I thought about making Irish Soda Bread in honor of Saint Patrick's Day, but Jeff reminded me I don't really like Irish Soda Bread. Instead I made oatmeal scones. Oatmeal is Irish, right?
I used a recipe from The New Best Recipe cookbook by Cook's Illustrated for the base. I substituted currants for the dried cherries and pecans for the hazelnuts. I make do with what I got. The organic dried cherries were almost $8 for a half cup packet. Yikes!
To get a nice hearty oatmeal flavor and still maintain a fluffy texture Cook's Illustrated recommends toasting the oats for flavor and baking at a high temperature for fluff. I baked them at 450 degrees like the recipe said, but I burned the bottom. I'm thinking this new oven runs hot. I need to get an oven thermometer to find out. Or maybe the temperature should be brought down a notch.
The toasted oatmeal brought great flavor and the scones had a nice craggy texture. Not quite as soft as their white flour equivalent, but enough to keep the texture light. I had one for breakfast this morning and it was just the right amount of sweet to go with my morning cup of coffee.
Oatmeal Scones with Currants and Pecans
1 1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup pecans
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup milk
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 cup currants
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter chilled, cut into 1/2 inch chunks.
Step 1: Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread the oats evenly on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven until they are fragrant and starting to turn brown. They go from brown to black very quickly so keep your eye on them. It should take about 7 minutes to toast your oats. Set the oats aside to cool and increase the oven temp to 450 degrees. Reserve 2 tablespoons of oats for dusting the work surface.
Step 2: Combine the milk, yogurt, egg in a bowl. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the mixture for glazing the top of the scones.
Step 3: Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into the food processor and blend until combined (four 1-second pulses). Sprinkle the chunks of chilled butter around in the flour mixture. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs and no large chunks of butter remain. In a large bowl combine the butter flour mixture with the toasted oats. Make a well in the center and add the liquid ingredients. Gently fold together with a wooden spoon. Use your hands to gently combine the mixture into a ball.
Step 4: Dust the work surface with half of the reserved oats. Sprinkle a baking sheet with the reserved oats and then put the ball of dough into the middle and pat until it is a 7-9 inch circle. Brush the top with the reserved milk mixture. Then cut the dough into 8 wedges with a serrated knife. Bake until golden brown (12-14 minutes). Cool the scones on a wire rack and serve or store in an air tight container.