Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Oatmeal Buttermilk Breakfast Scones with Cranberry and Pistachio

Home is where you make it


I started making these breakfast scones shortly after our sons were born.

I wanted to begin Christmas morning on a memorable note and create a tradition that we could all look forward to year after year.

Since then, we've added bits and pieces to our culinary repertoire, some have dropped off and some have endured, including these little rustic country-style biscuits that stand out in my mind as one of our first celebratory rituals. I can still picture our boys in their younger years licking their lips with jam covered cheeks.

I remember their footsteps on those cold Christmas mornings, the thunder of tiny feet rushing along the old wood floors to climb into bed with mom and dad. The sun not yet up, the streets lit with snow.  A series of frenzied hugs full of giggles and jumps, arms flung, legs tangled, one more snuggle underneath the warmth sheets. One more chance to hold the fleeting moment.

The one (and only) time I ever made pajamas... 
for my boys at Christmas time
my youngest is visibly impressed with his bell-bottom version ;-)

It's hard to believe these little tigers are now burgeoning young men. One almost 16 (I have no idea how that happened) and the other, 13.

It will be a different Christmas for us this year; we are a long way from where we started but that is not to say that we are not home.

We will carry our families in our hearts and celebrate our traditions with the same spirit and gratefulness as always.

Today I'm sharing a little piece of that tradition with you. Since everyone has a different idea of what a scone or biscuit is, (I can just hear my British friend Charles chiming in now), I will describe these scones as very subtly sweet, relatively dense and coarsely textured owing largely to the oatmeal. They are full-bodied and complex. If you are looking for a high-rise, light, airy, fluffy and puffy biscuit, these are not your morning glory.

Some of our favorite toppings include sharp cheese and hot pepper jelly as well as ricotta and various types of jam.  These scones are also delicious any other time of day, of course, but we especially delight in them in the morning to kick-off our holiday festivities.

I hope you will enjoy these scones if you give them a try sometime along with your own favourite holiday traditions.

Be sure to read the Nutrition and Cooking Notes for best results and, to my family, friends and supporters in Canada, please keep those beautiful snow-covered pictures coming!

Oatmeal Buttermilk Breakfast Scones with Cranberry and Pistachio

Oatmeal Buttermilk Breakfast Scones with Cranberry and Pistachio
  • 1 + 3/4 cups (420 mL) spelt flour (or flour of choice)
  • 2 cups (500 mL) 100% pure rolled oats
  • 4 Tbsp (60 mL) demerara sugar, substitute brown sugar
  • 2 + 1/2 tsp (12.5 mL) baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) baking soda
  • 12 Tbsp (3/4 cup/170 grams) chilled coconut oil or old fashioned butter, cut into piece
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) buttermilk + a touch for brushing tops of scones
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) orange zest
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) dried cranberries + handful for decorating top of dough
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) pistachios, shelled and chopped + another pinch for decorating top of dough

Makes about 16-18 biscuits

Nutrition and Cooking Notes:
  1. You can experiment with different flours of choice here to accompany the oats including gluten free grains. 
  2. Make Ahead Option: I generally freeze the scones (cut into shape but unbaked) in an airtight container or ziploc bag a week or two before Christmas.  Simply defrost in fridge overnight and bake in the morning.  The scones are best eaten shortly after they are baked (and the same day).
  3. If you are accustomed to a sweeter scone, I recommend sprinkling the tops of the scones with a dusting of sugar before baking -- you will get more taste this way without driving up the sugar level significantly (same applies to salting at the end of cooking rather than the whole way through a recipe).
  4. I cannot emphasize enough how different oven temperatures will create different cooking times for these scones.  My former gas stove at home would easily tolerate 400 F for 18-20 minutes for these scones.  That temperature in the oven I'm using here fried my biscuits on the first run through :(.  I had to go with 375 F,  position the rack in the middle of the oven and the biscuits were done in about 10-12 minutes.  If you know your oven to be hotter than the average, please be aware of this.
  5. I added the bulk of the cranberry and pistachio to the food processor (rather than mixing them in following) as an experiment and it created a great effect -- the dough was speckled with little bits of cranberry which I thought was both visually appealing and festive. I then added just a few larger pieces of cranberry and pistachio to the top of the dough surface (since we also like chunky pieces).  If you prefer to keep everything chunky, simply add the cranberry and pistachio following the processor part (described below).

