December 28, 2009

of sconces and scones

Sometimes a person will say something that's so inadvertently humorous, it's a desperate struggle not to laugh in the poor schmo's face. This is especially important to control when you're in the business of customer service.

Looks good.  Tastes okay.
Many moons ago, I was employed by the cafe of our local Barnes & Noble. I quickly became an ace barista, whipping up a venti half-caf nonfat no-whip caramel mocha at 190 degrees and with two extra shots before you could even repeat that ridiculous order. We always had a mighty impressive bakery case, full of cookies, cheesecake, bars, muffins, scones, and sandwiches. Sadly, it all came pre-packaged and frozen, but hey--we did bake the cookies and scones!

Speaking of scones, I've never liked the suckers. They're either too dry or not sweet enough (or worst of all, both!) for my tastes. Not even our cinnamon scones could do it for me. I recall one lady in particular who was quite fond of our blueberry scones. However, it was extremely difficult to hold back the laughter when she would boldly demand "one blueberry sconce" with her coffee. Had I been raised more poorly, I would've replied, "We're fresh out of sconces, but we do have some lovely candelabra in the back. Can I offer you one of those?"

Is it just me, or does this shot look like Falkor from The NeverEnding Story?
Anybody else see Falkor from The NeverEnding Story in this shot? I surely do.

Yep, we could count on her to bungle it every single time. No one ever corrected her, bless her heart. I'll bet she's still saying it.

This recipe didn't magically make me like scones (or sconces, if you must know), but it comes pretty close to being tolerable. They were plenty fluffy, just not quite sweet enough to meet my sugar needs. Do you have an awesome scone recipe that I should try before I pass the final verdict?

Big Blueberry Scon(c)es
(based on good ol' King Arthur Flour)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
1 cup dried blueberries
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup vanilla yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
Whisk the dry ingredients in a bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture is unevenly crumbly. Gently mix the blueberries with the dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, yogurt, and vanilla. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and stir very gently, just until combined. The dough will be quite moist, like cookie dough.
Scoop blobs about 1/4 cup in size onto the prepared sheet, leaving about 2" between each. Brush each ball of dough with a bit of milk for a nice, brown top.
Bake the scones for 20 to 24 minutes, or until lightly browned and a cake tester inserted into a scone comes out dry. Remove from the oven, and serve warm. I required abundant
blueberry jam to make mine palatable.

SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!

67 comments:

Julia said...

Reminds me of my aunt who always gets the frisbee salad (instead of frisee).

I prefer my scones savory, and developed a delightful recipe with bacon, cheddar and scallions. If you prefer a vegetarian version you could omit the bacon.

Lindsey@pickyeatings said...

I've never been a huge scone eater either, although I do like the Starbucks cinnamon ones...I have never attempted to make them either. My husband detests them.

Barbara said...

I have a sister-in-law we all call Miss Malaprop. She is a hoot. And has a great sense of humor to go with it, thank God.

Must admit I love scones. Graduated from my Grandmother's biscuits to scones after a trip to Great Britain. So many things you can do with them. I'll add your recipe to my file and try them once we polish off the pumpkin ones I have left.
Happy New Year, Grace!

Peter M said...

I too hate it when scones taste like sconces!

Surely, the Grace-ified scones are buttery, light, fluffy and perfect with tea or coffee.

TKW said...

Too funny!

My dad used to say "I gouged myself" instead of "I gorged myself." Cracked us up every time.

kat said...

The B&N near the wharf in San Francisco used to serve cinnamon scones that I was addicted too especially warm out of the oven.

foodhoe said...

heehee, candelabra!... My hand does not automatically reach for scones over other pastries, but I do like them heated with extra butter or whipped cream or other gooey sweet stuff.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I love scones and these look fantastic!

Cheers,

Rosa

George Gaston said...

Grace, great story and awesome looking scones! I agree that they need to be moist and flavorful.

Many thanks...

Deborah said...

