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Laura’s No-Fail Buttermilk Scones

It is Thanksgiving after all… A time when most families gather around feasts of bountiful harvest and scrumptious fare. For us, it is tradition to prepare the cottage for the long winter ahead, «closing it» until next spring. Reconvening at a fancy table piled high with all the traditional fixing has never really been the scene for us. There has been some big turkey dinners cooked at the cottage over the years but for the most part, we try to keep it simple. The pantry and fridge will need emptying and the extras, doubles and left overs will later have to be crammed into the one and only city fridge. I have learned from past experience that overdoing it on Thanksgiving weekend causes much agony when the time comes to bring everything back home… And so with the years, we get smarter and wiser… This year, we are keeping it ultra simple. Chicken and sausages from the freezer will get eaten complimented with fresh vegetables we brought along. I will also need to bring back all my baking supplies to an already well stocked pantry. So baking a little bit more than usual this weekend has been part of the plan. The King and the Princes will be working hard enough outside pulling docks out of the lake, splitting wood, storing the toys of summer away they will have ample room on the energy spent scale  to chomp down a few yummy treats .

My neighbour has several apple trees and not one droplet of pesticide has touched the fruits! It is local and 100% organic at its very best. With several bags of these beautiful, crisp, juicy apples, I had no choice but to make them the stars of this weekend’s desserts. I know, it is such a terrible problem to have…

Of course we are extremely thankful for all that we have and this weekend no less and no more than any other day of the year! Maybe we simply take a moment to express our thankfulness even more… As the main (and almost always only) cook in our kingdom, I am also extremely grateful for the huge library of heirloom recipes I have harvested over the years. And today, I am especially thankful for Laura S.C., my dear friend and old «café days» partner, because earlier today, I made her scones and in exchange, I was showered with kisses and hugs from my King. I will probably be showered with more affection when I serve the warm apple crisp currently baking! That is a true Happy Thanksgiving moment…

Laura’s scones are simply amazing: not only are they super duper easy to assemble, they are completely «no-fuss»! Really!

What you need:

8 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups pastry flour
10 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 lb cold butter (2 cups)

How to make the dry mix
Mix all the dry ingredients together. Cut butter in large cubes and add to flour mixture. By hand using a pastry cutting knife or in a food processor, incorporate the butter until it resembles coarse oatmeal. You should still see butter pieces and these can be as big as the size of small peas. Do not over blend: the pieces of butter will help the scones flakiness and tenderness during the baking process.
This mixture makes several batches of scones. It can be stored tn the refrigerator for many weeks.
How to make the scones:

1 cup buttermilk
4 cups of dry mix
For fruit scones, you can add:

3/4 to 1 cup fresh or frozen fruits of your choice
Spices and citrus zest to your taste

Apple Cinnamon Scones:

Add 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon and ½ tsp nutmeg to the flour mixture
2 small apples, cut in small cubes (about 1 cup)
Cinnamon and sugar for topping
Glazed Raspberry Lemon Scones:

1 lemon: zest and juice kept separately
3/4 cup fresh or frozen raspberries. If using frozen raspberries, do not thaw
Add the lemon zest to the flour mixture and reserve the juice to make the glaze
Lemon Glaze: add lemon juice to a mixing bowl and gradually incorporate icing sugar (powder sugar) until the glaze starts to look thick pancake batter. It is difficult to give the amount of powdered sugar you will need. Start with a half a cup and add until you reach the desired effect. Drizzle each scone with the lemon glaze. If your glaze is too thin, it will run off the scones but you can correct it by adding a bit more sugar.
Date and Ginger Scones:

3/4 cup of diced dates
2 tbsp finely diced crystallized ginger (or candied ginger)
Milk and Honey Glaze: mix ½ cup of milk with 2 tbsp honey then add enough icing sugar until the glaze starts to look like thick pancake batter.
These scones are extremely versatile and the fruit/nut/spice combos are endless. Because the dough is not very sweet, they are extremely lovely when paired with savoury ingredients. No glaze needed for savoury scones although they are scrumptious when brushed with melted garlic butter.

Here are a few suggestions:
Blueberry and Orange: use the orange zest in the dough and the orange juice to make a glaze
Pecan and Maple Syrup: make the glaze with maple syrup instead of milk
Bacon, Cheddar and Scallions
Parmesan and Prosciutto
Caramelized Onions and Walnuts
Sundried Tomatoes, Basil and Pine Nuts
Or create your own winning combo!