I’m flying home to visit my parents and siblings on the evening of Christmas day (we did this last year, too—it really was less crowded, much easier with baby in tow). Even though Nick can still technically travel for free by sitting in a lap, I gave myself an early Christmas present and bought him his own seat. We flew home in August for a visit—the flight out reached nightmare proportions (jammed flight, seated in back row where the seats do not recline, crazed baby who would not nap, covered head to toe—me and baby—with food, milk and juice). Poor little guy needed his own space. I also shipped our clothes in advance, so no packing save for diaper bag and purse basics—Merry Christmas to me!
But let me get on with the food talk (beyond the covered-in-babyfood variety mentioned above). I’m trying to squeeze in some final holiday baking before leaving, and since I’m just about cookie-d out, my thoughts are turning to Christmas breakfasts.
Kevin and I have already planned to do baked French toast for Christmas morning, but I want something special for Christmas Eve morning as well—I love the final hustle and bustle of Christmas Eve: wrapping presents, delivering last-minute gifts, Xmas movies and music on in the background all day, getting ready for church, etc. A quick, make-ahead breakfast seems just the thing: specifically, Christmas Eve scones.
My mother makes excellent scones—she uses a basic currant scone recipe from the Woman’s Day Encyclopedia of Cookery (this is one of the greatest cooking collections of all times). We ate them often on weekend mornings, so getting into scone-zone is a nostalgic choice, too. Plus, I’m thinking leftovers will travel well on the flight Christmas day
As I mentioned in my previous post, I am not one for tradition when it comes to recipes—I almost always want to develop something new, so out with the traditional currants, buttermilk, and nutmeg, and in with the tart dried cherries, coconut milk, and cardamom.
The scone recipe is one I’ve been honing for about 2 years: it’s lighter, but it tastes anything but, in part because I still use real ingredients . It has a delicate crumb, the way a good scone should, but at the same time, it’s not crumbly. The cardamom and coconut lend exotic notes; the tart cherries, a mid-winter brightness. I like to give the scones a glossy sheen with some beaten egg white and a sprinkle of turbinado sugar (as my recipe directs), but you can skip these steps if you’re in a time crunch.
One of my more recent adaptations to the recipe is the use of white whole wheat flour. You MUST try this flour. It’s made by King Arthur Flour and is an incredibly easy way to add whole grains to a wide range of recipes without much more than a blink. Here’s the link if you would like to read more: King Arthur Flours
You can use it measure-for-measure in place of all-purpose flour in most recipes (I’ve had the best success in quick breads, such as scones, muffins and breads like pumpkin bread—I now prefer it in many such recipes). I wouldn’t advise the measure-for-measure substitution for delicate cakes, but I have used it in more casual cakes (e.g., upside cakes and a one bowl chocolate cake) with wonderful results.You can mail order it, but it’s readily available in grocery stores (I use my tiny town as a barometer: they have it in all of the grocery stores here, so it’s very likely in your supermarket, too).My scones are baked and cooled—I’m going to wrap them up for tomorrow morning (confession—Christmas Eve started early, Kevin and I already ate one) to gobble up with coffee and fruit.
In a medium bowl whisk the coconut milk, almond extract and egg until just blended.
Add coconut milk mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist (dough will be sticky).
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Dust top of the dough with flour, and pat with fingertips into an 8-inch square. Use biscuit cutter to cut 8 circles,re-patting dough as needed. Arrange scones 1/2 inch apart on a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Brush egg white over wedges and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
Bake 22-25 minutes or until golden. Transfer to wire rack with a spatula and cool 5 minutes. Serve warm or cool to room temperature. Makes 8 scones.
Making Ahead: These scones are excellent make-ahead options. Cool completely then store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (rewarm as desired). Or freeze by wrapping cooled scones in aluminum foil, then in an airtight freezer bag. Freeze for up to 2 months (they only take about 20 minutes to defrost on the countertop).