Lately, I've been all about hygge, the super buzzy philosophy for which we have the good Danish people to thank. It's not a novel idea for Nate and me (who have on more than one occasion been accused of being homebodies) by any means, but I'm thankful someone made it cool and that I now need zero excuses to get cozy on the sofa with my cocoa. If you're not yet familiar with the feng shui of 2017, I suggest you start reading up immediately and casually dropping the term in conversation. People will think you're ultra hip, and you'll be left alone to revel in your slippers, wooly blankets, bathtub, etc. This is a pretty hilarious study on the trend.
In all seriousness, with all the current uncertainty in the world, many of us feel a pull to get more involved. Get out and march. Get up and make calls. Volunteer. And so we should. However, it's important that all of this is then balanced with a fair amount of self-care, so that we can look inward and understand what is at risk, and also recharge so we have the strength to carry on. I don't think it's a coincidence that hygge is growing right now.
I won't pretend that a few humble scones are the missing link for social justice. But, they might bring a smile to your neighbors or your kids. While I personally don't mind them slathered with a generous amount of clotted cream, they're also perfectly delicious as is. Wrap them up and hand them out the next time you're gathering. Invite friends over to share them with you while you write postcards to your Congress people. I have always believed that food is the universal language and that by coming to the table together we will share more than just a meal.
A few notes about these scones... They are very easy. Because we use cream instead of butter as the magic binder, we only need a little stirring. They're also foolproof. The cream coats all of the dry ingredients, resulting in a moist, tender, fine crumb. If you are averse to scones because you think they're too dry and crumbly, give these a whirl. You can also make them in advance. Do everything up to and including the step of shaping them. Then, wrap them tightly on a baking sheet and freeze for up to two weeks. When you're ready to bake, simply pull them out of the freezer, space them appropriately, egg wash + sugar and bake. This is also a good system if you wish to eat them slowly over a week or two. Pull a few out and you can enjoy a particularly hygge moment without dirtying the kitchen or ending up with an entire batch and nobody but yourself to enjoy them.
These scones are endlessly adaptable. I've made them into large triangles when we're going to keep them for ourselves for breakfast and afternoon coffee, but I've also shaped them into little circles for parties. Use whatever dried fruit, nuts, and spices you have on hand. If I'm going to use fresh fruit I poach it in simple syrup and then drain it very well to control the added liquid. I think cardamom pairs particularly well with fruit, but you could easily substitute in cinnamon or powdered vanilla bean, or omit entirely. My favorite combinations are dried cherry + cardamom, currant + orange zest + cardamom (both shown in the photos), crystallized ginger + dates, diced poached rhubarb + vanilla bean, pecan + dried pear + cinnamon, and dried apricot + poppyseed.
Lastly, in my hurry to get these posted I only included metric measurements. I'll probably update that at some point soon, but for now please buy yourself a kitchen scale and open yourself up to the beauty of weight measurements.
EASY CREAM AND CARDAMOM SCONES
Makes 8 large scones
- 400g all-purpose flour
- 83g sugar
- 20g baking powder
- 5g salt
- 185g chopped dried fruit or nuts
- 350ml heavy cream
- 60g honey
Topping (this is an intentionally loose recipe - alter to suit your tastes)
- 1 egg mixed with a splash of heavy cream
- handful of organic sugar (organic is essential to get that crunchy topping!) mixed with a generous pinch of cardamom, cinnamon or powdered vanilla bean
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add fruit/nuts and mix to incorporate.
In a separate bowl whisk together the cream and honey until well combined. Add to dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not overmix!
On a lightly floured surface, pat the mixture together into a flat circle, approximately 8 inches in diameter. Using a bench scraper or a lightly floured knife, cut into 8 triangles.
Spread scones evenly on prepared baking sheet. Place in freezer for at least 20 minutes, and up to 2 weeks (wrapping tightly in plastic wrap if you are going to freeze more than a few hours). When you're ready to bake, remove from freezer and brush egg mix over top and sides of each scone, being careful not to allow it to pool down the sides. Sprinkle the sugar and spice mixture generously over the top.
Bake until scones are golden brown on top, about 18-23 minutes.