Hello all you lovely people!
First question: Do you pronounce "scone" as "scAAne" as in "gone" or like sc'O'ne as in "cone"?
Second question: Are you prepared for something really delicious? Because these are really easy and really delicious and I'm not sure you're ready for it.
If you're ready, then bring our your mixing bowls and your Downton Abbey DVDS and join me in my continued pursuit to be the biggest anglophile in town.
I have a habit of going to shops and buying really random spices and flavorings that I figure I'll find use for one day and that's what happened when I discovered French Blue Lavender on sale for $4.00 a bottle. THAT IS UNHEARD OF HERE. I bought every single bottle the shop had and went home to giggle at my goodies. Then the thought struck me - what the heck do you do with lavender buds? I knew I wanted to pair it with Earl Grey tea because I had that mixture in England a million years ago and had yet to find something comparable in the States. Then the thought struck me AGAIN (so many harsh thoughts) - SCONES.
Backstory on my love of scones - they were a staple in our house. I feel like we always had some kind of homemade scone floating around. My parents were married in England during the early 80s and a lot of the things my mother became accustomed to while over there stayed with her and thus became a norm for my siblings and I.
Anyway, after a lot of searching and going through crap recipes I came across one from A Bowl of Mush that was pretty damn near perfect. The first batch I made didn't have a strong enough Earl Grey flavor, so I ended up getting some high grade tea leaves, soaking through, and then adding the leaves into the mixture. Because of this I cut the amount of butter in half and traded caster sugar for coconut sugar (low glycemic for my PCOS friends out there). Mine tend to be a bit sloppier looking that the ones pictured on ABoM, but I'm okay with that. They are always super light in texture and amazing with a lemon buttermilk wash on top. If you're feeling cheeky - a lemon Earl Grey glaze is the perfect pairing.
On to the recipe!
- 2 heaping teaspoons Lavender Earl Grey tea (scroll down for recipe)***
- Lavender flower buds
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar (and extra for sprinkling)*
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup butter (cold and cut into cubes)*
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk**
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup heavy cream (for brushing)
Pre-heat oven to 425 F, I set mine on 400 F because it tends to overcook them. Create your buttermilk mixture** and set aside. Likewise, make yourself a cup of earl grey tea! Let that soak for a real long time so it's strong.
Mix all the dry ingredients including the lavender buds, and at this point I open my bag of loose tea leaves and plop those in the mix. Get a fork and stir everything together for a bit, then add in your cubed up butter. Leave it chunky! You want that butter to create delicious pockets of gooey goodness.
Create a well with your dry ingredients and add in the wet ones - I add in two tablespoons of that earl grey tea I've had soaking for too long.
Stir it up again - don't knead. If you've created it my way - it should be a very moist batter. If you magically discovered a way to make it look like ABoM's pictures - tell me your secrets. I take a big spoon and dish them out on the baking sheet, give them a good wash with milk and let them cook for about 12 minutes. I check the bottoms of the scones every 5 minutes.
If you want to make a glaze for these just take some icing sugar (powdered sugar) and add milk and lemon juice one tablespoon at a time until you get your favored consistency.
THEN EAT THE GLORIOUS SCONES. WELL DONE.
*I would try following this recipe as listed first, then adjust to taste like I did. Low Glycemic peeps - try half the butter and coconut sugar instead. You won't taste the coconut after it's baked. I also used a little extra buttermilk (recipe for that below) wash on top instead of the heavy cream. You can use straight milk too.
** Buttermilk: 1 cup of regular milk (2% fat or higher works better) + 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Mix this first and set aside so it can curdle a bit.
*** I have tried grinding the buds with the earl grey, but I like the intensity of flavor when they're left alone. Lavender buds are naturally a little bitter, but if you're having sweet tea with it, it's a nice balance.