loved the home ones too, and Shaper Image. I still love a good catalog…I’ve got to get myself on some mailing lists!

    Mmm, love the idea of adding fresh fruit in a layer in these scones. Nate is a scone fanatic, so I might have to give these a try soon 🙂

    March 26, 2013
  16. Thunder: I heard scones baking. Don’t try to deny it. Fork ’em over.

    March 26, 2013
  17. That face just melts your heart – want to give some love and cookies:) Great post – Happy Tuesday!

    March 26, 2013
  18. This is exactly what I have been craving for the last two weeks! THANK YOU! I will make them this weekend! 🙂

    March 26, 2013
  19. Gorgeous scones! Hard to go wrong with raspberries. And poking pins through tulips seems sadistic to me.

    March 26, 2013
  20. That stunt with the tulips sounds exactly like pithing a frog. Eww.

    March 26, 2013
  21. Are we the same person? No, because I have a serious crush on Martha. When she does something peculiar, or says something unfriendly and odd, or recommends procedures such as flower mutilation, all I can do is smile, shake my head, and say “Oh Martha.”

    But we are similar, because I coveted catalogs like a fiend when I was younger. My mom had me beat by a mile though, and all our old catalogs would pile up in the back room, stack upon stack. For that I am super thankful that I don’t subscribe to any catalogs at the present time.

    March 27, 2013
  22. Whilst I didn’t have quite the catalogue fetish that you had, I was subscribed to National Geographic throughout my teens (which, since I went on to originally train as a Field Guide made sense). I wish I could say my current tastes were as high brown, as it is the only regular magazine-like material I read now are those ultra-trashy magazines (I’m sure you have similar over the pond) that are full of nothing but ‘true life’ stories like ‘I ate a frog’ or ‘my willy fell off’… When I go to my parent’s house, my magazines are banned because they are just that awful.

    It does sound sinister to intentionally limit an already cut tulip. I just conversed with my mother about it (a woman who boasts a few flower arranging trophies from her distant youth) and she went on a rage thanking God that ‘that Martha Stewart woman is banned from entering our country’. Yeah, the intensity of her wrath escalated quickly.

    March 28, 2013
  23. The dough appears quite dry in the photos above. Though, they look scrumptious!
    PS: I LOVE Pioneer woman style food photography!!!

    August 8, 2013

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