Too funny! I hope I don't do something like that that no one corrects me on! I agree, they are usually not really sweet, but sometimes I like them that way. If I were you, I'd give up on scones and just go straight for the muffins!

kellypea said...

This brings back memories of all the customers who when through my line when I was a grocery clerk years ago. OMG. As for the sconces, I'll take mine in brushed nickle, please :) Actually, I do love them in any size or shape I can get them in -- except when they're dry, or what one expert baker from the UK call "stones" because they're so heavy. I'd say he was about right on most of the purchased scones I've had around here. The yogurt sounds wonderful in these!

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I have tasted some great scones but for some reason, Starbucks scones have been too dry. Perhaps because they are premade and baked.

By the way, I expect your customer may have been well traveled. That is the way they pronounce scone in England. I guess they haven't heard of the "silent e". :)

tamilyn said...

OMG that is too funny! I remember being behind an older couple at a fast food restaurant 15 years ago and the woman order Fa-ja-eye-ta's and the poor counter kid had no idea what she meant. She apparently didn't know that J's are pronounced H's in the Spanish.

I'm not a scone fan either-all I have had have been like sawdust :(

Dawn said...

grace you have no idea how much I enjoyed reading this post. I have to share with you that it reminded me of the time I was at the gym and brought a batch of whatever scones I had baked at the time, and one of the muscleheaded men came over to me and asked me if I was the one that made those 'sconces'. I was jaw-locked because he was HUGE and I thought he was going to beat me up, and also because he called them 'sconces' and the gym had actual sconces as lights. I never did correct him, and told him yes I made the scones (he didn't catch on when I said it right), but he did ask me to make him a batch.

Lucie said...

I recently discovered an amazing, super easy and surprisingly light scone recipe. It's endlessly adaptable which is definitely a plus!

I used to think scones were totally useless and would have prefered a muffin any day until I tried this one out:

http://bilingualbutter.blogspot.com/2009/12/warm-almond-cream-sconesfor-cold-winter.html

Also I love your blog! I live in France and it's nice to have a taste of the US whenever I read it :)

Pam said...

You know, I've never had scones, though I do have quite a few sconces.

Hungry Dog said...

That's pretty funny. Poor lady! I like scones, but I understand where you're ocming from--often they're too dry, too sweet, not sweet enough, etc. I like homemade ones best. Baking Illustrated has a great recipe for currant scones, but I also like Ina Garten's cheddar-dill scones if you're up for a more savory scone.

The Teacher Cookse said...

This was such a cute post! I needed a good laugh. Beautiful scones by the way!

Faith said...

Sconces -- that's adorable, lol! I've actually never made scones (or sconces ;) ), so I'm of no help here. I was thinking though, maybe after brushing with the milk before baking you could sprinkle some sugar on top to sweeten it up a bit. Let us know if you find the perfect recipe! ;)

Albany Jane said...

Nice! These look very moist. I think we've got the same flavor profile with scones, so I think you'd enjoy my pa in law's recipe. So good - http://albanyeats.blogspot.com/2009/09/scones.html

I wasn't a huge scone fan before, but yum, I sure am now. The blueberries may also have something to do with it.

Lynda said...

These look really good to me , Grace, but truthfully, I love them best hot and fresh out of the oven, when the outside is somewhat crusty and the inside is tender. I don't like them rewarmed in the microwave at all. I will place them back in the oven to warm. Maybe you should add a nice glaze to your "sconces" to get a sweeter treat like you desire. :)

Baking Monster said...

I really haven't found the perfect scone recipe yet either but scones are good wih lemon curd or clotted cream ontop. Now im going to spell scones as sconce.

Melanie said...

I love sconCes :), but I think it's the dry, not too-sweetness that I really enjoy :) i guess everyone just has different tastes. Although I can't think of a pastry I don't love...

♥peachkins♥ said...

Happy New Year to you and your family!

Abby said...

