Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sometimes You Just Need a Scone

Last week it was cold, rainy and just plain blechy outside and I wanted a scone. A good scone.

Now, Starbucks has great scones, but it was pretty late in the day and I didn't want to drive out with my mouth watering only to discover they'd run out. Or that they wouldn't have cinnamon (the one out here hasn't had cinnamon available the last few times I've been there).

Couple that "scone desire" with a friend's Facebook status announcing that she'd just made spice cake with cream cheese frosting to beat back the blues from the yucky, cold, rainy weather, and I was pushed to my limits. I needed a scone and I needed it now.

My first White House Chef book, State of the Onion, has a really fabulous recipe for Honey Almond Scones. I love that recipe so much and I've made it a bunch of times, always to great review (even from some in my family who don't even care for scones). But I didn't have everything I needed for that recipe, so I turned to my second favorite: an adaptation from The Joy of Cooking.

That recipe needed a little "oomph" I thought. And it needed less salt, so I omitted it. Below is the recipe I came up with after a little experimentation. I ate these straight, but I would bet that a little icing (powdered sugar and milk) would have been a wonderful addition and given them a teeny bit more sweet.

Oatmeal Raisin Scones

1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 1/4 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
3/4 cup raisins
1 egg
1 1/2 sticks warm melted butter
1/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Mix dry ingredients, then add the oatmeal and raisins. You may need to use your fingers to separate the raisins so they don't clump. In another bowl, mix the egg, melted butter and milk, then add the liquid mixture to the dry until it's all nice and moist.

Transfer the dough to a floured cutting board, and form it into a circle that's about 3/4 of an inch thick (give or take). Once it's set, slice into 8 or 12 wedges. The Joy of Cooking book suggests that if the dough is too sticky you wait a minute or two. This was great advice! Worked for me. I sliced my dough into 8ths. Should have done 12ths. My scones were huge! It didn't really matter because I wasn't making these for company, just for myself. But for future reference, smaller is better.

Carefully place wedges on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10 - 14 minutes. When they start to turn a little bit brown, they're done.

By the way, I took Cleo's suggestion from a couple of weeks back and invested in an oven thermometer. Turns out my oven is pretty accurate, although when I get the "beep, beep, beep" to tell me it's pre-heated, it's not. I need to wait a bit longer for my oven to get to the desired temperature, but once it's there, it's stable. Good to know.

In any case - if you ever just need to beat the bad-weather blues this is a nice, simple recipe and if you're like me, you have all these ingredients in your house all the time.

Scone, anyone?

And... future pics may feature other dishes. Because I had so much fun estate sale shopping this weekend, I want to share my "find" with you. Check out my personal blog - here - for my adventure with Rooster Dishes.


Don't forget GRACE UNDER PRESSURE comes out June 1st. I'm so excited!

Julie’s first book in the Manor of Murder Mystery series, Grace Under Pressure (starred review in Publishers Weekly!), debuts June 1st! To help launch the book and to celebrate its release, she's running a very special contest: Pre-order Grace Under Pressure any time before May 31, 2010, and you're eligible to win a $25 gift certificate from Mystery Lovers Bookshop! (and if you've already pre-ordered, you just need to let Julie know!) No receipts required. Just email Julie at JulieHyzy@gmail.com with thedate that you pre-ordered and thename of the bookstore you ordered it from, and your name goes in! (Please put "CONTEST" in the subject header. Thanks!)

Here are a few helpful links to get you started:
Independent Bookstore List: here
- Mystery Lovers Bookshop (free shipping on book orders over $10!) - Centuries & Sleuths (Julie's local mystery bookstore)

And while we're here...

Avery is offering FREE BOOKMARKS on her website. Click this FREE BOOKMARK link to send me your information.

Her "fan club" contest just ended on May 15 (winner to be announced on the website and in the newsletter soon). Learn about upcoming contests on the Avery Aames website and check out the "fun stuff."


