Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Life hums along here at Casa del Osos as we enter February. Right on cue, the weather warmed up significantly this week; yesterday afternoon, we played in the backyard without jackets! We're busy with school projects, music and ballet lessons, evening work at home for the Bear and plenty of driving for me. There's a lot to do but we're happy this way. Another Private Friday is right around the corner! I think we're headed back to Lowe's to look at paint again, but hey, we'll be together and there should be time for a kid-free meal in there too.
The Bear and I recently started exercising together in the evenings, after the kids have gone to bed. We have long had stands for our bicycles to make them work like stationary exercise bikes and have used them separately, but we've decided to try to ride together when we can. It's been years since we had time to do active things together, which we used to enjoy a lot. We're just riding bikes in the garage, but we're side by side and it's more motivating to do it together. The Bear has been a runner for years but lately has been sidelined by a knee injury, so the bike is a good choice for him. Actually, he will be having knee surgery in about a month, to repair a couple of different injuries to the same knee. We've been busy planning life around his recovery period. March is usually a pretty busy month for us, but good knees are kind of a big deal.
I'm still enjoying my winter cooking and baking, though of course if I'm riding my bike like the Wicked Witch of the West in the garage, I should watch what I'm eating too. I haven't baked very many decadent treats lately, but I have made a few lighter things like quick breads and Bisquick-based breads. I tried another recipe from Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break, by Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall - Svenska scones, which were easy and tasty. I'd actually never made scones from scratch before (Trader Joe's sells a nice just-add-water mix and I've made those lots). I love scones, but have mostly had sweet ones. Svenska scones are interesting because they are savory, with caraway seeds and sunflower seeds, but no sugar at all. I only made one change, which was to reduce the butter by a tablespoon (I don't think it affected the dough). I made them on a Tuesday night to eat alongside bean-and-ham soup; they were quick and almost effortless (no kneading!), which is the best kind of baking for a Tuesday night.
1 teaspoon whole caraway seeds
3 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds
2 3/4 cups (13.75 ounces, 390 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons (2.5 ounces, 71 grams) unsalted butter
1 cup (240 milliliters) milk
Preheat the oven to 480 degrees F (250 degrees C). Grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Toast the caraway seeds and the sunflower seeds together in a frying pan over medium heat. When the seeds start to color and have a nice aroma, turn off the heat and remove them immediately from the pan. Place the seeds in a bowl and let them cool for a few minutes.
Sift the flour together with the baking powder and salt. Add the butter in small pieces and work together with your fingertips until the dough resembles a coarse meal. Mix in the seeds; then stir in the milk and mix together quickly to get a semisticky dough. Don't knead the dough.
Divide dough into 2 equal parts and shape them into 6-inch (15-centimeter) rounds. Place the two rounds 2 inches apart on the baking sheet and, using a knife, score into quarters, cutting only part way through the dough. Poke a pattern into the top of the scones with a fork. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the scones are a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before breaking along the scored lines into quarters. Serve warm.
We thought the scones were delicious! They were not as crusty as some scones I've tried; they had more of a soft texture, like a buttermilk biscuit (which has always been my favorite part of eating at KFC, thank you very much). We liked the seeds too; the sunflower seeds gave a subtle nuttiness, with a gentle hint of caraway's distinctive flavor. The GB said she could taste the butter, even with the reduction I made. All in all, a great recipe. Fika makes me happy. It's such a lovely little book, full of interesting new-to-me recipes, and I still so glad I found it.