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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Lemon Ginger Scones

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Nerd alert: I love the library. Seriously love it. Now, don't get me wrong. I wasn't one of those bookworms holed up in the library through my college years. In fact, despite the rather impressive library at Truman State University, I spent as little time in there as possible. But now that I'm out of school and with free time (though limited) to read for fun, I'm perfectly content to spend large chunks of time browsing the shelves at the library. Luckily for me, University City has a fabulous library within walking distance that I find myself frequenting on a weekly basis. For a long time, I stuck to the fiction sections. I'd arrive with my list of books I wanted to read and I'd go searching to see which were in stock and which I had to "order" from another library (another fabulous feature of U-City's library!). Recently, however, I've discovered the extensive selection of cookbooks, and suddenly a whole new world was uncovered!

I tend to get a lot of recipe inspiration from other blogs, recipe websites, and my various cooking magazines. Little did I know, there is also a wealth of resources at the library for me to take advantage of. I have spent many hours paging through cookbooks in the back of the library, carefully selecting a few to take home for a few weeks. Other times, I go online and request a specific cookbook that I've read or heard about, and then pop in when it becomes available. Such was the case recently, with the Flour Bakery Cookbook. When I visited Boston last September, I went crazy for the baked goods at Flour Bakery. Needless to say, when I heard that Joanne Chang, owner of Flour Bakery, had a cookbook out, I wanted to get my hands on it as soon as possible!

Neither the cookbook nor the library disappointed me in this case. I had the book in my hands within two weeks of requesting it and spent some time flipping the pages before settling on these lemon ginger scones. Unfortunately, vacation got in the way of my plans and suddenly the book was due. Being the good library patron I am, I scribbled down the recipe and returned the book...only to later discover I had only written down half of the recipe instructions!

Thus, these scones are an adaptation of Chang's recipe, at least when it comes to method. The ginger flavor, despite having three types of ginger in them, still wasn't prominent enough for me, a huge ginger lover. Next time I'll up the ginger as well as the lemon zest. Don't omit the lemon glaze, it's the perfect topping on these melt-in-your-mouth treats!

One Year Ago: Cinnamon Rolls

Lemon Ginger Scones
adapted from the Flour Bakery Cookbook

-2 1/2 cups flour
-1 1/2 tsp baking powder
-1/4 tsp baking soda
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/3 cup granulated sugar
-1/2 tsp ground ginger
-1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
-2 tbsp finely grated lemon zest (1 1/2 lemons)
-3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 8-10 pieces
-1/2 cup cold nonfat buttermilk
-1/2 cup cold heavy cream
-1 cold egg
-2 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
-1 cup confectioners' sugar
-2-3 tbsp fresh lemon juice (1 or 1 1/2 lemons)

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. With a stand or handheld mixer, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, ground ginger, crystallized ginger, and lemon zest on low speed until combined.
3. Add butter beating on low speed until butter is somewhat broken about (about 30 seconds). Mix in egg, buttermilk, cream, and fresh ginger.
4. Remove from mixer and with your hands, turn dough over several times to mix in loose flour.
5. Using a spoon or your hands, drop dough onto baking sheets (I lined one with parchment and left one plain--it baked fine on both and didn't stick, but the parchment paper ones were a little less brown on the bottom), about 2 inches apart from each other. Do not flatten dough as scones will spread a bit when baking! (I dropped mounds about the size of 2 golf balls.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until scones are light golden brown on top. Cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes.
7. Whisk confectioners' sugar and lemon juice to make a smooth, thick glaze that easily pours (can be made ahead of time and can be kept at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 week).
8. When scones are cool, brush tops with lemon glaze and serve.
**Scones are definitely best on the day they're made but can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. After the first day, reheat in the oven at 300F for 4-5 minutes.