I’ve been itching to say it and now I can…my first novel, Nobody’s Dog, has been shortlisted for two children’s literature awards here in Canada–the Rocky Mountain Book Award and the Silver Birch Award! Huzzah and cue confetti! I find it charming that so many of the children’s literature awards in this country are named after trees or flowers or natural physical features. How Canadian. It’s so exciting to be part of these programs that encourage kids to read and vote for their favourite book. The ceremony for the Silver Birch Award is in Toronto next May, so this is me hoping I can get out there to experience some book award fun.
Needless to say, it’s feeling a bit festive around here. I
don’t usually never need an excuse to bake. But the thing is, I’ve made these particular scones three times in the past two weeks and while that will not surprise you when you taste them (and you will, of course), a big reason why they taste so good is the amount of fat in them. I’m not going to go on a low-fat rant here, though I do sit in the full-fat-is-the-bomb camp. But that said, these scones kind of make me feel guilty.
Because every time I have made them recently I have not gone for a run after. Instead I have eaten another scone. I don’t even pretend that is any kind of exercise. And they are only the best on the day you make them. And the recipe makes nine of them. And there are only three people in our house and one of them prefers to pick the currants out of the scone, eat them, and hand me the remaining crumbs. Yes, I can take one to work the next day, but it won’t be as good, as sublime, as the day I baked them. Plus my husband just went for a run and is a total ectomorph, so he can eat three and it doesn’t matter. Damn.
I held myself back from messing with the recipe the first two times, but the last time I added some orange rind and cinnamon, just because. I also think these could be divine with mini chocolate chips or chunks instead of currants. Or is that sacrilege?
Orange Cinnamon Currant Scones
Adapted from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce
1 1/4 cups spelt flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup currants
zest of one small organic orange
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Preheat the over to 400F. Either grease a baking sheet or line with parchment. Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl. Cut the cold butter into small cubes, then add to the dry ingredients, working the butter into the flours with your fingers or a pastry cutter until the mix looks like fine cornmeal. Add the currants and zest and stir. Pour the cream over everything and stir just until it’s all moistened. Pick up mounds of dough directly from the bowl (no need to tip out on a counter) with your (floured) hands and place on the cookie sheet. You can make these big (yield 9) or smaller (yield 11 or more), but I found the bigger ones cooked better somehow. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown on the top and bottom. Heavenly with a cup of Assam.