I'm with you on this one; scones just aren't my thing. I've only tried sweet ones, though. Maybe savory is the way to go for us! Happy New Year!

Marjie said...

I have plenty of sconces on my walls, because my house is old, but I've never had a scone. Not sweet enough would probably fill some of my men with glee. Thanks for the chuckle.

Half Baked said...

HAHAHA that is too funny! I owned a restaurant in my past life and once had a woman ask if we served craps (aka crepes)...."ummm no ma'am" bless her heart;)

Megan said...

Cute story! I really liked these oatmeal scones I made from Cook's Illustrated. I added cinnamon and cinnamon chips to them. They had a really good texture. You might like them...

muffinsareuglycupcakes said...

these look fantastic.
i love sweet scones. and savory ones too!
homemade scones are ALWAYS better. heehee.
yours look terrific :)

Lori said...

Oh jes I have quite the sconce for jou! The maple walnut ones on my blog. They are so creamy and the glaze over top puts them in the sweet category.

Must try!

LilSis said...

Your photo of the blueberry scones make them look really good, but I've never been crazy about them either. I'd probably be more inclined to try a savory scone with a nice bowl of homemade soup rather than a sweet one with coffee, but that's just me.

Would it be bad to just put a big pat of butter on top and pop it in the microwave?

Kate said...

For a scone to be good...at least for me...it has to be homemade. These look lovely. It took me a long time to find the right recipe for them...with creamy butter and jam...yum!

Sophie said...

Your scones do look so lovely & very inviting, Grace!!

Have a wonderful, fun & healthy 2010!!

Johnny Trummel said...

That was talented... I changed here there and replaced the butter with Patan ghee... It gave the more delicious taste...

giz said...

Your mom would be proud that you didn't make the poor woman feel like an idiot. Although, I have to admit, she is funny.

lisa said...

Your scones look delicious! I love scones, and I'm always trying to find a better and better recipe. Right now, my favorite is pumpkin scones and I'm about to make some as soon as I stop typing. To sweeten them up, you can always add a thick powdered sugar icing. Don't give up on them!

Donna-FFW said...

You are too funny, candelabra:)

Pretty tolerable, you crack me up, great post!

shaz said...

I can always count on you for a cheerful start to my day Grace! That's too funny.I'm still not quite sure about sweet scon(c)es but I do like savoury ones.(Australian cook Belinda Jeffery has some good recipes for those). Your blueberry ones may just convert me though! Happy New Year.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Hehe at sconce! My mum is a bit of a corrections Nazi and she has sadly passed that onto me so my ears always prick up when I hear things like that and want to correct them (but don't). Grace, have you ever tried pumpkin scones? I think they might be an Australian thing. If you google "Flo Bjelke Peterson Pumpkin scones", there are lots of recipes. They're my favourites sconces... ahem scones ;)

Mimi said...

Great story. I love scones, but I rarely buy them in coffee shops because they are too dry. I find the best recipes are those made with only flour, sugar, leavening, lots of butter and cream or buttermilk. Then add something for flavor zest, berries ...
Mimi

Ingrid said...

I like sconces but have never baked up about batch of them myself. I actually whipped up the dough, froze it, and then promptly forgot about it. :(

Happy New Year, Grace!
~ingrid

megan said...

I have so many things to say about this post. 1. I've always wanted to work at a Starbucks...is it as fun as it seems, or is it stressful? 2. I LOVE the neverending story reference! That made me smile, I thought I was the only one who ever thought about that movie :) and 3. Definitely try the pumpkin spice scones on my blog. My husband claims to dislike scones for the same reasons you do, and he loves the pumpkin spice ones. It could be the icing on top :) Although, I also have chocolate chip cream scones on my blog that are good as well. but start with the pumpkin spice.

Velva said...

I have no recipes to share about scones but, I love them ( not too sweet) with a great cup of Starbucks or a strong homemade coffee.
Grace: Your scones look divine.

