Scones & Tea (for me)

Scones & Tea (for me)

39 weeks. It can’t be negated, I’m now really in the final spurt of this pregnancy. Due date: any minute. Apart from a brief stint to the hospital this week – false alarm (I was experiencing contractions – and the pain didn’t leave for a couple of hours until it completely vanished again) – I still feel rather good; great, in fact. Well, and apart from the fact that the nights are now spent envisioning and imagining life as a family of four. Soon, very soon! But until then, I’m still up and, yes, even working to get some projects finalized and content ready for the next couple of weeks to come. And cramming in the odd special hour of exclusive playtime and exploring with my favorite little sidekick.

Confession: What I did have too little of these past few weeks was me-time (note: yes *coughcough*, I know, you were right all along, hubbie). Let’s just say it’s still busy around this house until the very end, that is until this little bébé makes an appearance. Baby R’s room is 99% ready. Tiny clothes are washed and sorted. Ready when you are, little one. And this mama is keeping herself busy… And so I’ve been especially grateful for some “forced” – if you want – me-time. Thanks to SPECIAL.T who provided me with their latest coup (read: teas, teas and more lovely teas), which meant me-time and tea-time, yes! What better way to unwind (if only for half an hour or so) than with tea… and scones? Always a winner in my book.

Remember when SPECIAL.T launched their super cool collab with KUSMI TEA earlier this year? They just added two more flavors and both are lovely (unsurprisingly). Prince Vladimir (what a big name!) is a very fragrant black tea blend, with citrusy notes and vanilla. It’s spicy and warm, perfect for the current weather situation (spooky fall, when I look out the window) and so comforting! Ideal tea choice for a proper, traditional 5 o’clock tea ceremony. Classic enough (it reminds me a bit of an Earl Grey) yet with some unexpected twists for those who like to switch things up. And the Aqua Rosa is a fruity blend with hibiscus and blackberries and that certain “mysteriousness” of an Arab tea blend. The deep red tint makes for a fun drink for kids, also. And no doubt I will be drinking this tea all day long once baby R is here. Hint: it also tastes good consumed cold, which, hands down, is a good trait in a tea if you’re a mama to a newborn… And because it’s too fun a coincidence not to share this information with you here and now (spoiler alert for all those who prefer a surprise): baby will be called… – drum roll, please! – …Rosa! So, serendipity or fate, this tea and I are basically meant to be besties.

Okay and because why not, I also made a batch of scones, just for me, myself and I and to celebrate the occasion (last week of pregnancy, hormonal high, excitement in the air). I once was really good at whipping up scones in a jiffy and by heart. But I admit, it has been a while since my last batch (too long, really), and so I had to look up my own recipe(s), ha! And I tested and documented a lot of scones recipes in my wake. Over 15 or so blog posts revolve around the quest of The Perfect Scone, would you believe it? Well, turns out they’re still as simple to make as I remember, although you do have to know a couple of tricks to receive those perfectly flaky and buttery, fluffy scones which we are all after. All or nothing, right? The main trick being: the butter needs to be – and stay! – as cold as possible while processing the dough. The cold butter makes sure the scones have a nice, crusty flake later. Yumyumyum!

So here goes everything; my best scones recipe revived for you and the occasion of some pre-baby, very due date-y kind of me-time, and for the sake of celebrating all the lovely things in life.

Oh, and a short note on the look of the scones: Before you might end up scones-shaming (as if you would ever, but just so we’re on the same page), think twice! I know they aren’t pretty, but that isn’t the point. The point is: scones don’t have to be pretty, they have to be buttery, light and very, very flakey. So please don’t judge them by their looks. It’s the “inside” that matters, after all, right?

And a proud PS: One of my proudest mama moments ever has been when E woke up from her nap the other day, spotting the freshly baked scones (what remained of them… even I can’t finish 9 in one sitting), sitting neatly on the table – and demanded to have one. She gobbled it up, with clotted cream and apricot jam! And made “hmmm” and “njaaam” sounds as she went. That’s my girl right there. Oh, bless her little soul.

Flaky, buttery scones
Recipe adapted from girl versus dough

100 g butter, cold
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk, cold

Preheat the oven to 200 C (note: I feel that with our new oven, 200 is enough, although I did bake them at 220) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a box grater to grate cold butter into a small bowl. Place the bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes or until used. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt and baking powder together until well combined. Add grated, frozen butter and, using a pastry blender or 2 knives, “cut in” the butter until the mixture is crumbly and meal-like. Remember: try to keep the butter as cold as possible, which means working quickly and resist from using your hands, which would add too much warmth. Pour in the cold buttermilk and stir mixture with a wooden spoon just until a dough forms. Not much processing needed, certainly no kneading!

Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface; very gently pat into a rough ball. Use a sharp knife or bench scraper to cut dough in half. Place one half on top of the other, and very gently press halves together, shaping into a rough ball again. Repeat 3 times. Note: the “folding” adds nice layers of flakiness. Not necessarily beautiful but so good for the taste, promised.

Gently press dough into a circle of about 2-3 cm thickness. With a round cutter, cut out circles. No need to look perfect. Transfer the circles to a plate and put in the freezer for at least 10 minutes to re-chill dough. Transfer the scones directly from freezer to oven and bake biscuits 10 to 12 minutes or until golden and fluffy. Serve warm with clotted cream and marmalade or jam.

Note on storage: No doubt, scones are best consumed the very minute they come out of the oven. But sometimes you have leftovers (it can happen). I also froze mine (3 precious leftover scones to be exact) to save them for a rainy and/or lonely day as a mama stuck at home with bébé. Once scones craving hits me, I’ll just let them defrost a little before giving them a good “toast” in the oven to reheat and revive them before enjoying.

Thank you SPECIAL.T for sponsoring this post.

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