Monday, January 10, 2011

Cherry Barley Scones

A few months ago, my friend Bronwen told me about a cookbook she had recently acquired, Good to the Grain  by Kim Boyce. It’s all about experimenting with different flours, like teff, amaranth, quinoa, and barley. I immediately knew that it was something my mother would love. First of all, she’s the type of person who really reads cookbooks, and as a scientist, she always appreciates a deliberate and precise approach to baking. As such, I bought it for her for Christmas, and as I predicted, she loved it. We finally made a trip to Whole Foods last week for some of these more unusual flours, in the hope of putting some of these recipes to the test. The vegan brunch I attended this past Sunday was the perfect excuse to try out one of Boyce’s recipes: the Strawberry Barley Scones.

The great thing about these scones is their adaptability. The jam filling is entirely exchangeable, so they might be apricot barley scones, or blueberry barley scones, pomegranate, raspberry, citrus, you name it. I opted for cherry, which is my favorite jam, and they turned out perfectly; super light and a little savory. They’re also so quick and easy, I can’t imagine another Sunday morning without freshly baked scones.

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons barley flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick non dairy butter cold and in small pieces
1/2 cup non dairy milk
1/2 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
3 tablespoons water
1/2 cup jam of your choice
1 tablespoon non dairy butter melted
1 tablespoon sanding sugar

Heat the oven to 350º. Place a rack in the middle of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the milk and vinegar in a small bowl and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes (this is the vegan version of buttermilk).

Sift the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Add the pieces of butter, and pulse until the dough forms into small pieces.

Combine the flaxseed and water in a blender, and mix until thick and frothy. Add to the buttermilk, and whisk until thoroughly combined. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients, and pulse until just incorporated. Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface. It may be sticky, in which case, sprinkle with flour and fold a couple of times. Cut the dough into 2 even pieces, then pat each piece into a disk, 7” in diameter, 3/4” thick, flouring as necessary to prevent sticking. Cover one disk with jam, and place the second disk on top, pressing gently. Brush the melted butter onto the top of the dough, and sprinkle with the sanding sugar. Cut the dough into wedges, and place on the baking sheet. Bake for 22 to 26 minutes, rotating halfway through, and remove from the oven when the tops are golden. Transfer the scones to a cooling rack immediately. If the scones begin to stick, return them to the oven, and allow them to heat briefly. Best enjoyed immediately with a pot of tea!

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