Lettuce Eat Local
“When he wants something sweet, he nibbles through THREE pastries: a scone, a muffin, and a croissant.”
Reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar Eats Breakfast with Benson brought to light a glaring lapse in his education. No, it wasn’t the numbers in this counting book he struggled with — he’s taking after his (foster) big sister, and loves counting allll the things. He had almost no trouble naming the nine colorful fruits the caterpillar likes to eat through (and to be fair, that grapefruit slice did look like an orange), and while he insists on calling the bacon (and most other meats) “ham,” he’s not entirely wrong.
We still have some work to do, of course. He can’t always identify the numbers when written only as symbols, and he does adamantly “correct” us on multiple accounts when we come to the “Does he eat bagels for breakfast?” page. (“Yes! in fact, he tries FOUR.”). Clearly, those are doughnuts, and those are not raisins, they are candy pieces. To further imbed his faulty thinking, recently his aunt got him a doughnut with fall-colored sprinkles that matched the book’s illustration spot-on: the perfect “everything doughnut.” Whatever, child.
No, the thing I couldn’t believe we hadn’t taught Benson yet was what a scone was. That hinges on moral failure in my book — scones are kind of My Thing, and here my very own flesh and blood has not been properly familiarized with them!
He also didn’t know what a croissant was, but I’m not worried about that. The scone, the scone, the scone. It’s definitely not that I haven’t made any since he’s been around, but not in recent enough memory that his two-year-old brain could recall.
There’s no time like the present, however, to fix the problem. Especially when that only requires turning on the oven and getting out the flour.
It was serendipitous timing to uncover our educational deficiency, with the weather taking a few tentative steps into Autumn and our senses starting to call out for things warm and comforting. Scones are truly a 365-day pastry and infinitely variable as per the season, yet there’s something intrinsic that awakens this time of year in the heart — and stomach — of a baker. Plus I had friends coming over, and we needed a good fall pastry with our coffee.
Brian and I were also just about to head to a friend’s lakehouse in Table Rock for the weekend, to get away for some time together before the baby comes as well as to celebrate our 12th anniversary. Brian really loves scones, and I really love him, so having some leftover to take along sounded like an ideal breakfast component.
All that to say, scones are always the right idea, but they were really The right idea this week. Benson of course loved helping me make them as much as he loved eating them, so that was an unsurprising success. And now when we read about the very hungry caterpillar’s breakfast, the scone will be a source of shared joy instead of sudden horror. Even if the “ham” and “doughnuts” are still wrong.
If only all parenting dilemmas and shortcomings were so easily remedied. Please pass the glaze.
Apple Cheddar Scones
This is a flavor combo my mom loves and I’ve always been leery of, but I’ve been delving into my doubt recently and finding that in the proper situations, it’s truly delicious. The whisper of fresh rosemary pulls it all together, although sage or thyme would also be good here. This method for scones is quite different than some of my more standards ways, but it produces such soft cakey scones and is so quick and easy — which is great since Benson is on a kick of trying every single ingredient so the sooner I can get them in the oven and away from his snatching fingers, the better. (You should have seen his reaction when he stuffed a whole sprig of rosemary in his mouth.)
Prep tips: A simple glaze of powdered sugar with a pinch of salt and splash of apple cider is an unnecessary but not unwelcome finish.
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup brown sugar
4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded or cubed very small
6 ounces [about 1 ½ cups] peeled, diced apple
a sprig of fresh rosemary, minced
½ cup plain greek yogurt
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup whole milk
for topping: shredded cheese, thin apple rings, white sugar
In a mixing bowl, stir together flours, baking powder and soda, salt, and sugar. Stir in cheese, apple, and rosemary. In a separate bowl/measuring cup, whisk yogurt, oil, milk, and egg. Stir into bowl of dry ingredients. If it’s crazy sticky, add a little more flour; if not, dump it out onto a floured surface and lightly knead a few times. Divide dough in half and form into two 6-8” circles. Cut each into 6 wedges, and arrange these a couple inches apart on a lightly greased baking sheet. Top some with apple rings and some with shredded cheese, and all with a sprinkle of white sugar. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes, until nicely golden and cheese is browning.