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Peach Scones and Summer Magic

July 28, 2012

I’ve never thought of summer as my favorite season. Yes, it was great as a kid to have off of school. But as an adult, I didn’t see what all the fuss was about. Maybe it’s because for most of my adult life, I have lived places where the heat and humidity are deadly. But in Boston, summer is magic. After hibernating away in their apartments for all the cold months of winter and (non-existent) spring, people reemerge and rejoice in sweet summer time. Everyone fights to get a seat at an outdoor table for Sunday brunch and stands in line for a space on a bar’s roof deck. New England knows how to do summer right. And this year, I feel like I’m right alongside everyone else, celebrating in quintessential New England summer ways.

Exhibit A: I went down to Cape Cod a couple Sundays ago to spend the day with my friend Casey and her mom at their timeshare in Mashpee. Not hailing from the greater Boston area, I often forget how close the Cape really is. I drove down early in the morning, leaving Boston around 8:30 and was on the beach by 10am. So easy. And after a long day on the beach, Casey and I of course had to go get ice cream. #fatkids

Exhibit B: Last weekend was my girlfriends’ annual trip up to Bailey Island in Maine. Jen‘s family has a house there so we spent the weekend out on their motorboat playing in the water, sailing around on their sailboat, the Wheela, eating lobster, drinking wine, and watching the sunset. We had so much fun, and I’m already looking forward to Bailey Island weekend 2K13.

With all my summer adventures, I haven’t been spending too much time in the kitchen. But in the past few weeks, I have discovered the deliciousness of scones. I’ve already documented my obsession with baking with fruit, and while peaches are pretty dang good on their own, they are even better in these scones. These were the first scones I ever made, and they were amazing. Crumbly and slightly sweet, they paired well with my dark, strong coffee in the morning. I had to bag them up and start giving them away to people because I could resist them! Thankfully scones don’t keep very well, so it was a good excuse to eat them quickly.

 

Peach Scones (recipe courtesy of Joy the Baker)

makes 8 scones

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes

1/4 cup vegetable shortening, cold and cut into cubes (I didn’t have shortening so I replaced this with butter and it worked fine!)

1 egg, beaten

3/4 cup buttermilk, cold (I used greek yogurt and some milk)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 ripe peach, sliced thin (no need to peel)

1/4 cup buttermilk, for burshing (again…greek yogurt and milk substitute worked!)

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Cut in shortening and butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Use your hands to break the butter into the dry ingredients.  Some of the butter bits will be the size of peas and some butter bits will be the size of oat flakes.    In another bowl, combine egg, milk, and vanilla, and beat lightly with a fork.  Add the liquid to flour mixture all at once, stirring enough to make a soft dough.

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead about 15 times.  If the butter has warmed too much in the making of the dough, shape the batter into a dish, wrap in plastic wrap, and let rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.  If the butter is still cool, shape the dough into a disk and, on a well floured surface, roll dough to a little less than 1/2-inch thickness.  The dough will be rolled just thinner than a biscuit dough that you would cut biscuits from.

Brush half of the rolled out dough with buttermilk.  Arrange peach slices, in a single layer, across the buttermilk moistened dough.  Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Carefully fold the empty side of dough over the peach sliced layer.  Press gently together.  Add a bit of flour to your hands and press the edges of the dough in, creating more of a rectangle shape than a half circle shape.  Using a floured knife, slice dough into eight even pieces.

Place dough on prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 1/2-inches of room around each scone for spread while baking.  If dough has warmed, and feels mushy, place in the fridge for 20 minutes to rechill.  Remove from the fridge.  Brush each scone top with buttermilk, and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar.

Bake scones for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.  Scones are best served warm,on the day they’re made.

 

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