From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...There are days I truly believe that the universe conspires to drive us mad. I'm sure I lost a cosmic card game, because today the fates and furies turned on me and anything that could go wrong did. My "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day" began before eight o'clock this morning, when HVAC and electrical specialists arrived to install a new heat pump and furnace for our home. The old equipment died yesterday despite heroic attempts to resuscitate it, and we needed it replaced as soon as possible. It was obvious from the get-go that some rivalry existed between the two trades sent to install the new equipment. Their first hour together reminded me of road trips when my children were preteens and hated each other. I became so intent on avoiding the conflict that I managed to trip over a toolbox as I tried to get out of the room. The fall was not life threatening, but when I got up I was bleeding rather copiously from the mouth and had to pay the dentist an emergency visit. It seems I broke the post of one tooth and managed to crack two others. The only man who loves me more than the Silver Fox is my dentist. I have single-handedly put his children through the finest schools in the country. He was very glad to see me this morning. I was at his office for several hours while he put me back together as best he could, and when we returned the HVAC guy and his apprentice were eating pizza. "I have some bad news for you," he said. "There's a 'possum in your crawl space, and we won't go in there until he's gone. We don't do wild animals." Now, the Silver Fox and I do rats and roaches, but neither of us has worked with 'possums, so I got out the phone book and found someone who does - for $500 - when he has time - next week. We don't have time, so the Silver Fox dashed to a local farm store and bought what we think is a humane trap. Understanding my frustration, which was approaching volcanic proportions, the electrician and HVAC guy jury rigged the furnace so we could operate it on emergency power tonight. I'm happy to report we will not freeze to death this evening, and if the 'possum takes the bait, they will return tomorrow to install our beautiful and expensive new heating system. I can't let myself ponder what will happen if they don't. Now, I know you are asking what all this has to do with scones. Time had boxed me into a corner and I needed a fast and simple recipe if I was to share a feature with you tonight. I remembered these unusual scones, and thought those of you who enjoy barely sweet European desserts might like to give them a try. They take about 15 minutes to prepare and they can be table ready in less than an hour. The recipe is straight forward and the scones are foolproof. Here is how they are made.
Lemon Cornmeal Scones...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Land O' Lakes recipes
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 6 pieces
1/3 cup half and half
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
1) Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a large cookie sheet or baking pan.
2) To make topping: Combine sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl.
3) Combine flour, cornmeal, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and salt in bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
4) Stir in half and half, eggs and 2 teaspoons lemon zest just until moistened. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead 5 to 8 times until smooth, adding only enough flour as necessary to keep dough from sticking to surface.
5) Pat dough into 9-inch circle on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle topping evenly over dough. Score circle into 8 wedges with knife, do not separate.
6) Bake 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 10 minutes. Carefully separate scones. Yield: 8 scones.
Cook's note: Prepare scones as directed above, stirring in 1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries, chopped dried apricots or chopped pecans with flour.
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