Stress Baking is the Best Baking

This summer went by in a blur! Last Friday was my last day working at Mod, and I was kind of sad to go. I had some absolutely amazing coworkers and the work we did was actually super fun (when the deadlines were reasonable). I’m going to miss it there.

In honor of my last day, I decided to make a little something to bring into the office: roasted apricot and basil scones (and sangria).

Because every Friday’s lunch is catered, everyone snacked on the scones for a light breakfast before we all gathered ’round for a massive spread of Mexican food and sangria. My bosses were extraordinarily sweet and even surprised me with champagne, flowers and a card! To say this is one of the best work cultures I’ve been in is an understatement.

Back on the subject of food, though: since I grew up with a Le Cordon Bleu chef as a mother, you’d expect that I’d be a decent cook. You’d be sorely disappointed. A bunch of people can vouch for the horrific vegan dinners I’ve created for them, or all the times I have just happened to create something inedible. However, I do kick butt at baking.

For a whole 10 minutes I worked as a baker on the Central Coast of California (10/10 would recommend Linnaea’s Cafe to anyone in San Luis Obispo), and while there I learned a few secrets that have completely changed the way I baked. I may spill a few here, I may not. We shall see.

For those interested, here’s the recipe I came up with for my last day of work treat:

Print Recipe
Roasted Apricot and Basil Scones
Tender, flaky scones with sweet, tart, herbal and smoky notes.
Course Dessert
Cuisine English?
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
Medium Scones
Ingredients
Roasted Apricots
Dough
Topping (Optional)
Course Dessert
Cuisine English?
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
Medium Scones
Ingredients
Roasted Apricots
Dough
Topping (Optional)
Instructions
Apricots
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Halve the apricots and discard the pits.
  2. Arrange the apricot halves face-up on a foil lined baking tray. Sprinkle evenly with sugar and cinnamon.
  3. Place in the oven and let roast for 20 minutes or until beginning to caramelize. Let cool completely before adding to dough.
Scones
  1. Chop cooled butter into small cubes, as shown. Keep chilled until needed.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.
  3. Work in the butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly; it's OK for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated. Don't work too long, or the butter will get melty. If it does, toss it in the freezer for a moment.
  4. Chiffonade the basil and dice the cooled, roasted apricots. Mix into the dry ingredients.
  5. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and cream until fully combined.
  6. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients in 1/3 at a time, working until just incorporated. DO NOT OVERMIX. It is better to overmix than undermix, and you must work quickly at this point.
  7. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment and sprinkle with a bit of flour. Turn dough out onto this surface and work until it forms a circle that is about 3/4" thick.
  8. Using a knife, cut circle into 8 even triangles. Dipping the knife in cold water may help with this. Gently pull them apart until they are no longer touching and sprinkle them with coarse sugar.
  9. Place in freezer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes so that the gluten can rest and the butter can cool, allowing for a flakier pastry. While they are chilling, preheat the oven to 425° F.
  10. Bake the scones for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool briefly before serving (though they're best warm with butter or jam).
  11. When the scones are completely cool, wrap them in plastic and store at room temperature for up to several days.
Recipe Notes

Adapted from King Arthur Flour's Scone Recipe.

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