Emma, russian dolls, and oat scones

The charming and talented Emma P. is visiting from Russia…via Germany…via Appleton WI… We don’t have much to do out here in the sticks, but who needs stuff to do when there’s about a year’s worth of catching up at hand?* Long walks in the woods, lots of baking, and fantastic stories about daily life in Moscow are definitely winning out over playing tour guide.**

This morning, in celebration of it being Saturday and the likelihood of rain, I threw together my favorite scone recipe.*** This is a great one, because you can use it as a palate for anything you want to throw into them. Dried or fresh fruit, maple syrup, whatever.

Deciding to split a final scone, sipping coffee, and talking about knitting needles and the possibility of Antarctica, she suddenly said, “Oh! Your present!” And gave me a set of Matryushka. They are colorful, and perfect company for a tea party.

* Most importantly, “What are you reading these days???” She: Stendhal for fun. Me: Descartes for because-I-have-to…

** Although, we did visit the MLK Jr. national historic cite, which is probably the best tourist attraction in Atlanta. In a couple of hours, you can get a pretty dense history of the civil rights movement nationwide. It was also great going with Emma because she started tearing up at the same places I always do. Seriously, this place is no joke, there’s this one video where John Lewis talks about the Bloody Sunday march in Montgomery and after that I basically spend the rest of the exhibit choking back sobs until the footage of MLK’s funeral where I have to duck into the bathroom.

*** Credit goes to Karen, whose recipes I always enjoy!

Oat Scones:

– Preheat oven to 425f. Get out a baking sheet and grease it if you’d like. (I recommend doing this.)

– Combine 1 cup oats, 1 ½ cups all purpose flour, 3 tbsp brown sugar (more if you like – I heap the sugar), 2 tsp baking powder, and ½ tsp salt.

– After that, you can take 7 tbsp butter, and cut it into pieces, drop it into the dry ingredients, and cut it in, with a pastry cutter or two knifes.

– In a small bowl, beat together 1 egg and ½ cup milk and mix them into all that other stuff.

– If you want to add a cup of other ingredients like nuts or dried fruit, then you can do that now. I used ½ cup chopped crystalized ginger and ½ cup dried cranberries.

– Spread some oats on a cutting board, and turn out the dough upon it. Shape it into a circle (maybe like 8” in diameter) and at this point I stick the whole thing in the freezer for 5 minutes.

– By the way, this is going to be a sticky dough. While your patting it into a circle, you’ll get dough all over your hands and be like ‘What’s going on? This is gross. Ew. Butter all over my hands.’ That’s fine. Calm down, you can wash your hands.

– Cut the circle into 8 triangles and place them (oat side up) onto the baking sheet. I like to drizzle with honey, and slick an egg wash glaze on them (just an egg and a bit of milk, beaten together and painted on with a pastry brush…)

-Put in the oven for 15-18 minutes. (If you’re me, you can take this opportunity to test out the new fire alarms but you can just as easily skip this step. Did I mention that it’s totally awesome to grease the baking sheet and to not let oats just fall off into the stove’s not adequately ventilated abyss?)

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