“I said a bite, not half.” Sometimes my husband can be a pig.
“I, um, uh,” Brian kept chewing. “I actually like this.”
“So did I.” I turned, walked back into Amy’s Bread at Chelsea Markets at 15th Street. Before the Meat District became upscale, I worked just across the street in my family’s printing business. My family sold the building, and I went into food. Now I was happily back enjoying one of the great food districts in New York City.
In line at Amy’s, I decide that this time I would buy my own private damn scone, and I would not share it. I still can’t believe it: outside the man was eating cranberries and walnuts and rolled outs.
Scone in hand, my anger had subsided. I went back to him and checked for fever. He would not eat a healthy thing unless there was something wrong. Mild fever. I didn’t even bother with an aspirin.
There is nothing, nothing wrong with these absolutely wonderful sweet scones from Amy. I’m presenting the recipe as written in The Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread. At home, I’ve baked my own and allowed my imagination to flow: instead of cranberries and walnuts I have used raisins and slivered almonds.
Amy emphasizes toasting the nuts before adding to the mix. That’s very important here. You need a strong nut flavor to compete with inherent taste of the oats.
Oat Scones with Cranberries and Walnuts
Yield: 12 large scones
- 1 ¾ cups + 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup whole wheat pastry flour
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher slat
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ¼ cups unsalted butter, cold, in ½-inch dice
- 2 ½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- ⅞ cup dried cranberries
- ¾ cup walnuts, toasted, coarsely chopped
- 1 ½ cups buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- Turbinado sugar for sprinkling on top
Position one rack in the top third of the oven, one rack in the bottom third of the oven, and preheat the oven to 400⁰F. Line the two 12 x 17 inch sheet pan with baking parchment.
In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the 2 flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda and process them for 5 seconds, until they are just combined. Add the butter and process again for 10 top 15 seconds, until the mixture looks like coarse meal. The largest pieces of butter should be about the size of tiny peas (if you don’t have a food processor, mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl with wire whisk and cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives). The butter should be suspended in tiny granules throughout the flour, not rubbed into it to make a doubly mass. Transfer this mixture to a large bowl and stir in the oats, cranberries, and walnuts until they are evenly distributed.
In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg. Remove ½ cup of this mixture and set it aside. Pour the remaining liquid over the dry ingredients and lightly and briefly stir them together, just until everything is barely moistened. It’s fine if there is a still a little bit of unmoistened flour in the bottom of the bowl. Don’t’ over mix or your scones will be heavy and doughy. This dough won’t be a single cohesive mass. It should look more like moistened clumps of flour and fruit.
Using your hands, drop free-form portions of dough about 3 ½ inches in diameter on the prepared baking sheets. Evenly space 6 scones on each sheet. Don’t try to press them down or squeeze them together — they should look like irregular mounds or clumps. Using a pastry brush, dab the reserved buttermilk/egg mixture generously all over the tops the scones and sprinkle them lightly with Turbinado sugar.
Place on pan on each oven rack and bake for 1 5minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375⁰F and rotate the pans from top to bottom. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer, until the scones area deep golden brown on both the top and bottom. A toothpick inserted in the center of a scone should come out clean. Remove the scones from the pans to cool on a wire rack. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They’re best if eaten within 2 days. [That will not be a problem.]
Source: The Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread by Amy Scherber and Toy Kim Dupree<
To call Amy’s Bread a New York City institution is to understate the importance of this craftsman baking establishment. The breads and goodies at Amy’s three stores are relished by an army of admirers. You can go by Amy’s store on 9th Avenue almost any time and immediately recognize it: there’s always a line out the door.
Amy’s original bread baking cookbook was a classic and was updated earlier this year. For me, it’s Amy’s middle book that counts: The Sweeter Side Amy’s Bread: cakes, cookies, bars, Pastries and More. If sweetness is your goal, then every recipe here will tempt you.
Like the first one. Literally, the first one for Cherry Cream Scones. Scones just may not be your thing. Most of the time, the scones by buy are hard or dry or hard and dry. They are best used as paving stones, unless you like visiting your dentist.
These scones are different. Soft. Sweet. And delectable. Why? Well, I think all the cream helps. Plus you make these scones traditionally by forming a well of the dry ingredients and gently mixing in the cream. No mixer, less gluten.
These are fabulous for your Sunday breakfast. The recipe calls for dried cherries, but there is a suggestion below for using fresh cranberries. This weekend, we’re experimenting with fresh blueberries, too.
You’ll never have a better scone — unless you crash that line on 9th Avenue.
Cherry Cream Scones
Yield: 12 large scones
- 3 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 ¼ cups dried cherries
- 2 ⅔ cups heavy cream
- 1 large egg
- Turbinado sugar for sprinkling on top
Position one rack in the top third of the oven, one rack in the bottom third of the oven, and preheat the oven to 400°F. Line two sheet pans with baking parchment.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the brown sugar until evenly distributed, then add the dried cherries and stir again for even distribution. Make a deep well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the cream into the well. Stir with a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon until a soft dough is formed. It should be completely moistened and soften up to form easily into a disk that will hold its shape without spreading. If the dough does seem stiff, add a little more cream to soften.
Weigh the dough and divide it into two equal pieces – or divide it equally by eye if you don’t have a scale. Gently shape each piece into a round disk about 2 inches thick. Using a dough scraper or a sharp knife dipped in flour, cut the disc in half and then cut each half and cut each half into three wedges. You should have a total of 12 wedges when you’re finished cutting. Try to cut the wedges as evenly as possible so all will bake at the same rate. Arrange six wedges on each prepared baking sheet, leaving as much space as possible between the pieces to allow for spreading. Remember to leave some space around the edge of the pan, too. In a small bowl, mix one egg with 1 teaspoon of water to make an egg wash. Brush the top of each going generously with egg wash and sprinkle lightly with turbinado sugar.
Place one pan on each oven rack and bake for seven minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350° and rotate the pans from top to bottom. Continue baking for another 10 minutes. Rotate the pans from top to bottom again and continue baking for 15 to 20 more minutes, until the scones or dark brown and firm to the touch. A toothpick inserted in center the scone should come out clean. The oven may be turned down to 325°F if the scones are browning too quickly. Remove them from the pans to cool on a wire rack. Serve at room temperature. Storing leftovers in an airtight container. Their best eaten within two days.
To use fresh cranberries instead of dried cherries, coarsely chop 2 ½ cups whole cranberries and mix them with ½ cup light brown sugar. Let the cranberries macerate while preparing the other ingredients. Then add them as you would the dried cherries.
Source: Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread by Amy Scherber and Toy Kim Dupree