My big project for today is decorating my Easter eggs. I decorate eggs every year, even if it means that I have to do it by myself and eat Nicoise salads for the next two weeks in order to use up all of the hard boiled eggs. Because I detest mayonnaise, deviled eggs are out of the question!
I have always been a person who loves to celebrate the holidays, and my parents always made a big deal out of them when we were growing up. My mom is about as crafty as they come, and her homemade wreaths, pillows, and holiday decorations would adorn our house, leaving no question as to what time of year it was. My dad always went out of his way to make Easter especially fun for my brother and I, painting numbers on each of the eggs that we hunted and then coordinating them with "prizes" that he pulled out of a large bag (incidentally, we never did find egg #11 from about 1985. My apologies to the people who bought our house......). So, it just doesn't feel the same to me unless I dye my Easter eggs, although Easter did kind of sneak up on me this year. Wasn't it just St. Patrick's Day???
Because the eggs will take some time, and because I am planning a big dinner for tomorrow night. I wanted to make something simple for us to have for breakfast tomorrow (alongside hard boiled eggs, of course). Sara Foster is a friend of mine who owns two very popular specialty food stores in Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Both are called Foster's Market, and I think I must have eaten there at least 3 times per week when I was in graduate school at Duke. Everything on her southern-influenced comfort foods menu is fantastic, and her cookbooks are some of my favorites (I think that her first one is the best. Mine is well-worn and covered with flour!). Sara also is a contributing editor to Cottage Living magazine, and I came across this scone recipe of hers in one of the recent issues. Knowing how delicious her scones always were, I tore the recipe out and saved it for the perfect occasion, which turns out to be tomorrow's breakfast! Here are my tips for these addictive apple scones:
- The scone dough can be prepared up to 2 days in advance. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes prior to baking.
- The baked scones can be frozen for up to 2 weeks and then reheated. Place the scones in a 350F degree oven and reheat until crisp and warmed through.
- This is a great basic scone recipe with which you can mix and match flavor combinations. Try using Parmesan cheese paired with chopped fresh pears. Mix bananas with pecans or peanut butter. Fold in fresh blueberries and lemon zest. The possibilities are endless!
- After you grate the apples, be sure to squeeze out the excess juice. This will prevent the scones from being too watery. I like to use my food processor, fitted with the grating disk, to grate the apples. It is much easier and less labor intensive than using a box grater.
Cheddar Apple Scones
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup packed grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
1 large Granny Smith apple, shredded and drained
3/4 cup buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. Place the flour, baking powder, and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the cheese and apple. Add the buttermilk and stir until just combined. If the dough is still crumbly, stir in more buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time, to bring the dough together.
Knead the dough gently several times with floured hands on a lightly floured surface and then pat it into an 8-inch diameter round, about 1/2-inch thick. Cut into 8 triangles with a sharp knife and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake at 400F degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly and serve.