But in an effort to be a glass half-full kind of person (or is that rain gauge 3/4 full?) I've found an upside to the continuing dank drizzle. It gives me a reason to forego gardening, an excuse for warming up the kitchen by baking, and a great opportunity to have a friend over for tea and scones.
Scones are such friendly pastries. They can be a quick grab-a-bite as you're dashing out the door, or they can be lingered over, their aroma mingling with the steam from your hot tea or coffee.
I wanted to try the Cream Scones from my new best-loved cookbook, Baking: From My Home To Yours. I studded them with dried blueberries and they turned out delightfully - flaky, tender, with just the right amount of moisture. So here's your chance to banish the end of winter blahs. Bake some scones and share them with friends!
Cream Scones ( makes 12 darling small scones)
1 large egg
2/3 cup cold heavy cream
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
Preheat oven to 400 deg. and center a rack. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Stir in the egg and cream together.
Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Drop in the butter and coat the pieces with flour. Working quickly with your fingertips or a pastry blender, cut and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly. You'll have pieces that are pea-size to pieces that are oatmeal flakes and everything in between.
Pour the egg and cream over the dry ingredients and stir with a fork just until the dough, which will be wet and sticky, comes together. Don't overdo it. Still in the bowl, sprinkle the berries over the dough and gently knead the dough by hand, or turn it with a rubber spatula 8 to 10 times.
Lightly dust a work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Divide it in half. Working with one piece at a time, pat the dough into a rough circle that's about 5 inches in diameter, cut it into 6 wedges and place it on the baking sheet. (At this point, the scones can be frozen on the baking sheet, then wrapped air-tight. Don't defrost before baking - just add about 2 minutes to the baking time.)
Bake the scones for 20 to 22 minutes, or until their tops are golden and firmish. Transfer them to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before serving, or wait for them to cool to room temperature.