Although this weekend was quite a wet one, it surely didn’t rain on my parade. There’s a solitude that comes with rainy day naps and comfort baking, one that I gladly welcome. I made these Date, Pecan & Lavender Scones as the pitter-patter of the big drops replaced the music I normally cook to. The cool breeze from a cracked window carried their barely sweet, lavender and rosemary aroma and down the hallway.
Scones are tricky to master, especially when you add gluten-free to the requirements. I’ve tried several times, trying to balance the qualities that make a scone a scone – flaky, not too dense, and flavorful without being too sweet. They’ve always tasted good, but a little on the crumbly side and too thick. But thanks to this technique taught by the lovely Sarah from the Vanilla Bean Blog, these scones were finally what I’ve been looking for.
If you haven’t visited Sarah’s blog, do yourself a favor and hop on over. Her writing is among the best, her photography skills are brilliant and her recipes inspiring, the kind that make you want to get up and start baking a cake as soon as you’re done reading the post. In fact, the lavender extract (p.s.- how cool is The Hatchery?!) I used in these scones landed in my hands at a recent party to celebrate Sarah winning the award for Saveur’s Best Baking Blog. I couldn’t be happier for such a humble person.
But back to the key to these beautiful scones. It comes down to the grated frozen butter and a rolling/turning of the dough, creating the most perfect texture you could ever imagine. You can even see the layers of flakiness that bakes up around the dates and pecans. I’m not sure why I haven’t put those two together before. They’re really a wonderful balance between sweet and nutty, especially with the herbal tones of rosemary and lavender floating in the background.
Enjoy the week ahead and if you’re subject to a rainy day, I highly recommend filling the house with the aroma of these scones. And on another note, if you can’t find lavender for photos, lilacs are a good stand in too. ♡
Gluten-Free Date, Pecan and Lavender Scones
270 grams Cup4Cup gluten-free flour, a scant two cups (or your favorite all purpose gf flour)
3/4 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar + additional for sprinkling tops
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen
1 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1/2 cup chopped dates (about 8)
1/3 cup chopped toasted pecans
3 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 cup heavy cream + 2 tablespoons for brushing tops
1 teaspoon pure lavender extract (or vanilla)
Position a rack in the center of the oven and the preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the sour cream, heavy cream, lavender and egg. Grate the frozen butter on the large holes of a box cutter and add it to the flour mixture. Toss with your fingers until the butter is evenly coated. Add the cream mixture to the flour mixture and fold with a spatula until just combined. Transfer the dough to a floured surface, and dust the top of the dough with flour. Knead the dough 6 to 8 times, until it resembles a ragged ball (add more flour if it is sticking too much).
Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12 inch square. Fold the dough in thirds (a business letter fold). Lift the short ends of the dough and fold into thirds again, making a 4 inch square. Transfer dough to a baking sheet or plate dusted with flour, and chill in the freezer for 5 minutes.
Bring the chilled dough back to your well-floured surface, and roll into a 12 inch square again. Sprinkle the dates and pecans over the dough, then press them down gently into the dough. Using a bench scraper or the flat side of the knife, loosen the dough from the surface, and roll it into a cylinder (roll it like a jelly-roll log to help incorporate the dates and pecans). Roll the cylinder so it is seam side down, and then press into a 12 by 4 inch rectangle. Using a sharp knife, cut the rectangle crosswise into 4 equal rectangles, then cut each rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles. Transfer the triangles to the baking sheet.
Brush the tops with a little heavy cream and sprinkle them generously with sugar. Bake until the tops and bottoms are golden brown, 18-25 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through baking. Transfer the sheet to a wire rack and let cool 10 minutes before serving.