Yield: 12-14 scones
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
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.