Blueberry Drop Scones

Sometimes I sit down to write here and I have so much to say that there's nothing to say.

If I were only to talk about these scones, I would advise you to incorporate them into your repertoire and start making them your signature contribution to the world. They're like the softest, just-the-right-sweetness blueberry muffins, but with crispy edges and without the fuss of muffin liners. Loretta and I enjoyed them in silence this slow Saturday morning while Wyatt grew 3 more inches in his sleep.

If I were to talk about other things, I would say that my world is widening at the same time I feel very little need to establish my place in it. There is beginning to be a settled-ness in me that makes being 42 (and growing older) very sweet. Good old Richard (Rohr, of course) in his astounding book Falling Upward, says this:

We all tend to move toward a happy and needed introversion as we get older. Such introversion is necessary to unpack all that life has given us and taken from us...Silence and poetry start being our more natural voice...Much of life starts becoming highly symbolic and “connecting” and little things become significant metaphors for everything else. Silence is the only language spacious enough to include everything and to keep us from slipping back into dualistic judgements and divisive words.

Now don't get me wrong. I'll always love a stage. I'll always be making new friends or looking for the opportune moment to crack a joke. But I'm finding the territory of the soul so deep, so fascinating, so enough for me. There's more there than I'll ever need or discover, and that truth frees me from striving, from all the ways I I try to resist reality.

The Sufi mystics say that the body is the shore that the soul--the waves--crash onto. Isn't that lovely? So the territory of the soul necessarily includes this mystery of our bodies, and the whole of us--body, soul, heart, mind--gets to go along for the ride.

Hang Ten

Let me stop sorting all these scraps
into toppling piles--
receipts, bills, lists, books,
momentos,
and even my idea of myself,

and let me go jump
into the limitless, living depth
that is You,
and You in me,
and the way we leave
every shoreline behind.
Amen.

Blueberry Drop Scones
I suppose you could fit these all onto one baking sheet, but that will eliminate some of those crispy edges. I advise fitting them onto two and rotating them in the oven halfway through baking. And if you don't have frozen blueberries around? Use almost any other kind of fresh or frozen fruit. Or dried fruit and coconut. Or mini chocolate chips. Or whatever your holy heart desires! Makes 12-14.

2 c. flour
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1 Tb. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cube (4 oz.) cold unsalted butter
1/2 c. cream (plus a little more)
1 egg
1 c. frozen blueberries
sugar for sprinkling.

Preheat oven to 375 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry cutter or fingertips until mixture has pea-sized lumps.

In a small bowl, combine cream and egg. Pour cream mixture into flour mixture, stirring just until combined and adding more cream if mixture is too dry. It should be the consistency of a stiff muffin batter. Add blueberries, taking care to stir gently.

Drop 1/4 c batter onto prepared pans to make 12-14 scones. Sprinkle the top of each with a little sugar. Bake until just golden on top, 15-20 minutes. Watch carefully.

 

Best Blueberry Muffins

blueberry muffins

I love to watch people love things. I'm famous for cooking something, offering it to someone, getting settled, and creeping them out by intensely watching them eat it.  Yancey has learned he has about 5 seconds before he has to say, "Wow, babe. This is good." Then I'll leave him alone and let him enjoy his food.

Maybe more than anything I can think of, I love to watch my kids enjoy things. I'm sure I'm not alone in this, and this instinct is probably the reason some kids end up spoiled. If blueberry muffins for breakfast is spoiling, I'm all over it. Wyatt sat across the table from me, his little sunburned shoulders and uneven teeth, still sleepy, and bit into a muffin. He rolled his eyes in pleasure and said, "These are sooo good, Mom. And they're still warm. Oh. Oh. Yum. Thanks, Mom." Then he had 2 or 3 more. Honestly. What is better than that?

Best Blueberry Muffins
From my yellow Gourmet cookbook. I guess if you own it, you might not be a reader here. So don't go buy it. Stick around the Leftoverist long enough and I'll drag you through the whole thing. These aren't revolutionary, full of whole grains, or attempting anything creative. They are blessedly plain and tender and don't require getting out a mixer. 

For batter:
6 Tb. unsalted butter
1/3 c. whole milk
1 egg
1 egg yolk
3/4 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
3/4 sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
2 c. blueberries

For topping:
3 Tb. cold unsalted butter, cut into little cubes
1/2 c. flour
3 1/2 Tb. sugar

Preheat oven to 375 and butter a 12-cup muffin pan.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over moderately low heat; remove from heat. Whisk in milk, egg, yolk, and vanilla until well combined.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add milk mixture and stir until just combined. Gently but thoroughly fold in blueberries. Divide batter among muffin cups and spread evenly.

