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Want to Share a Cuppa?

Rustic Blueberry Scones

Tea is my caffeinated drink of choice. I drink cups and cups of tea everyday. My favorite is Extra Bergamot Earl Gray from Upton Teas. I’ll have an occasional espresso drink on the run. I don’t really care for plain old coffee, though I’ll sometimes order it in restaurants because the way most restaurants serve tea is abysmal. Don’t even get me started…

In the afternoon (or sometimes mid-morning), a cup of tea wants a little bite to accompany it. I think this is what scones were invented for. I like them just a little bit sweet and crumbly.

I’m constantly trying new scone recipes. My goal is to some day settle on two base recipes, one using cream or milk and the other with buttermilk. That way I can accommodate the current dairy supply in my refrigerator. My choice of mix-ins can always be combined into either dough.

I have a variety of flours in the pantry, most of them from Bob’s Red Mill, leftover from various recipe experiments. A local grocery store (though my least favorite one around) stocks a large inventory his products. I will visit that store for flour.

My recent favorite is buckwheat flour. I’ve been substituting it for some of the regular flour in assorted baked goods. I like the earthy undertone it adds, and the slightly purple color of the end product.

With a recent excess of blueberries, picked next to the dock of our Maine cottage, I had blueberry scones on my mind. Using some buckwheat flour gave my scones the rustic look I had in mind.

When you’re in the neighborhood, you’re always welcome to stop by and join me for a cup of tea, a scone (or two), and a chat!

Cuppa Tea with Scone?

Rustic Blueberry Scones
Makes 15

1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup buckwheat flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
10 Tbsp (1¼ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut in to ½-inch pieces
1 large egg
6 Tbsp buttermilk
¾ tsp vanilla extract
¾ tsp almond extract
1 cup blueberries, rinsed and dried

Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Measure the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse corn meal. (You can process about 10 seconds before starting to pulse, if you’re not that patient.). Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the eggs. Add buttermilk and extracts and whisk to combine. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir just until the flour is incorporated. Add the berries and stir gently to combine.

For each scone, scoop about ¼ cup of dough onto the baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. I use an ice cream scoop that’s about this size.

Bake the scones for 15-20 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry. Remove from the oven and let them sit for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet. Then transfer the scones to a rack to cool further, or just eat them warm!

I find that scones freeze well. If I take one from the freezer in the morning, it’s defrosted and ready for a quick toasting in the oven later in the day.

* Note that Bob’s Red Mill is a sponsor of the International Food Blogger Conference that I am attending later this week. In exchange for a discounted rate, I’ve agreed to write some blog posts about the conference and its sponsors. However, I purchased the flour myself and I’ve expressed my honest opinions in this post.

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French Fridays with Dorie: Buckwheat Blini with Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraîche

This week flew by. I can’t believe it’s already Friday again. It seems like I haven’t been writing any posts except when it’s time for French Fridays with Dorie. I’ll have to work on that…

This week’s recipe for the cooking group was Buckwheat Blini with Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraîche. This one could go in one of two directions: appetizer or brunch entrée.

I planned ahead and convinced my husband Howard to make gravlax. He’s been doing it for years and it always comes out perfectly. We bought half of a wild Alaskan salmon, ate some for dinner, and he cured the rest. A few days later the salmon was ready. I had the best of intentions of making my own crème fraîche, but my forethought didn’t extend to myself. Typical.

The blini are made from a yeasted buckwheat batter. It needs to sit for at least 60 to 90 minutes to get the rising action going. Since I chose to try this for brunch, I made the batter the night before, letting it sit out for 90 minutes at room temperature, then stashed it in the refrigerator for the night. I was a little worried because my foil packet of yeast didn’t quite measure the 2 teaspoons called for in the recipe, but I had major bubble action, so it was fine.

In the morning, we made lots of little pancakes. Each pancake was dolloped with crème fraîche, topped with a slice of gravlax, and sprinkled with some dill. (I forgot to look for salmon roe, which would have been a nice addition.) They made a lovely presentation.

We thought the blini would make a better appetizer than brunch. First of all, it felt more natural to eat with your fingers than a fork, which seems more like an appetizer. Then, to fill up, you would need to eat a lot of blini, so again, it seemed like a better appetizer. Finally, I think the earthy, tangy taste of the blinis themselves were such a contrast to buttermilk breakfast pancakes that they suffered by the comparison. They would have shined as an appetizer. Conclusion: I liked this dish, but served it for the wrong meal.

I’m also excited to be able to experiment with the rest of the bag of buckwheat flour. I found a nice selection of recipes to try on Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks blog. The figgy buckwheat scones look especially appealing. This link will give my search results.

For the cooking group, we don’t publish the recipes. For that, you’ll need to check out Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. You won’t be sorry. What did the other FFwD bloggers think of the blini? You can see their links here and find out for yourself.

Next week, something I’ve wanted to try for a long time: Pissaladière!