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. 
  2. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a blender/food processor and pulse until combined. 
  3. Add 1/2 cup cranberries, 1/3 cup pistachio and the coconut oil or butter and pulse until coarse meal forms. Transfer to a large bowl. (Note: the blender/food processor will grind your fruit/nuts into tiny bits. If you prefer to keep your cranberries/pistachios larger sized, simply add to 'dry' ingredient bowl following the processing part).
  4. In a separate smaller bowl, combine: buttermilk, egg, orange zest and vanilla, whisking to combine.
  5. Add wet ingredients to 'dry' ingredients and mix with a fork just until dough forms -- do not overmix. If the dough is too wet or too dry simply add a small amount of flour/oatmeal or buttermilk as required (it's helpful to have some extra flour/oatmeal as well as buttermilk beside you in case you need to make adjustments).
  6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead four or five times. Spread and pat the dough out into a 3/4-inch thick (approximate) round. 
  7. Cut out as many scones as possible using a 2 + 1/4-inch (or so) cookie cutter (a small glass or inverted wine glass will work just fine). 
  8. Gather scraps, reshape, and cut out more scones. 
  9. Transfer scones to a gently floured baking sheet/s and brush tops with buttermilk and sprinkle of sugar, if desired.
  10. Bake scones until just golden, about 12-18 minutes, in the middle of the oven  (watch carefully as oven temperatures will vary - see notes above).
  11. Allow scones to cool slightly before relishing! 

© Inspired Edibles

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  1. Oh, what a beautiful post Kelly! I am touched by your words and admire your bravery... it is not easy pulling up roots and leaving everything you know and love. You seem to be flowing through it with grace. I agree with you, ultimately we have the power to recreate our homes anywhere. That photo of your boys is just priceless. So adorable (your youngest's expression - lol!) -- those are fabulous looking pj's and I would personally love that bell bottom finish :). What a great mom you are! Your scones are a delight (beautiful photos as usual) and perfect way to start the day. I'm wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas in your new home. Enjoy your traditions and your breakfast scones!

  2. I just love this post! Christmas is my absolute favourite time of year, and I feel like my parents put in special effort to make memories and traditions like this with me and my brother when we were kids. Special Christmas breakfasts, and stories, yet unfortunately no super stylish homemade pajamas. :-P

    I love the beautiful green and red flecks throughout these scones...festive and yummy!! Very deserving of the coveted Christmas Breakfast title.

  3. A beautifully written post, kelly. Those breakfast scones are marvelous..I love their grainy and rustic look and I am very sure that they are very delicious.

  4. Christmas memories....there's nothing better. Beautiful post.

  5. Sissi_Withaglass.comDecember 20, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    Gorgeous scones! I am in love with your meticulous professional presentation. I would have problems choosing between this sweet version and the hot pepper & sharp cheese one... I definitely must try baking them one day. I would see them not only for breakfast but at any time of the day (I imagine they would be great as my 5pm snack). Your sons look so wise on this photo! Thank you for sharing your family memories with us. Merry Christmas, Kelly! I am sure the difference of climate will not change anything and maybe make this first Christmas in the US even better than ever!

  6. I've started writing a comment a couple of times, erased it all, went back, same thing happened. This phase you are going through echoes a lot with my own life of decades ago, except for the fact that I did not have kids, and on my second departure from Brazil I started that adventure all by myself.

    Well, this was a beautiful post and you managed to pass very strong emotions through your words....

    and the great recipe was sure a bonus....\

    Happy Holidays for you and your beautiful family!