Combine all ingredients for topping in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over batter in each cup.

Bake until golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 15-20 minutes. Cool in pan for at least 5 minutes (10 would be better), then run a knife around edges of muffin tops and carefully remove from cups. Serve warme or at room temperature. 

Buttermilk Pancakes with Blueberry Sauce

pancakes

I had just cracked two eggs into a bowl this morning, readying Wyatt's usual omelette, when he called from the living room, "Mom, can we have pancakes this morning?" On top of that, as I was putting Loretta to bed last night, she said, "Mom, I have two dreams. One is that we will spend the day together tomorrow, and the the other dream is that we will have pancakes for breakfast." I double-dog-dare you to resist that.

I had no intention of posting about this since I already have at least two other pancake posts, and there's nothing special about this recipe. Then I decided that 1) I'd rather keep in touch with you than hold out for some spectacular recipe and 2) I have quite a bit more to say on the subject of pancakes and stewed fruit. Of course, you are not surprised by this.

On pancakes, here's where I stand currently:

  • The only reason I don't make them every time Wyatt and Loretta ask for them is that they derail me from my healthy breakfast regimen--granola and yogurt, oats, wheat toast and an egg, etc.
  • For several months, I've been obsessed with Molly's oatmeal pancakes. The kids like those, but they'd prefer these. I give in every once in awhile. Plus, those little wonders require thinking ahead a whole night before.
  • I never order pancakes out. Sometimes, they arrive lukewarm (horrors!), they're usually overpriced, and, snobbily, they are never as good as mine.
  • As I have mentioned a bazillion times, I always have buttermilk in my fridge. If you love pancakes, I recommend adopting this strategy.
  • I have stopped using my double-burner nonstick griddle in favor of my 10" cast iron skillet. A 12" would be ideal, but Yancey might annul our marriage if I brought home another pan. Cast iron skillets cook perfect pancakes every time, and it's worth the wait.
  • I cook them in butter. You could go all unsaturated on me and use vegetable oil, but I would still like you.
  • The biggest favors you can do your pancake batter are 1) Don't over-stir it. Leave lumps and 2) Let the batter sit for 10 minutes before you portion it into the pan. This helps the gluten develop and results in much fluffier morsels.

On stewed fruit (in this case, blueberry sauce), here's where I stand:

  • Sometimes, yours truly purchases a whole flat of berries at the farmer's market with no plan for it. If a pint or two of those precious berries needs to be used up, this is what you can do with them.
  • Cooking fruit down with a splash of water and some sugar is timeless, easy, elegant, and saves softening fruit from the brink.
  • If you've got leftover stewed fruit, put it in a smoothie.
  • For berries with lots of water content (raspberries, blackberries), you'll need to add a couple teaspoons of corn starch to thicken it up for a sauce.
  • This sauce was Wyatt's idea this morning. I asked if they wanted blueberry pancakes or regular (wouldn't you like to be a kid in this house? Sheesh.) and Wyatt said, "Why don't you make blueberry sauce?"

Goodness. I had more to say than I thought I would. They were delicious. Loretta ate them with her shirt off.

Buttermilk Pancakes with Blueberry Sauce
Makes about 12 medium pancakes. This recipe is almost identical to the base of this one, except I've started adding melted butter to the batter. &%$!! If you're going to eat pancakes, you might as well really eat them. And, if you sub raspberries or blackberries for the sauce, make sure to add 2 tsp. corn starch before you simmer it so the berries thicken up.

1 1/2 c. flour
pinch salt
1 Tb. suguar
1 Tb. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
3 Tb. melted butter, cooled

Combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk eggs and buttermilk together. Add buttermilk mixture and butter to dry ingredients, gently stir just until combined, leaving some lumps, and let batter sit for 10 minutes. Melt a bit of butter in a cast iron skillet, heat over medium heat until gently foaming, and make pancakes whatever size you want them. Flip them when bubbles are forming.

For blueberry sauce: In a small saucepan, combine 2 c. blueberries with 1/4 c. sugar and a splash of water. Cook on medium high until blueberries are bursting and forming a sauce, about 5-7 minutes. Stir frequently. You can mash up the blueberries with the back of your spoon if you're impatient.