Lavender Scones and Mysteries

Mysteries and food, they make such a lovely pairing.  I can think of a number of writers who combine the two interests, and one of my favorites is Susan Wittig Albert.  This recipe for Lavender Scones comes from her 2004 mystery, A Dilly of a Death, featuring China Bales, sometime sleuth and proprietor of a small town herbal shop and tea room, somewhere in Texas.  Where is not exactly important, it is the fleshing out of characters, plot development and all the rest that make us come back for more.

Like these scones.  One of the more irascible characters quibbles that China should have left out some of the lavender.  That gave me pause.  But then you consider the person, and say no, I'll try it the way it's given.  What a waste of delightful lavender buds if you could'nt even get a taste.  And, I am here to tell you that there is just enough.  Perfection.  And, wait until you smell them baking; that by itself is wonderful.  Luckily I had some lavender remaining from an earlier experiment in marshmallow making, (Lavender Marshmallows, yum).

The only things I did change was to eliminate an egg wash, and the cutting into rounds.  I like to pat into an 8 inch circle and cut into 8 wedges.  It's simpler.  And,  I just sprinkled on the extra sugar before baking.  However, I will transmit the recipe as given.

Janet's Lavender Scones

2 cups flour
1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar, separated
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
3 tsp. lavender flower buds, fresh or dried
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup milk or half-and-half
egg wash: 1 beaten egg plus 1 Tbsp water and pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 375F.  Whisk together the flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Cut in the butter
with a pastry blender until the mixture looks like coarse bread crumbs.  Stir in the lavender flowers.

In a small bowl, combine the egg, vanilla and milk.  Add to the flour mixture and stir to blend into a soft, sticky dough.  Turnit out onto a well-floured counter, cover and let rest for 15 minutes (just realized that this was another step I eliminated.  In the morning I just want a scone, and I want it now.)

Knead gently, adding just enough flour so that the dough doesn't stick to your fingers.  Pat it out to about an inch thick.  Using a biscuit cutter that has been dipped in regular sugar, cut into rounds.  Or, like me, just pat into an inch thick circle and cut into 8 equal wedges.  Brush off excess flour with a pastry brush and place on ungreased baking sheet.  Brush each round with egg wash (if using) and sprinkle with the reserved sugar.  Bake until light golden brown (12-16 minutes).  Remove immediately from baking pan to wire rack to cool.

Very good, or as we say in Hawaii - ono. The delicate flavor and aroma of lavender are there, subtle and delicious with your favorite beverage.  Mine is brewed cacao from our tree.

1 comment:

Joanne said...

I'm always wary of using lavender in baked goods just cause I'm afraid I'll make it taste like perfume or soap! These scones do sound too delicious and elegant not to give it a whirl though!