As every cafe owner knows, the humble yet versatile standby, the scone, cannot be underrated when it comes to daily offerings. Stella makes several versions of this ever-popular baked treat: lemon, pumpkin-spice, blueberry, hazelnut whole wheat with maple glaze and even walnut fudge with a sweet chocolate glaze. She loves variety because it keeps her from becoming bored and/or lazy with her own business. Variety keeps the customers coming, too. They truly enjoy coming in to the cafe and viewing the specials on the chalk board so beautifully decorated by Savannah, and checking out the baskets of baking on the counter and in the covered, refrigerated case to the right of the till to see what might be new and different. Scones are not too sweet, not too rich and can be just filling enough for breakfast with coffee or tea, or perhaps a mid-morning snack to tide a person over until lunch.
Stella has just turned the closed sign to ‘open’ this Saturday morning, and soon after she does so Jeremy comes in with his two little ones, Olivia and baby Charlotte. Jeremy, unshaven and still a little sleepy, and dressed like he just took yesterday’s clothes off the floor and put them on his back takes the girls’ coats and hats off and puts them on a table. Olivia’s fine dark hair sticks straight up with the static and her pink cheeks match the point on her little snub nose. Charlotte has far less hair but her cheeks are also pink from the ride in the stroller against the October morning wind. Olivia asks to take off her shoes, but Jeremy says, “No love. Shoes on in the cafe.”
“Shoes on,” says Olivia to Charlotte. Charlotte smiles a two-tooth smile.
Jeremy brings the girls up to the counter and orders himself a large Americano. Olivia would like hot chocolate, please, and a cookie. “No, mommy wouldn’t like that,” muses Jeremy. “Not for breakfast. Are those scones? What kind are they?” he asks Savannah. “That one’s blueberry and that one’s white chocolate cranberry. “That sounds amazing,” says Jeremy gratefully. “We’ll have one of each, please.”
“Two” says Olivia, holding up three fingers.
“Daddy-daughter date?” asks Savannah.
“We’re letting Paula sleep in. Charlotte’s been up a lot lately, teething.”
“Poor baby,” says Stella from behind Savannah. “And poor mommy.” She follows Jeremy and the girls to their table, carrying the scones and drinks. “I remember those days.”
Charlotte, smiling away, is put in a high chair. Jeremy produces a teething biscuit and gives it to her. She grasps it uncertainly in her little hands and begins to go to work on it.
Olivia takes a sip of not-too-hot hot chocolate from a straw and a bite of blueberry scone. “Mmm!” she enthuses.
Jeremy gratefully takes a large swig of coffee and bites into the white chocolate cranberry scone. “So good, Stella, as always.”
“Well, I’m happy to oblige you and your sweeties here,” says Stella. “Where to after this, Olivia?”
“Libary it is,” says Jeremy. “After we kill some time at the park. The library doesn’t open for another hour.”
“Park!” says Olivia.
“When we’re finished our breakfast, okay?”
“Okay, Daddy. Affer bekfist.”
Charlotte keeps at her biscuit, gumming it to smithereens.
White Chocolate Cranberry Scones – adapted from Canadian Living Magazine
- 1 and 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 and 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoons each baking soda and salt
- 1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
- 1 cup buttermilk (or half yogurt, half milk)
- 1 egg
- 1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
- 3 oz white chocolate, chopped
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or dust with flour: set aside
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. (200 degrees C.)
In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In small bowl, whisk buttermilk with egg; add to flour mixture. Sprinkle with cranberries and chopped white chocolate; stir with fork to make soft dough.
With lightly floured hands, press dough into ball. On floured surface, knead dough gently 10 times. Pat out to 10 x 7 inch (25 x 18 cm) rectangle; trim edges to straighten if necessary. (Stella never does.)
Cut rectangle into 6 squares; cut each diagonally in half. Place on prepared pan. Bake in centre of oven until golden, 18-20 minutes. Transfer to rack; let cool. Drizzle with 2 oz melted white chocolate if desired, and let stand about an hour until set.