Here’s another of those causes I mentioned earlier this week. FixNation is a great organization that fixes feral cats for FREE in the L.A. area. Like the John Tracy Clinic, FixNation is up for a Pepsi Refresh grant. You can vote for both of them (actually you can vote for 10 causes a day). I hope you will!
Now, let’s talk tea. Not the stuff you drink (okay, I’ll be honest–I prefer coffee. With everything except lemon bars), the stuff you eat with tea. Specifically, scones. I love scones and clotted cream–so decadent! Some years ago I had some great scones the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, which used to do a lovely afternoon tea, especially festive at Christmastime. The wonderful scones (not-wonderful scones are suitable for use as building materials–talk about heavy!) had white chocolate chips and walnuts in them, and I was inspired to try to re-create them. With help from a recipe in Bon Appetit magazine, here’s what I came up with:
Walnut-White Chocolate Scones
2 cups flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 stick cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. I get out the handy-dandy KitchenAid food processor, whirl the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder together and then dump in chunks of butter and process until the whole thing is the texture of coarse meal. You can do this by hand, mixing the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and then rubbing the butter in with your fingertips. Stir together the egg and cream and pour into the butter-flour mixture. Process or stir just until the dough comes together. Mix in the walnuts and white chocolate chips. This is easy if you’ve used a bowl; if you’ve used the food processor, dump the dough on a bread board and gently work the chips and nuts in. Handle as little as possible or the whole thing will toughen up and you’ll get building materials rather than scones.
Hazel picked up a great scone pan at a shop in Cambria, and I envy her that item. If you’ve got one, you just pat the dough into the triangles and bake it. They come out perfectly shaped, beautifully browned, uniform and tidy. If you do what I do–pat the dough into a 3/4-inch-thick round and cut it into triangles–they are not so tidy. But either way, they’re delicious. Bake about 20 minutes, until golden brown.
The really cool thing about these is that you can make the dough ahead of time (and I mean ahead of time, hours earlier if you like), get the scones ready to bake and then stick them in the oven as you sit down to devour those tea sandwiches. Twenty minutes later you’ve got warm, fresh-from-the-oven scones. Yum. Don’t hold back: Lavish them with butter and clotted cream. If consuming butter and cream makes you feel guilty, quote Bob Cratchit to yourself: “Christmas, Mr. Scrooge!”