There’s not much in this world that says welcome to guests like a plate of scones fresh from the oven.
Served on their own, with butter, they make an informal tea into a special event.
Topped or filled and arranged on a platter, they dress up a party buffet.
And, really, of all the things you do for guests, these are not that hard to make.
With this recipe, walnuts and thyme add a distinctive holiday flavour to these fluffy, buttery scones. The dough can be prepared a day ahead and kept in the refrigerator.
All you have to do is pop them in the oven when your guests arrive and serve with your favourite fillings or toppings.
500 ml (2 cups) all-purpose flour (approx)
175 ml (3/4 cup) walnuts, finely chopped
30 ml (2 tbsp) granulated sugar
15 ml (1 tbsp) baking powder
5 ml (1 tsp) salt
2 ml (1/2 tsp) dried thyme
2 ml (1/2 tsp) ground black pepper
125 g (1/4 lb) frozen butter (1 stick)
250 ml (1 cup) whole milk
Finely chopped walnuts, for garnish
Preheat oven to 190 C (375 F).
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, walnuts, sugar, baking powder, salt, thyme and pepper.
Using a coarse cheese grater, grate frozen butter directly into dry ingredients, stirring occasionally to prevent butter from sticking together.
Pour milk into mixture and stir gently with a wooden spoon until mixture just comes together to form dough. Turn dough over a few times to gather up any remaining bits of flour. Dough should not be sticky. If it is, add a bit more flour.
Transfer dough to a floured cutting board and divide into 4 equal pieces. Working quickly, using your hands, shape each piece into a round flat disk, about 2 cm (3/4 inch) thick. Cut each disk into 8 even-sized wedges. Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush tops with milk. Sprinkle with finely chopped walnuts.
Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool slightly. Gently pull tops off the scones or cut horizontally. Fill with desired fillings or top each half with desired toppings.
Makes 32 scones.
Cranberry and Brie
Fill or top scones with a dollop of cranberry sauce, thinly sliced brie and fresh watercress or baby arugula.
Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese
Fill or top scones with room-temperature cream cheese, finely chopped red onion or finely chopped cherry tomato, thinly sliced smoked salmon and a sprig of fresh dill.
Apple, Sage and Goat Cheese Filling
Fill or top scones with thinly sliced green apple (skin on, dipped in lemon juice to prevent browning), softened goat cheese and a fresh sage leaf.
Source: California Walnuts, walnutinfo.com