Oatmeal bacon scones

Scott got home late Thursday night from a flight that tipped him over the “100k miles flown in a year” mark. He has also spent more than 60 days away for business travel this year. So last night, to celebrate his return home from what should be his last trip of the year, I cooked a steak, a baked potato, and a salad per his request. I went to Ottomanelli & Sons on Bleeker Street in the West Village to get a dry aged porterhouse and a genial hard time by the old school butchers behind the counter. I love old school butcher shops; butchers usually seem to like their jobs, enjoy giving advice, and take pride in the meat that they sell, and with good reason in this case. The steak was exceptional.

I don’t generally do a lot for breakfast; I’m not usually great at measuring ingredients first thing in the morning, but since I was on a roll with the “Welcome home Scott/ holiday baking spirit” I made an exception today and baked. Combining three of Scott’s favorites- scones, bacon, and the healthfully virtuous feeling one gets from eating oatmeal- I combined bits of lots of scone recipes and the memory of eating “pannenkoeken met spek” (pancake with bacon)  years ago in the Netherlands (and persuaded a Waffle House cook to semi-replicate by putting an order of bacon into the waffle iron with my waffle batter) into a slightly sweet, hearty, flaky, just a little salty/bacony scone.

Oatmeal Bacon Scones

yield:8-10

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup rolled oats
1 very heaped tablespoon baking powder
2 very heaped tablespoons superfine or granulated sugar (I had some vanilla caster sugar which I used)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, cut into small dice, kept very cold

1/3 cup very crisp crumbled bacon (about 3 strips depending on size and thickness)
1/2 cup buttermilk (start with 1/3 cup and then add by the tablespoon until the dough is soft but not sticky)
1 egg, beaten

Turbinado or raw sugar

Preheat your oven to 400°F

 Cook your bacon until very crisp, to the point that it shatters into little bits when chopped with a knife. Drain on paper and allow it to completely cool before chopping it.

 In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients from flour to bacon and stir to get them thoroughly combined.  Add the cold butter cubes and using either a pastry blender or your fingers, work the butter into the dry ingredients until everything looks like breadcrumbs; the butter should still be a little chunky, but nothing larger than a pea.

 Whisk the buttermilk and beaten egg together and pour about ¾ of the mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir everything together, gently, just to get everything moist; try not to over-stir. If the mixture isn’t coming together into a soft dough, add the rest of the liquid in tablespoons so the dough doesn’t get too sticky.

 Turn the dough out onto a work surface. I like to use a flexible plastic cutting board for pastry because I don’t have to use extra flour to dust the surface, it allows me to move the dough onto the baking sheet easily, and it’s easy to clean up. Gently knead the dough a few times into a ball, then flatten it into a disc. Using a long bladed knife or a bench scraper, cut the dough into wedges (I did 8).

Transfer the disc onto the baking sheet.  It should still look like a disc with the wedges cut into it. Sprinkle the top generously with raw sugar crystals for a little sweet crunch on the top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the scones look like the epitome of Golden Brown and Delicious. Serve hot (or cold, either way they are delicious!)

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Burn Part Deux or Oatmeal Chocolate Covered Raisin Cookies

In the last two weeks my wrist has progressed from a  ghastly greyish weeping blistered burn, dramatically  swathed in triple antibiotic ooze and enormous white  gauze bandages, to the shiny  pink of a healing burn, puckered and scarlet like a screaming infant’s face indignantly reminding me of my recklessness, demanding to be cosseted. It’s more sore and tight now than painful, but it is pretty persistent in making its presence known. Hence, in the spirit of circumspection,  I’ve been a little wary in the kitchen, mainly cooking things that allow a safe distance from open flame, a gingerness with red-hot cookware, a certain take-no-risk rote cooking.

I did bake some lovely cookies.

They are different from most cookie recipes I make in that they contain oil instead of butter;  this makes them crisp instead of soft and chewy like buttery cookies. But in the face of a looming cholesterol test in the family, I was trying to make a healthier treat that didn’t taste like a “healthy treat” – you know what I mean. But then, I know plenty of people who live with dietary restrictions all the time, whether for religious reason, allergies or health reasons or during pregnancy, so I’m sure I’m not the only one who can appreciate a cookie that doesn’t preach to you about how healthy it is, that is actually good instead of tasting like deprivation.

 

 

In the first recipe, I used raisins, which were fine, but I had a bag of chocolate covered raisins in my cupboard.  Thinking of Mexican hot chocolate infused with cinnamon, they went into the second go-round. It’s just a nice little upgrade, richer, a hint of cinnamon and chocolate with the raisins in a light crunchy oaty bite.

 

Oatmeal Chocolate-Covered Raisin Cookies

Modified from this recipe: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

 

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons molasses

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 cups oats (I used quick oats)

1/2 cup chocolate-covered raisins (use dark chocolate or dairy-free if you need to)

 

 

Preheat oven to 350°. Cover cookie sheets with either parchment paper or Silpats.

In a large bowl, mix oil, brown sugar, molasses, eggs and vanilla with a whisk. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; stir into the sugar and oil mixture. Mix in the oats and chocolate-covered raisins last. it will make a rather dry, sticky dough.

 

 

Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet. The cookies won’t spread much, so they can be fairly close together. I did about 12 per cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Depending on your oven, you may want to rotate the pans or switch shelves midway through. The cookies will still be a little soft on top but the edges should begin to brown a little. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.