Having four kids under the age of 5 requires a lot of energy in every sense of the word. This includes energy in the form of calories. If I wasn’t before, I am now (justifiably, I think) ALWAYS hungry. Now that the enormous quantities of Christmas cookies, brioche and other forms of simple carbs in my house have been successfully annihilated, I’m turning to something simple and a little more healthy for the energy (and carbs) I both need and crave. A touch more decadent than a simple brown soda bread, I discovered the recipe for these scones by Rachel Allen in her book Bake.
I cannot say enough about the virtues of baking with Coarse Wholemeal Flour. The taste and texture it gives to baked goods is like nothing else. It has a warm, nuttiness, almost like almond flour, though it bakes up lighter and more moist than any nut flour. The texture is coarse but unlike most other coarse flours, it is unevenly so, which gives it an unmistakable consistency. I got two bags of the good stuff from Paddy’s over the holidays which came in handy when I woke up one morning wanting a warm brown scone.
These scones are fabulous. I made them on a school day in about 30 minutes all in (washing up included)! I love that they only have 2 tablespoons of butter in them and just one tablespoon of sweetener. I still don’t understand how they taste so good but they do. I probably wouldn’t have tried these if the recipe came from someone other than Rachel Allen, my secret best friend. She proves that time and time again, simple totally works. I didn’t have any sesame seeds but I did add a small amount of cardamom, which I strongly recommend if you like cardamom. I sprinkled them with sea salt and coarse sugar before baking which was also a very good idea, if I do say so myself. I loved the salty, sweet crunch it gave each one.
Try this! Please! You can find coarse wholemeal flour at Paddy’s on the Square, or you can stop by my house and I’ll give you a couple of cups if that’s what I have to do to convince you that you need this in your pantry. Seriously. You do.
Rachel Allen’s Brown Scones with Black Treacle
Adapted ever so slightly from Rachel Allen's recipe that can be found here
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 ½ cups coarse wholemeal flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, plus extra for sprinkling (optional)*
2 tablespoons butter, diced
1 ¼ cups buttermilk or soured milk (add 2 tsp vinegar or lemon juice to 1 ¼ cup cow’s milk or soy or rice milk and leave to stand for 10–15 minutes)
1 tablespoon black treacle (or dark molasses)
Sea salt and coarse sugar for sprinkling on top
*I didn’t have any sesame seeds but added a ½ teaspoon of cardamom, because I love it.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Dust a baking sheet with flour.
Put the wholemeal, all-purpose flour and salt into a large bowl. Sift in the baking soda.
Using your fingertips, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg with the buttermilk or soured milk, then stir in the treacle (or molasses) and pour most of the liquid into the dry ingredients. Using one hand with your fingers held out like a claw, mix in full circles to bring the flour and liquid together, adding more liquid if necessary. The dough should be quite soft, but not too sticky.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently bring it together into a ball, but without kneading it, then flatten it slightly to about an inch high. Cut the dough into 10–12 square or round scones. Brush the tops of the scones with any leftover liquid and sprinkle with some sea salt or coarse sugar (I used a combination of the two)
Put the scones onto the prepared baking sheet and pop in the oven to bake for 15–20 minutes (depending on the size of the scones). Have a look at them after 10 minutes: if they’re already a deep golden brown, then turn the heat to 400°F, for the remainder of the cooking time. When cooked they should sound hollow when tapped on the base.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.