Wednesday, August 13, 2014

NORTH COUNTRY BLUES - revised

It's that time of year for the blues - no, not cabin fever blues, like the middle of winter.  It's the blueberry season in Northern Michigan.

I'm not a picker myself, but I've been blessed with friends and family who are, and who share a little of the North Country Blues with me.

A few of my favorite things to do with blueberries are blueberry pancakes, blueberry scones, and blueberry muffins.  When you add fresh lemon zest and lemon juice, any of these three baked favorites become even more delightful.

Perhaps you've only had the blueberries you can buy in a store.  I'm telling you, they are not as good and sweet as wild berries, and for some reason are bigger than the fresh ones.

I love the colors blue and yellow together, so blueberry and lemon - that's what I baked this week.  Thank you to Jan, and Nancy and Vi for bringing me some fresh berries.

This recipe for Cranberry-orange scones is from Tea Time Magazine, that I've used over and over, with my own variations, this time, Blueberry-lemon scones.

Sift into large bowl: 2 cups all purpose unbleached flour; 1/2 cup white sugar; 1 tablespoon baking powder; 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Cut in 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold butter, not oleo or spread. Mix with pastry blender, two knives or your hands until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add 1 cup fresh blueberries. Set aside. (See alternative method below)
Beat together with mixer or blender, 6 tablespoons of milk (could be cream or half & half), 1 beaten egg, and zest from 1 lemon (or 1 tablespoon dry lemon zest). Add to flour mixture, stirring until just combined.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface (I use floured parchment paper), and knead gently a few times.  Roll dough into a circle, 3/4 inch thick, and slice into wedges, leaving circle in place.  Or cut with a 2 - 2 1/2 inch juice glass. Place on parchment paper or Sil-Pat mat on cookie sheet.  Brush with 1 beaten egg white and sprinkle with turbinado or white decorating sugar.  Bake 10 - 12 minutes at 425 degrees F.

If you want a sweet wholesome blueberry flavor, I would suggest folding the blueberries into the dough by the following method just before baking. The dough will also not be as dark blue as the scones pictured below.
Follow above recipe, mixing all ingredients (except blueberries) together, and turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, kneading gently 3 - 4 times. Using rolling pin, roll dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Scatter 1/2 of blueberries on half of dough.  Fold other half of dough over to enclose them.  Lightly roll dough again to 1/2-inch thickness. Repeat scattering, folding, and rolling with remaining 1/2 of blueberries.  
Roll the dough into a circle, slicing into wedges but leaving circle in place before baking. Or cut with juice glass into individual scones.  Brush with beaten egg white and top with sugar before baking as noted above.  

Whatever you're doing this week, make sure to take some time out for yourself.  Enjoy a cup of tea (Blackberry sage is delicious) and a blueberry scone!

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