I always have big ideas. Big ideas like cooking my way all the way through a great cookbook, tasting every recipe, and having the time of my life. My big ideas rarely survive contact with reality, however, and so my wonderful cookbooks get put aside, victims of busy schedules and procrastination.
The good news is that I did finally get a chance to try another recipe from a book I’d love to bake my way through, Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce. (These bars were based on a recipe in this book, as was the multigrain flour mix that I used in these baguettes and this zucchini cake.) I baked a version of the scones in the barley chapter, made with whole grain barley flour and just a touch of brown sugar.
I simplified both the ingredients and the procedure for this recipe. I just kept the scones basic, without the baked-in layer of jam in the original recipe (although that would be great, too), and I made the dough in the food processor. I like to make scone doughs with the food processor, possibly because I’m a little lazy, but more likely because I’m impatient (and busy), and excited to taste final products without having to wait too long.
These scones are wonderfully delicious! They mostly taste of barley flour, which is almost toasty and a little nutty. It’s mild enough that you can also taste the butter and a pleasant hint of salt. There’s just enough brown sugar in the mix to enhance the other flavors rather than make things especially sweet. The scones are pleasantly crumbly, but hold together very well at the same time. Their relative simplicity also makes them great vehicles for fruity jams or lemon curd.
I love to have something quick to grab in the morning when I wake up and stumble my way to the coffee pot. These scones are perfect for that, with the delicate barley flour flavor giving me something delicious to contemplate as I try to wake up. They’re also great afternoon snacks, of course, and, most important, they’re a delicious stop on my slow but determined journey of big ideas.
Barley Flour Scones
Adapted from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons barley flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine salt
1 stick (4 ounces) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
½ cup buttermilk
1 large egg
Coarse sugar for sprinkling
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the barley flour, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pulse a few times to mix well.
3. Add the cold butter pieces to the flour mixture. Pulse several times until the butter is mostly in pea-size chunks and well-coated with the flours.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg until smooth. Add to the mixture in the food processor. Process just until the mixture can hold together when squeezed. Transfer the crumbly dough onto a well-floured surface.
5. Gently knead the dough together and press into a disk roughly 7 inches in diameter and ¾ inch thick. Cut the disk into 8 equal triangles. Transfer the unbaked scones to the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle each with coarse sugar.
6. Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes or until the scones appear dry and lightly golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Enjoy slightly warm or cool completely. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for a day or two or freeze for a month or so.
Makes 8 scones.
Other recipes like this one: Barley Pancakes with Orange Juice and Vanilla, Cherry Almond Scones, Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Scones