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Subtle lavender scones, Tea Cozy's muffin recipe

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Janet’s lavender scones

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Janet’s lavender scones Photo Store

A recent Recipe Swap look at the Tea Cozy's ginger cake drew a huge reader response. Former Winnipegger Michael Gros, who worked at that popular Osborne Village restaurant as a day cook many years ago, offers a recipe for the Tea Cozy's bran muffins.

And in response to a request for scone recipes, Joan Honsberger-Siemens sent in a version that adds the subtle flavour and fragrance of lavender. The recipe comes from an increasingly common source for food ideas -- murder mysteries that involve cooking, baking, catering or gardening themes. In this case, the scone recipe comes from A Dilly of a Death, a "herbal mystery" by Susan Wittig Albert.

This week, Joan Craig is searching for a recipe for savoury rhubarb relish that can be served with pork or sausage. I've been on a real rhubarb kick this summer and would be keen to see readers' responses. If you can help with a recipe request, have your own request, or a favourite recipe you'd like to share, send an email to recipeswap@freepress.mb.ca, fax it to 697-7412, or write to Recipe Swap, c/o Alison Gillmor, Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave. Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6. Please include your first and last name, address and telephone number.

 

Janet's Lavender Scones

500 ml (2 cups) all-purpose flour

75 ml (1/3 cup), plus 30 ml (2 tbsp) granulated sugar, divided

10 ml (2 tsp) baking powder

1 ml (1/4 tsp) salt

90 ml (6 tbsp) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes

15 ml (1 tbsp) fresh lavender flower buds, or 10 ml (2 tsp) dried food-grade lavender

1 egg

2 ml (1/2 tsp) vanilla

125 ml (1/2 cup) whole milk or half-and-half cream

Egg wash: 1 beaten egg plus 15 ml (1 tbsp) water and pinch salt

 

Preheat oven to 190 C (375 F). In a large bowl, whisk together flour, 75 ml (1/3 cup) sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until the mixture looks like coarse bread crumbs. Stir in the lavender flowers. In a small bowl, combine the egg, vanilla and milk. Add to the flour mixture and stir to blend into a soft, sticky dough. Turn it out onto a well-floured board, cover, and let rest for 15 minutes. Knead gently, adding just enough flour so dough doesn't stick to your fingers. Pat it out about 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick. Using a biscuit cutter that has been dipped in sugar, cut into rounds. Brush off excess flour with a pastry brush and place on ungreased baking sheet. Brush each round with egg wash and sprinkle with the reserved 30 ml (2 tbsp) sugar. Bake until light golden brown (12-16 minutes). Remove immediately from baking sheet to wire rack to cool.

 

Tester's notes: These scones had a heavenly taste and texture, though my batch toppled over in a rather forlorn way. Scone-toppling seems to be a common problem, as I found when I Googled it. You can lessen the chance of tipping by using a sharp biscuit cutter and making sure not to twist when cutting the scones out, and by ensuring that the egg wash doesn't go down the sides, which can unevenly inhibit rising. But one expert suggests that the issue is often caused by the uneven heat in domestic ovens and there isn't much to do about it. He suggests bakers just cover the lopsided scones with clotted cream and jam and stop worrying. (I like the way he thinks!)

I added less than 15 ml (1 tbsp) flour as I was kneading the dough, and I used a 5-cm (2-inch) biscuit cutter, which yielded 12 fairly small, very rich scones. Joan buys her lavender at a health food store -- make sure to purchase food grade, not treated potpourri lavender. She also increases the amount of dried buds to three teaspoons for even more of that indefinable lavender flavour, which is like the essence of the colour purple.

 

Tea Cozy Bran Muffins

175 ml (3/4 cup) vegetable oil

250 ml (1 cup) brown sugar

2 eggs

7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) molasses

250 ml (1 cup) whole milk

500 ml (2 cups) all-purpose flour

125 ml (1/2 cup) bran

10 ml (2 tsp) baking soda

10 ml (2 tsp) baking powder

125 ml (1/2 cup) raisins

125 ml (1/2 cup) chopped pitted dates

 

Preheat oven to 175 C (350 F). In a large bowl, mix together oil, brown sugar, eggs, molasses and milk. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, bran, baking soda and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix with a spoon just until combined. (Do not overbeat.) Stir in raisins and dates. Spoon batter into greased or paper-lined standard muffin tins, filling about 3/4 full. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Makes about 18.

Tester's notes: These were really, really good, with a light bran texture and a not-too-sweet taste. I've scaled down Michael's recipe, which was restaurant-sized, but if you're baking for a crowd, you could double or even quadruple the quantities.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 16, 2014 C5

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