Sunday, March 9, 2008

Eat Your Oatmeal

I've never been a fan of hot cereal.  Oatmeal, cream of wheat, whatever...  I can't stand it, even if you put lots of brown sugar on it.  I think it's a texture thing.  I like oatmeal just fine in baked goods, though.  Oatmeal raisin cookies, apple crisp... yum.   A week or two ago, I was flipping through my copy of Baking From My Home to Yours looking for something to make for breakfast, and I saw the recipe for Oatmeal Nutmeg Scones.  Only one problem, I had no oats in my pantry.  So I added them to the shopping list, bought some from the bulk department at Central Market, and promptly forgot that I wanted to make the scones.  Then this morning, I was sitting here trying once again to come up with something to make for breakfast.  Nothing too involved, since I was still suffering from lack of sleep due to the lovely time change.  (The clock may have said 7:15 when Gillian decided it was time to get up, but my body definitely didn't agree.)  Scones sounded pretty easy.

This time I had everything I needed for the recipe.  The dough was quite easy to put together. First I mixed the egg and buttermilk in one of my Pyrex measuring cups.  I put a mixing bowl on my scale and weighed the dry ingredients as I added them, so I could keep track of exactly how much of everything I used (for next time).  I grated in some nutmeg with my handy microplane grater.

In a number of the TWD posts for the Pecan Sour Cream Biscuits people recommended freezing the butter and then grating it into the dry ingredients.  That way you can toss the butter with the flour mixture without overworking it.  I didn't feel like waiting for my stick of butter to freeze (and it wasn't until later that I thought about the fact that I already have a ton of butter stored in my freezer).  So I just grated it anyway, as quickly as I could so it wouldn't get too warm in my hand.  Even though the butter wasn't frozen, it worked pretty well.  Then I added the egg/buttermilk mixture and stirred it in with a rubber spatula just until the dough came together.  I followed Dorie's instructions for shaping it into wedges, and sprinkled some turbinado sugar over the tops before they went into the oven.

The verdict?  Very tasty!  The oatmeal blends into the scone more than I expected.  It adds texture, making the scones more rustic-looking.  They aren't overly sweet, so the sugar on top was a nice touch.  Brianna liked that part the best--she kept telling me how great they were and asking if I could make them again, but then left the bottom of the scone on the plate because she "only likes the part with sprinkles."  Definitely something I'll make again, probably adding some fruit next time.

Oatmeal Nutmeg Scones
(adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan)

1 large egg
1/2 cup cold buttermilk
1 2/3 cups (7 3/4 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups (4 1/4 oz) rolled oats
1/3 cup (2 1/4 oz) granulated sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
10 tbsp cold unsalted butter
turbinado or other coarse sugar

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Stir the egg and buttermilk together in a liquid measuring cup or small bowl.

Whisk the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg together in a large bowl.  Grate the butter (using the large holes of a box grater) into the flour mixture.  Toss the mixture with your fingers or a rubber spatula until the butter is thoroughly coated with flour.  Pour the egg and buttermilk mixture over the dry ingredients and stir with the spatula just until the dough, which will be wet and sticky, comes together.  Don't over-mix.

Still in the bowl, gently knead the dough by hand, or turn it with a rubber spatula 8 to 10 times. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it in half.  Working with one piece at a time, pat the dough into a rough circle that's about 5 inches in diameter, cut it into 6 wedges and place on the baking sheet.  Sprinkle sugar over the top of the scones.  

Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until their tops are golden and firmish.  Transfer them to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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