So many childhood details have slipped my mind over the years. Clearly, I’m not an old bag or anything, but it’s obviously hard to keep all these details inside one tiny little noggin’. I do however, remember a lot – some things are more relevant than others. I remember my sister (she is 12 years older than I) dressing me up in all of her’s or mom’s outfits. I felt like a supermodel wearing “fancy” clothes despite them dragging the floor and in all honesty, making a little 7 year old look rather frumpy. I also remember the swing set out back, amidst all the dog poo, that was adjacent to the Weeping Willow tree. We’d swing on that thing till the sun went down and the fireflies flittered about, or until the meatloaf was ready.
One of my favorite memories is about breakfast. My parents were in no way shape or form gourmet chefs – our suppers (Southern for dinner) were fairly consistent from week to week (meatloaf, fried chicken, etc) and our breakfasts were no exception. But I remember them, not because of what type of food was served or what cooking technique was used, but because of the memories those breakfasts evoked: memories of sleepovers and of waking up at noon to a friend at my side and fresh-cooked bacon wafting into the room, despite the blanket placed under the door to muffle the smell of smoke that we just swore our parents never noticed.
My dad methodically cooked our first meal of the day every Saturday & Sunday morning. Like me, he loved to sleep in on the weekends, and so breakfast was served around 10-11. Perfect for me and my friends, waking up closer to noon. Occasionally some scrambled eggs would pop up on the menu, but most days all we craved was the samich: plain white bread (no, none of the whole-grain or wheat breads we all eat today), a piece or two of American cheese (yes, the packaged Kraft slices), a pan-fried egg w/ extra pepper, and bacon. I can’t explain it. Those sandwiches – there was something about them that was so simple, but so good and so perfect at the same time.
My dad fussed at me once when he visited because I bought the wrong bread; he looked at me and said, “what’s this?”. I won’t tell you what he said when he saw that I’d also purchased turkey bacon.
My dad is really swell. He doesn’t make me breakfast every morning like he used to, but now he calls me every week. Every Sunday at 4:50 PM, which is right before 6 for him and prior to his supper-fixin’, my phone rings without fail. I try to keep my phone out, but I must admit I don’t get to it, or hear it, every week. I should be better about it – I know in a weird way it’s the highlight of his week. And I should be better. I will. He called once when I was smack dab in the middle of making these here scones. And I’d missed his call the week before and knew I just had to pick up, despite my urge to let it ring and save my butter from becoming less-than-chilled.
He said the usual: “Hey Hev, whatcha doin’?”. “Hey pop. I’m makin’ scones”. “What? Sconies? What’s that?!”. “No – scoooooones. They’re like biscuits, but less flaky and a tad bit sweeter”. “Never heard of em’. They don’t sound too good to me”.
I didn’t tell you my dad is the king of the Picky Eating Kingdom. He is a thoroughbred Southern man who hates collards and everything else that’s green. He even hates our green wall in our living room. He eats fried eggs & potatoes, BBQ’d and fried chicken, and rare steak with A1 and Heinz 57. He does not experiment with food. At all.
So don’t listen to him when he sasses the ‘sconies’. Especially these sconies. I’ve made scones a couple of times before and they truly are divine. The recipe below is pretty standard and works every time to produce that perfectly just-flaky, just-sweet, just-crumby vibe. [But on the real - they are nothing compared to biscuits.] I’m sorry for sharing these when strawberry season is on the out – I’m sure you can substitute some other in-season berries and if you insist, frozen strawberries. Shoot, you may have frozen some from early Summer anyway. Me? I made a whole batch of these here scones, took out two, and (I swear) froze the rest. I’ve been thinking about them every since, and I’m taking them out this weekend for the in-laws’ visit. I can’t wait.
Adapted from Adventures in Shaw; makes ~12
1 cup strawberries, hulled and small diced
3 cups AP flour (oops. I only had 1, so I used that, 1 cup bread flour, and 1 cup cake flour)
1 T baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 cup sugar, plus more for dusting
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 sticks butter, cubed and chilled
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg, optional, for eggwash
Preheat to 400 F and line baking sheet w/ parchment paper.
Sift dry ingredients into mixing bowl (include sugar, even though it’s a “wet” ingredient). Add butter and work into dry (with hands, pastry blender, two knives, or food processor) until mixture is crumbly, but butter is pea-sized or a bit smaller. Dry off strawberries and fold into mixture, gently. Add buttermilk and stir gently until a dense dough is formed.
Transfer to floured surface and knead (a tiny bit) until dough is uniformed. Roll out dough, with hands, until it’s about an inch thick. Cut dough however you want (I like to cut like pizza but leave it together somewhat; you can cut with cookie cutter too in traditional circles). If dough is warm and butter appears to have melted, put the dough in the fridge or freezer to cool the dough & butter before baking, otherwise the butter will sorta melt out. You want it cold!! Before baking, beat egg in small dish and brush top with egg wash. You can also use milk for a less shiny coat. Sprinkle with a bit of sugar. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.