Mother's Day is tomorrow! I hope everyone has something special planned for their mamas, grandmas, aunts, cousins, and all the other special ladies that we would be lost without. If you're still unsure about what to do for this important holiday, or if, *gasp* you somehow forgot about it (shame on you!), don't worry. I have you covered. All you need are a few minutes of your precious day, some dried culinary lavender, a lot of butter, and some hot tea and you'll be in the clear for Mother's Day. You may end up being a bit covered in flour, but that'll be completely irrelevant once you have a taste of these lavender and lemon scones.
Scones are one of those treats that everyone just seems to love- I don't think I've ever met anyone who would turn down a buttery and flaky scone. They're simple to make and are a really wonderful treat to enjoy for breakfast, brunch, or afternoon tea. In honor of Mother's Day, I decided to keep these little scones nice and simple and dainty. I wanted them to be on the slightly sweet side and to have a pretty and delicate flavor. Lavender seemed to be the perfect solution- it's subtle, floral, pretty, and sophisticated...and soapy. This wasn't my first time cooking with culinary lavender, but it was the first time I was actually happy with the results of my lavender-infused confections. Last summer, I bought a big bag of culinary lavender at the farmer's market, with my little heart set on making a batch of rich and creamy lavender and earl gray ice cream. It sounds like a perfect flavor combination, but I miscalculated the amount of lavender I needed to use in the custard, and I ended up with a beautifully creamy and soapy tasting ice cream. It was an unfortunate failure that left me nervous about working with lavender again, but I knew that it would be the perfect flavor to use for my delicate little scones. Fortunately, like most dried herbs, lavender has a very long shelf life, so when I went back to that little brown satchel holding my dried lavender buds, they were as fragrant as the day I bought them so many months ago. Having a little restraint when mixing in the lavender proved to be the key to giving these scones a delightfully delicate and sophisticated flavor to them.
Scones are a fantastic option for a special breakfast of any kind, and I think they would be perfectly fitting for Mother's Day. Scones come together quickly and effortlessly, and because they can be shaped in advance, flash frozen, and then baked fresh straight from the freezer, they are an ideal option for brunch. Mom shouldn't have to make breakfast on Mother's Day, and since these scones can go straight from the freezer, onto a baking sheet, and into the oven, you won't even need to get a single item from your kitchen dirty. Breakfast will be ready and the kitchen will remain spotless. I know that this would probably be one of my mama's dream-come-true situations, since I'm constantly dirtying up her kitchen on weekends!
These scones might just be my favorite scones that I've made to date. The secret, I think, to making a batch of really good scones comes from knowing how to incorporate the butter into the dough. The butter should be cubed and chilled- I like to cut it up first and stick it in the fridge as I start pulling out all the other ingredients and set up, and only take it out of the fridge moments before I mix it in. The second trick is to cut it in by hand with a pastry blender. Once I stopped using my food processor to make pie dough and switched to using a pastry blender, I noticed how much flakier my pie crusts were, and the same goes for scones. You want to cut in the butter with a pastry blender until all of the butter is covered in flour and is the size of small peas, with a few larger chunks scattered here and there. After that, try to work as quickly as you can to shape the scones so that the butter isn't overworked. Once you have that technique down, scones are really a cinch to make. To flash freeze the scones, simply arrange them on a baking sheet once they have been shaped and place in the freezer until they are completely frozen. Place the frozen scones in a ziploc bag, and when you're ready to bake them, simply arrange them on a baking sheet, brush with a little buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar and bake. The scones will only take a few moments longer in the oven.
I was so happy with the way these scones turned out; they were wonderful little things! They had lots of buttery, flaky layers beneath a crisp sweet golden brown top, and had a beautiful flavor. The lavender was subtle, but you could definitely pick up on its floral undertones, and they paired so nicely with the lemon zest in the scones. I served these lemon scones with a little dollop of lemon curd, which really brightened up the scones even further. These scones would be perfect with a hot cup of coffee or tea, and are a lovely way to show your mama that you care. My mom loved these scones and they were a big hit at my house. Something as simple as a batch of tasty scones is all it takes to make an ordinary Sunday breakfast into something a little more special. To all the lovely moms out there, I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day, you all deserve it! And to my mom, thanks for being such an incredible human being. I may leave your kitchen a little less than spotless at times and don't always take your advice on the first shot, but thank you for being patient with me. I can't thank you enough for all that you've taught me in the past 22 years! You really are the best! Happy Mother's Day!
Lavender and Lemon Scones
recipe from Epicurious
3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon dried culinary lavender
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup (1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons granulated or sanding sugar, for sprinkling
lemon curd, for serving (optional)
Begin by preheating the oven to 425 degrees F, and positioning your oven racks to the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, baking powder, lavender, salt, and baking soda. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the chilled butter until it resembles the size of peas. You don't want to completely lose sight of the butter- you should still be able to see it!
In a large measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together 1 cup of buttermilk, the lemon zest, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture, and stir with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.
Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly floured work surface; quickly knead the dough until a compact dough forms. Pat the dough into a 10" x 6" rectangle. With a sharp knife, cut the dough in half lengthwise, and then cut each half into four squares. Cut each square on a diagonal to form two triangles. Transfer the scones to the prepared baking sheets. Brush with the remaining buttermilk, and sprinkle the tops with the remaining sugar.
Bake the scones until the tops are golden brown, about 15-17 minutes. Transfer the scones to a wire rack to cool slightly. The scones can be enjoyed warm, or served at room temperature with lemon curd. Enjoy!
Makes 16 scones