Whole Grain Herbed Tomato Scones
A half-pint of buttermilk and a handful of fresh basil were on their way towards an untimely end. They begged to be used before turning sour and brown. They needed attention. They yearned to be baked into something…and a bag of sun-dried tomatoes, sitting in the darkest corner of my pantry, eagerly asked to join in. It was meant to be, I tell you. Serendipitous. One stick of butter was left in my fridge, just what I needed for a batch of scones. There was still some emmer flour leftover from my Farro Focaccia recipe. All the birdies lined up in a neat little row. I knew this was going to be good before I even began.
Sometimes the best recipes come about when I’m trying to empty the contents of my refrigerator. I hate wasting food, so I take what I need to use up and craft it into something edible (hopefully). It forces creativity. It pushes me to try something new. And often it culminates in something I call culinary magic. So next time you’re in the kitchen, push yourself. Throw some ingredients together. You might just come up with something as scrumptious as these scones.
The sweet, chewy little nuggets of sun-dried tomatoes in these scones are the real treat. I bought them at the Ferry Terminal Farmers Market in San Francisco back in October. I’m not even a big tomato fan, but these little jewels called out to me. They even had a name! Juliette. I knew I would find a use for them someday. They may have waited around for 8 months, slowly getting pushed further back on the shelf, but I hadn’t forgotten them. They just needed to wait for their moment, when they could really shine, when their sun-sweetened bits would lend the perfect note to salty, crumbly dough and aromatic herbs.
I can not rave highly enough about this emmer flour. The caramel color, the mocha-like fragrance, the incredibly crumbly and delicate texture. I really urge you to buy some and try it in your muffins, scones, cookies and breads. It’s unique and interesting without being weird. Besides, emmer has been around a heck of a long time and deserves to be preserved, not thrown aside for it’s fine-but-boring modern wheat cousins.
Whole Grain Herbed Tomato Scones
© Copyright 2011 Carly Sullivan, Tart to Heart
Yield: around 12 scones, depending on the size
- 1 1/2 cups emmer flour
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (if you don’t have emmer, use 2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed and very cold
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (dry-packed, not packed in oil), chopped
- about 1/2 cup or one handful fresh basil, chopped
- 2 Tbsp fresh chives, chopped
- 1 cup buttermilk, cold
- 1/4 cup or so freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a sheet pan and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Add the cold pieces of butter and use your fingers to rub the butter into the dry ingredients to form pea-sized pieces throughout the mixture.
- Add the tomatoes, basil, and chives and toss with your fingers to combine. Add half of the buttermilk and use your fingertips to gently incorporate it into the dough. Add more buttermilk as needed until the dough holds together but isn’t sticky.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and form into a circle about 3/4-inch thick. Either cut the dough into wedges or use a cookie cutter to cut rounds, making sure to press straight down without twisting the cutter (twisting will seal the edges and prevent the scone from rising properly). Reform any scraps and cut until all the dough is used.
- Place on the prepared sheet tray. Brush the tops of the scones lightly with buttermilk and top with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
- Bake until golden and the cheese has melted, about 15 minutes. Let cool just enough so you don’t burn your fingers/mouth, then gobble up while still warm, perhaps with a smear of butter for good measure, and enjoy!