WizzyTheStick said...

Sconces ROTFL!

B & D said...

delicious!! :)
wishing u a very happy new year !!!

Jessica@Foodmayhem said...

I love scones because they're usually not to sweet so I guess we're opposites, but if you want it sweeter, add a sugar glaze.

Aux délices des gourmets said...

Your scones are chewable!!
happy new year with my best wishes

Stephen said...

they so look so moist! so often the ones we get in the good ol' US of A are dry and unappealing!
6 tbs of butter, 2 eggs and 1/4 cup of yogurt for 2 cups of flour will do the trick ")..
is that yogurt full fat? can kefir with some fresh vanilla bean work as well?

Cate O'Malley said...

Love the addition of blueberries - what a delicious way to start the day!

Kate at Serendipity said...

Happy New Year, Grace. I'm glad I found your blog this year! Thanks for all your help. You know what I mean...

Lisa said...

I do like scones. A local bakery offers some killer Chocolate Hazelnut Scones. I guess the crunch and the quantity of chocolate makes up for the lack of sweetness. It's a good trade off.

Bridgett said...

I tend to pass up the scones when presented in a bakery or coffee shop. I am the unlucky one that gets the driest, most boring one on the shelf. Gag. Yours look tasty though so I would definitely give yours a try if you feel the need to overnight them to me! Happiest New Year to you, Grace.

Mary said...

I've never been a fan of sconces either. I'm more of a floor lamp kinda gal. ;)
And I too see Falkor of Never Ending Story! I love that movie!

Amanda said...

These look wonderful... and thats what counts in bloggy land! lol

Be blesed-
Amanda

Helene said...

Happy New Year!

Jacque said...

LOL, that is a fabulous looking sconce. Just perfect :)

pigpigscorner said...

I hate dry scones too. Yours look so moist and fluffy! Happy new year!

Foodycat said...

The thing is, they are supposed to be a fairly bland and unobtrusive platform for 2" of jam and clotted (not whipped) cream. It's all about the topping.

Trish said...

Hey....these look delicious! grin.... Happy New Year...thanks for stopping by my humble cooking blog and your kind comments. YOu have the best best best cake recipes you have been sharing the past month!

Mermaid Sweets said...

Those look delicious, I have to try making these dairy free, I love blueberry anything

Judy said...

I only love one scone, and it's at our local French bakery. I think they use European flour, because I have been unsuccessful in my attempts to duplicate it. I will be trying again, once I get through my long queue of baking projects. I don't like fluffy scones. This one is denser. It's not sweet, but it doesn't need a thing to enhance it, no butter, no jam, it's perfect as is.

Anonymous said...

A little honey drizzled inside or on top solves the lack of sweetness problem.

Laura said...

Now I want a scone instead of the cereal I just ate. Yes I woke up late and yes I am sorry I have not been around much. My holidays were insane-o. My poor blog and my checking out other blogs has suffered.

I looked through my flour to sugar ratio in the scones I have made on my blog--you might try the butterscotch ones (forgive the link), which have a hefty dose of brown sugar in them. You could sub dried fruit in for the chocolate chips to make them more breakfast friendly I suppose. :) But don't tell me about it! I want the chocolate!

http://thespicedlife.blogspot.com/2009/03/bbd18-quadruple-chocolate-scones.html

Jeanne @ Cooksister! said...

Falkor - it's you!!! And the blueberry sconces crack me up tooo

Chef Fresco said...

I've never really been a huge fan of scones, but had one over the holidays that I actually really liked (from Starbucks, none the less). It was blueberry and looked a lot like yours! yum!

Anonymous said...

I grew up in England and they were known as scones but it was pronounced like Skons and I think that's what that lady was saying when she ordered them.

Anonymous said...

This makes me laugh because at my job (which is a lighting store) I can't even count how many times people come in asking for scones instead of sconces.
I keep wanting to tell them they'll have to head out to the nearest bakery or the like!