We believed that charming myth: It made the already dazzling winter sunsets all the more spectacular and fired our imaginations. What wonders — edible and otherwise — would we encounter come Christmas?
It doesn't matter that Grandma's story was just that, a story to amuse children. It was enchanting!
It was cold and gray today and there was no sun to set. I made scones to ward off the cold draft that rolls under the kitchen door. The rear wing of our old Victorian house on a hill has three doors, and ample opportunities for the cold to slip through, no matter how hard I try to keep it out.
A baking project helps greatly, and scones can be made with ingredients that won't necessarily send fat to the hips, cholesterol to the arteries and blood sugar soaring to new heights.
Low-Fat Cranberry-Orange Scones
- 1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
- 4 tablespoons fructose
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 5 tablespoons chilled Smart Balance, cut into small cubes
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 6 tablespoons light half and half
- 1 large egg (or two egg whites), beaten
- 2 tablespoons grated orange zest or 1/2 teaspoon orange oil
Preheat oven to 400. Sift dry ingredients in large bowl; cut in Smart Balance (or other low-fat butter substitute). Rub together until dough is grainy. Add cranberries (today, when I saw I did not have enough dry cranberries, I chopped some fresh and added another teaspoon of fructose).
In a separate bowl, blend the half and half, the egg or egg whites and the orange zest. Add this to the dry mix and stir until the dough is blended. Knead lightly while in the bowl.
I use an eight-section scone pan. But you can also make small rounds or wedges and bake them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until tops of scones are golden.
The scones are best eaten hot with orange marmalade. They are not as dense and dry as other scones.
Scones, of course, are not French. But the French take great pride in the success of their baked goods (and why not?) and scones are easy to make and make well.
It really doesn't matter what you bake or make on a dreary December day. But puttering around the kitchen helps drive the cold away, if only in your mind.
Postscript: Oh zut! WhenI was formulating this post in my mind, I was going to provide a link to My Kitchen in Half Cups, because Tanna was the one who inspired me to bake with cranberries, instead of freeze them. These scones would be great with Tanna's cranberry curd, too.