  1. Yes please! I'll take a scone. I think they must be the world's perfect breakfast food. And great with a cup of coffee. :)

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  2. Oatmeal scones, wonderful...

    And wanted to share a link to my post today... all about battling the evil that is Jenn McKinlay...


  3. Scones and coffee, a great combination. Since these are oatmeal scones, I'd say they were also health food. :)

    Thoughts in Progress

  4. Elizabeth - absolutely. With a hot cup of coffee, total comfort food!

    Dave - wonderful post! Thanks for including the link. Everybody - go check it out!

    Mason - I agree! High fiber, not a terrible amount of sugar - definitely a health food in my book!


  5. One trick I've found for making Irish soda bread is to soak the raisins in boiling water for a bit before incorporating them into the dough (drain them well first!). It's especially useful if your raisins are a bit old and dry.

    What is it with these oven gauges? Mine goes off about five minutes after I've turned the oven on, and it must be all of 250 degrees hot.

  6. Great hint, Sheila! I was lucky this time and had a brand-new box of fresh raisins, but that's a great idea for when they get old and dry.
    I bet stove "ready-beepers" are set on timers rather than connected to the thermostat. For dinner, I'm okay with it. But for baking... the less guesstimation the better.


  7. Sheila, I have a recipe somewhere that calls for soaking the raisins in rum first. Yum!

    We're having cold, rainy weather here, too. It's amazing how my thoughts turn to a baked treat. This is perfect, Julie!

    ~ Krista

  8. I'm surprised you didn't add cinnamon to your batter.

  9. Krista - I think that's why I secretly enjoy cold dreary days. That makes a perfect time to enjoy a treat!

    CindyD - I think a little cinnamon would be a wonderful addition. I thought about it, but as I prepared the batter, I decided to go with the oatmeal/raisin flavor this time. I need to find a plain old cinnamon scone recipe. Or I need to come up with one...

  10. Yum! I've never made scones. Would like to try someday!

  11. Oh, Julie, I love oatmeal raisin anything -- and a scone on a dreary day would be perfect.

    Dave -- OMG -- that was one of the funniest posts
    ever. You, tartlet you!

    I'm actually counting the days -- 13 -- until
    GRACE comes out. Woo hoo. Can't wait!

  12. I'm seconding Jenn, Julie - I cannot wait to read GREACE UNDER PRESSURE. So much fun when a new series begins, like going to a party and meeting new people, starting a new job, or moving to a new city (as Avery just did).

    Have to agree with Mason, too - the oats, raisins, and milk in your wonderful scone recipe makes it a health food. :-) The weather in NYC today is downright depressing - cold, rainy, ugh. I'm ready for one of your scones to cheer me up right now! Also glad to hear my oven thermometer advice was useful for the pre-heating cycle. Dang, it's frustrating when that happens. My oven is ten years old and lies like a bad boyfriend.

    (Also loved reading your Rooster dishes story, especially you MIL's solution. Ha!!)

    ~ Cleo
    Coffeehouse Mystery.com
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  13. I love brown sugar in anything!

  14. Kris - Scones are fun to make, but even better... they're heaven with coffee.

    Jenn- wasn't Dave's blog post fabulous? You evil temptress you!

    Cleo - thanks for the kind words about the new book. You're right about the new series. I always love to meet the new characters authors create.
    Re: the rooster dishes - Yep, my mil is pretty wise. We've told our daughters that story often enough that they *know* not to argue (at least not in front of us!)

    Avery - I do too. I think it adds richness to sweets. Thanks!


  15. One of my favorite scone recipes has chocolate chips and dried cherries in it ... I bet this lovely recipe would be versatile (chips, cherries, craisins, minced dried apricots ... oh, the possibilities!).

    Thanks for the recipe. :)

  16. I bet you're right, Wendy. Mmm... chocolate chips and dried apricots. I might have to experiment again!