lazy saturday morning scones (orange/ginger, almond/raisin)

This week has sort of been a marathon: new city, new people, new dialect, finding a new apartment…Amman has been wonderful so far, and everything has gone more or less without a hitch – but it’s still been a busy week. So this morning my roommate Hanna and I decided to sleep in and make it a lazy day of scone-baking.

The basic recipe we followed (or I should say, Hanna followed, since she did most of the scone-making while I was making coffee and Roma style tomato sauce to stock our freezer for the winter) comes from the formidable store of recipes from King Arthur Flour, but the ingredients we used were all things we’d just happened to pick up around our neighborhood over the past few days: orange blossom water, rosewater, golden raisins, blanched almonds, ginger, and orange zest. It produced two marvelous new scone varieties that will most definitely be repeated in the future…

rising agent, orange
rising agent, orange

rosewater: an essential ingredient not only in Mamluk-era pharmacological manuals, but today as well

Orange Ginger Scones and Almond Raisin Scones

Again, the basic recipe is borrowed from King Arthur Flour, but with a few alterations.

For each batch of scones, you will need:
2 3/4 cups of flour
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup cold butter
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 to 2/3 cup of buttermilk (we used an Arab yogurt drink instead, but American buttermilk would work as well)

For orange ginger scones, you’ll also need: zest of half to a whole orange depending on how much you love orange zest; about a tablespoon of grated ginger, orange juice squeezed from half of your orange, about two teaspoons of powdered ginger, and about one and a half tablespoons of orange blossom water.

For almond raisin scones, you’ll also need: half a cup of golden raisins, 3/4 cup of blanched almonds, blended in a food processor as much or as little as you’d like, a tablespoon of ground cinnamon, and about one and a half tablespoons of rosewater.

For the glaze, you’ll need two teaspoons of buttermilk and two tablespoons of cinnamon & sugar mixed together.

if at all possible, these ingredients should be mixed whilst listening to some old school jams
if at all possible, these ingredients should be mixed whilst listening to some old school jams

To proceed:

Using a whisk, combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Using your hands or a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until most of the butter is in pea-sized bits. Add the dry ingredients of your toppings to the mix (nuts, raisins, etc.).

Next, combine your wet ingredients, including eggs, vanilla, buttermilk, and scented waters.

Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients till just combined.

Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper, sprinkle with flour, and dollop scone-sized bits of dough onto it. Shape them, handling dough as little as possible, and brush with the glaze.

corner scone
corner scone

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F and, while the oven is heating up, freeze your scones by placing the baking tray in the freezer. This will make the scones more flaky and pastry-like, plus it flash-freezes them in case you want to save some or all of your scones to be baked at a later date.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Let them cool and serve with butter, jam and honey.

and at last
and at last

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