  7. Such a touching post Kelly - I had no idea your kids were so "old"... I'd always imagine them in my head as being like... I dunno... 7 and 10. Of course, you have, I'm sure, made numerous comments before about them which would have set the record straight. They look so cute in their pyjamas :D. I don't think my mother ever made me pyjamas... she's not the most "craftiest" person ever... she knitted a top for WIlliam and the body part was way too short, and the arms were about twice as long as his actual arms, bless her :D.

  8. I was thinking the same thing as Charles about the age of your boys Kelly, since you do not look much older than a teenager yourself!! :)

  9. Merry Christmas Kelly! I'm sure it is quite strange to be celebrating the holidays in a very new place, but you're right - home is where you make it and it sounds like you guys are doing just fine. :) I remember our first Christmas at our new house - it felt strange, but keeping up the traditions sure made it home much more quickly. Your scones sound delicious. I'm so behind on my baking right now though. Oye! I think we'll be giving them a try in the New Year. I know the kids would like the flavor combo - Miss A the cranberries, and Mr. N the pistachios. Have a great Christmas Kelly!!! Many hugs and much love. :)

  10. Haha, I quite liked the bell-bottoms too! (though I think it was a complete accident; not sure I could recreate it if I tried :) -- it's always a strange experience looking back on the photos and realizing just how much things have changed and how quickly time passes.... thank you Elizabeth for your thoughtful comments and support this year -- you have been a great source of encouragement in all ways. Wishing you a beautiful Christmas too! xo

  11. The red flecks delighted me too -- normally, I like chunky bits but the effect was really cool and I decided to keep it (plus I added back some pieces, so I feel I got the best of both :).

    I'm happy to hear about the Christmas memories your parents created for you and your brother KoKo -- it ends up being a gift that all of us can cherish over the years. I hope you have a beautiful holiday and an even better new year. I will be thinking of you!!

  12. Thanks so much Angie -- I hope you have a beautiful holiday and take some time to rest and rejuvenate.

  13. Sandra, your note brought tears to my eyes... thank you for all your kind words. Knowing that you have two young sons makes me especially emotional -- it's like reliving the memories stage by stage. I hope you have a blessed Christmas -- thank you for all of your support and sisterhood this year; it's such a gift for me to have connected with you and your beautiful boys - xo

  14. Thanks Eliot! Merry Christmas to you.

  15. Ah, thank you Sissi, I struggle with my set-up here -- I blog from our little balcony but it is shaded by a canopy of trees that not only blocks the light but creates some bizarre shadows so I'm always trying to fiddle with that to compensate. I'll get it sorted out hopefully one day -- for now, I'm just happy you are enjoying some of the photos/presentations.

    Yes, you bet, the scones are delicious any time of day! (though best eaten the day the are baked) -- they don't get any better with age :).

    Merry Christmas Sissi! I hope you have a beautiful holiday -- I'll be thinking of you as we enjoy your chocolate covered prunes :O) -- xo

  16. Thanks so much Sally -- sometimes the emotions take over and it makes it difficult for me to put anything but gibberish into words... (especially when I see how time has past by with a flash of an eye). I have to pull back a bit and let a piece of the story slowly leak out lest I burst a valve :). Thank you for your kind words and personal memories. I also want to thank you for all your support this year which makes this project a whole lot more fun! Warm hugs to you and your furry friends too please whom I think of often with a big smile. Enjoy the holidays! xox.

  17. Charles, you always manage to make me smile (actually, burst out laughing more often than not :) -- the visual of your mom's knitted top... I can relate in more ways than you can imagine and yes, bless all moms and dads who do their very best to create special, loving memories for all of us. I can't believe my boys are teenagers either -- a little denial never hurt, right? Merry Christmas Charles! You're totally rockin' it on the baking scene over at Five Euro these days... yum!

  18. Well, let me just start by saying that you are my new best friend Elizabeth (haha!!) -- I appreciate your kindness but can assure you that I am as old as Moses :).

  19. Merry Christmas to you as well Kristy -- I hope you enjoy all the precious moments with your beautiful family - xo.


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