What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?
In 2010, I made xmas photo. In 2011, I made metaphorical things—that were intentionally symbolic of relationships and history. In 2012, I made ice cream. In 2013, I made design. In 2014, I made “my room”. In 2015, I made the last line of Ice Cream Travel Guide, literally. In 2016, I made my annual holiday video. In 2017, I made another annual holiday video.
Yes, I did make another holiday video. Which was an one-year-delayed reaction to my uncle’s comment during Thanksgiving in 2017 about kneeling in the NFL. “Don’t you think that employees should be fired if they don’t listen to their boss?” he said.
It’s very likely that I said something that rejected his answer. It’s also very likely that my mom being who she is probably interrupted with an obtuse topic, distracting me from answering. But it’s also very true that I held my displeasure. That is, until my aunt suggested to the entire family that we share a video / slideshow about our life in the past year.
But what did I make? It’s a mundane answer for this entry. I don’t want to answer making design. But rather the latest, always, it was making food. Specifically tartine-like scones.
For the last 5 years, ever since a moment of inspiration during a Halloween book club, I have been falling back to the biscuits idea as a way to make something homemade, but also tasty.
Because Chris insisted on buying the 2 lb bag of cranberries from Costco for my Thanksgiving cranberry ice cream, I had too much cranberries. Yet, what could I do with them? After some brainstorming (keeping in mind with my ample cupboard of ingredients and past skills), I fell back to the idea of biscuits. Particularly scones.
The last time I had made scones was a slightly disastrous attempt at making fancy scones from a fancy cookbook. Many recipes don’t mention certain techniques like cubing the butter or creaming the butter. Instead, it makes assumptions that the baker knows.
Because I am self-taught, I know absolutely nothing.
And the cookbooks that I love? Or even the recipe blogs? Are the ones imbued with the sensibility of a home cook.
And I have found my perfect recipe. One that has been a cookbook that I have owned for more than 10 years. The Tartine Cookbook. Specifically the recipe for buttermilk scones (usually mixed with berries).
I made it for myself 2 weeks ago, sharing it with nobody except for Chris and myself. I had one everyday on the way to work.
I even had trouble eating my coworker’s scone when she made it for tea time.
Then as a present for my sister, I made buttermilk scones with blueberries. Dashed with Hawaiian sugar with lilikoi (passionfruit) infused sugar mixed with bits of lemongrass.
Although I probably shouldn’t use my (warm hands), I enjoy the process of mixing all the dry ingredients together (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, sugar). Then mixing the dry ingredients with the butter, making sure that pieces are only as big as a pea. So I push and rub with my fingers until the mixture resembles a coarse grainy result. It takes me at least 30 minutes to do it, but I find it meditative. Then after that, I pour in the buttermilk, mixing it with a spoon until the dough holds generally together. Then pulling it out to a working surface, I mold it into a rectangle, cutting it into triangles.
Then very important! Freeze! Overnight so that the dought can get that crackly texture.
Before baking, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake at 400° for at least 20 minutes. Or at least golden brown. For some reason, I don’t know how to estimate this correctly since the recipe doesn’t give instructions on how to extend the time if the dough is frozen.
Always fantastic results.
I hope to make this for the new year’s brunch!
If nobody eats it, I will eat it every day. Perhaps this will be a thing. A Sunday bake. For the every day of the week.