Today is the first day of school. It hardly seems possible. Summer vacation has flown by so quickly, that I hardly had time to blink, and now, it's over! I should be thrilled, like any self-respecting, harried mom/taxi driver would be, but I'm not. You see, this isn't just any old, regular, run of the mill, first day of school. Today is Mini SGCC's first day of high school. Oooh! I got goosebumps just writing those words. High School! My baby's in high school! How did this happen? When did my angelic little curly-haired moppet trade in hair bows for lipstick? Fingerpaints for Algebra? Stuffed animals for boys?!?!
She's been gone for five hours now, and I'm sitting here, wondering.....worrying. Did she find her way to her first class okay? Was she able to get into her locker? Will her teachers be nice? Will the other kids be friendly? Will she find someone to sit with at lunch? Oh, please God, let her find some nice kids to sit with at lunch!
Last night, as I tucked her into bed, (Yes, I still do that. You wanna make something of it?), I could tell she was anxious. Our eyes met in the dark and I knew. For all her bravado and outward poise, deep down inside there still is that little girl, vulnerable and unsure, stripped of her cloak of teenaged coolness. We talked a little and I hoped that I said something to ease her mind.
Later, as I tossed and turned and tried to get to sleep, I remembered my own high school days. Things were so much simpler then. A few new outfits, a looseleaf binder and some sharpened pencils and you were good to go. Do you know that in our school district, entering freshman actually have to declare a major? Can you believe that? This world has gotten so complicated that kids are already supposed to have their lives mapped out by the time they're fourteen! I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up!
So, this morning, as I heard Mini SGCC rustling about at 5:00 a.m., I wanted to do a little something to mark the occasion. It had to be something understated and completely devoid of sentimentality and mushiness. She is way too cool for that! I decided to make these lovely cream scones.
I got the basic recipe from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours, and added a few small tweaks to it. The original recipe calls for dried currants, but I didn't have any. Instead, I threw in a handful of tiny dried raspberries. I also added some fresh orange zest and a few drops of pure orange oil to the dough.
Despite the fact that it was the brink of dawn and my taste buds weren't fully awake yet, I was very pleased with the way these scones turned out. Warm from the oven, they were slightly sweet, delicately crumbly and light as a whisper. The orange flavor was discernible, but subtly so. With a smidge of mascarpone and raspberry jam, they were worth getting up at five in the morning for.....well, almost!
Raspberry-Orange Cream Scones (Printable Recipe)
1 large egg
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh grated orange zest
1/4 tsp orange oil
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
3/4 cup dried raspberries
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.
Stir the egg and cream together. Mix in the orange oil.
Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Drop in the butter and, using your fingers, toss to coat the pieces of butter with flour. Quickly, working with your fingertips or a pastry blender, cut and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly.
Pour the egg, cream, zest and raspberries over the dry ingredients and stir with a fork just until the dough, which will be wet and sticky, comes together. Still in the bowl, 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 airtight. 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.
Yield: 12 small or 6 large scones
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