Sunday, January 31, 2010

Date Anise Scones

Around Christmas I made a variety of cookies to give away to friends and family which included Anise-Scented Fig & Date Swirls that I got from my favorite Gourmet cookbook. They were the most complimented out of all the cookies I made. My friend Scott went so far as to say that he wanted to eat them every day for the rest of his life which, really, there's no higher praise than that.

I was inspired to make these scones based on some of the flavors in those cookies. The dates and anise just go so well together. The scones are made with all whole wheat pastry flour and are hearty with oats and walnuts yet remain tender from the addition of buttermilk and butter.

As these scones were baking I decided that the addition of anise seeds in any baked good really ups the fragrance ante. It smells warm and sweet and ultimately comforting.

For 8 scones:

  • 1¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon anise seeds, lightly crushed with a mortar & pestle
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup pitted dates, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon milk or cream for brushing
  • 2 teaspoons demerara sugar for sprinkling

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, anise seeds and salt. Cut the butter into 8 cubes and sprinkle over the flour mixture. With a pastry cutter, blend in the butter until pea-sized crumbs form. Stir in the brown sugar, dates, and walnuts.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk and vanilla. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and with a spatula, fold together until just moistened. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet in a mound. With lightly floured hands, pat the dough into a disk about 6 inches in diameter. Mark the dough with a knife into 8 pieces. Brush the top of the dough with the milk and sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and slightly puffy. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve warm.

No comments: