Rhubarb lavender buttermilk scones

Yield: 12-14 scones

Ingredients

10 oz. rhubarb, diced large (about a quarter-inch)

3 T granulated sugar

½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped from the pod

2 t dried lavender buds

540 g / 4 ½ c all-purpose flour

1 T baking powder

3/4 t baking soda

106 g / ½ c dark brown sugar

1 ½ t fine sea salt

1 c cold butter

1 ½ c buttermilk

½ t vanilla extract

Directions

Place the granulated sugar in a medium bowl with the lavender buds and vanilla seeds and, using your fingers, rub the ingredients together so that sugar is fully incorporated with its flavorful friends.  Toss the diced rhubarb in the flavorful sugar and set aside to macerate. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, dark brown sugar, and sea salt in a large bowl. Using a whisk, break up the brown sugar so that it has no clumps and is fairly evenly distributed throughout the flour. Place the bowl in the freezer while you cut the butter because in the world of butter pastry, cold is the key to flaky layers.

Cut the butter into small cubes (I like to cut horizontally 3 times, flip and cut 3 times more horizontally, then across vertically many times to get ¼ inch or less sized cubes.  Pull the flour mixture out of the freezer and toss the butter cubes to coat each cube on all sides with the flour mixture. Using your fingertips or a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour until all the bits are roughly pea-sized ( or smaller). Put the bowl back in the freezer to keep cool.

Add the vanilla extract to the buttermilk and mix them together, set aside.

Strain the rhubarb over a dish to catch the syrup and set the syrup aside.  Pull the flour mixture back out and toss the rhubarb with it, again coating each piece of fruit in flour like we did with the butter. Drizzle in the buttermilk and vanilla mixture in three separate batches, turning the dough minimally with a rubber spatula so as to not cool down the mixture with your hands. After the last buttermilk drizzling, turn the dough a few times until no dry flour remains.

Flour a counter generously and turn the dough out of the bowl: do not knead. Gently fold in half a couple of times and maneuver into a 12×8 rectangle.  Using a bench scraper, cut into twelve triangles.

Place the cut scones on a baking sheet (lined with parchment paper if that’s your preference). Brush with the reserved rhubarb syrup.  Pop the sheet into the oven and bake for 25 minutes, until browned all around.  If using convection, lower oven heat to 375 to prevent burning.

When the scones come out of their warm, happy place, let them sit for 5 minutes on the baking sheet then move them to a rack to cool thoroughly before serving.  The scones will continue to cook internally using steam from baking until they’re cool.  The finished product will have a golden brown exterior that’s got a bit of a crunch to it, strong vanilla scent, and a cakey interior studded with pops of bright-tart pink fruit.  The lavender is not a strong forward flavor in this scone, rather a behind-the-scenes soft & mellow one.

 


Adapted from a recipe for Rhubarb Buttermilk Scones, from Optional Kitchen .

Lemon-lavender muffins

From the edge of winter, my mind is already on the brink of spring (which officially kicks off in 16 days- not that I’m counting or anything) and all of its sunshine, happy flowers, and fabulous flavor trends.  Top of my thoughts this week has been lavender and creating these refreshing floral muffins that pop with the brightness of lemon in the background.  They are moist, and just sweet enough to soothe a craving without being over-the-top.  I hope that you enjoy them as much as I do!

Because the baked muffins take a dip into a butter bath, cupcake liners may be tough to use, especially if they peek above the crown of the muffin.

Ingredients
Muffins
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons lavender buds (rolled between your hands to release their flavor)
Zest of one lemon
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup whole milk
½ cup plain kefir (or plain yogurt or sour cream)
Topping
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon lavender buds (rolled between your hands to release their flavor and break up some of the buds)
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, melted (in a small rice bowl)

Alternate Topping
½ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lavender buds (rolled between your hands to release their flavor and break up some of the buds)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

 

Directions
Muffins
Preheat oven to 375° and spritz the cups of a standard 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and lemon zest and set aside. Measure the milk and kefir together in a measuring cup meant for liquids and set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and 2t lavender buds in a large bowl until they are light and fluffy. Using a low mixer speed, beat in egg, then add the vanilla and lemon juice. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with milk/kefir.

Divide the batter evenly among muffin cups (I found that a number 2 scoop worked perfectly for this) and bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let the muffins cool for five minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack.

Topping
Mix the sugar and 1t lavender buds in a small rice bowl. Working one at a time, dip the tops of muffins in melted butter, then roll them in lavender sugar.

Alternate Topping
Mix the sugar and lemon juice in a small rice bowl until it forms a thick but pourable/dippable consistency. Working one at a time, dip the tops of muffins in the glaze, then sprinkle lavender bits over them.

Store the finished muffins in a tightly sealed container at room temperature. Depending on room temperature and humidity levels these will keep for 4-5 days (if you manage not to consume them all before then).

Goat Cheese Spread with Lavender and Honey

I recently threw a party and I wanted to put out a dip made with goat cheese, but my stand-by recipe called for walnuts and I already had a lot of dishes with nuts in them and didn’t want to over-do it.  To remove the walnuts from the other recipe would have been a crime, so I found something else to make and I’m glad that I did.  This dip was a big hit.  I think that it’s perfect for summer entertaining (flavor-wise), and can be served alongside so many other dishes since it’s so mild.  I served it with a couple of kinds of simple crackers, but it would be great smeared on crostini or even a fresh baguette.

goat cheese

Ingredients

12 ounces soft goat cheese

2 teaspoons dried culinary lavender

3 tablespoons honey

honey

Directions

  • In a stand mixer, with a paddle attachment, mix together goat cheese, lavender, and honey until smooth. Taste and adjust as necessary*

lavendar

*Note: I left the goat cheese out on the counter overnight to let it get very soft so that it was easy to work with

J

Recipe adapted from a post on Whole Foods Market