Friday, May 18, 2012

Lavender Earl Grey Scones

Here's another scone recipe from the famed sconery (no that's not a real word) in NYC, Alice's Tea Cup. A few months back I promised to share another of their delicious recipes (especially for those far from the east coast). So here it is folks: lavender earl grey scones. I've actually never tried this particular variety in the restaurant before, so I was eager to make them. I thought they'd make a lovely addition to a springtime brunch, and of course, earl grey tea. 

I find many people are wary of using lavender in their cooking, for fear that it will taste like soap or their beloved grandmother's perfume. While we all love soap and perfume, they don't necessarily belong in food. Lavender is an extremely strong herb and a little goes a long way. When used in the appropriate proportions however, it adds a wonderfully light and floral quality to whatever you include it in. 

These scones give you just a hint of lavender combined with subtle undertones of earl grey tea. They seem a bit classy even though they're quick and easy to make (making them perfect for a breakfast or brunch party). They're delicate and just down right good with a proper cup of tea. 

Recipe courtesy Haley & Lauren Fox, Alice's Tea Cup Cookbook

2 heaping tsp. Lavender Earl Grey tea leaves (see notes below)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
½ tsp. baking soda
2½ tsp. baking powder 
¾ tsp. kosher salt
1½ sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
1¼ cups buttermilk, shaken
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup heavy cream (for brushing)
¼ cup sugar (for sprinkling)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper and set aside. 

Begin by steeping 1 heaping tsp. of the Lavender Earl Grey tea leaves in ¼ cup boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes. Strain and reserve the tea.

In a well-cleaned coffee or spice grinder, grind the remaining teaspoon of tea leaves to a very fine powder. In a large mixing bowl, combine the powdered tea leaves, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine.

With clean hands, or using a pastry cutter, work the butter into the dry mixture until it is fully incorporated and has the consistency of fine breadcrumbs.

Next, make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk, vanilla extract, and 1 tbsp. of the brewed Lavender Earl Grey tea. Using your hands, combine the ingredients until the dry mixture is wet (do not knead!). 

Turn the mixture onto a clean, lightly floured surface, and using your hands, gather the dough together. Gently pat the dough to create a rectangle about 1½ inches thick. Using a dough cutter or large knife, cut the scones into wedges measuring about 3½ by 4 inches, and carefully place them on the prepared pan.

Liberally brush the tops of each scone with heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake the scones for 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. 

Yield: 8 to 10 scones 

  • You can find Lavender Earl Grey tea at specialty tea shops or online.

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