Recipe: huckleberry scones
I can feel summer slowly slipping through my fingers. Summer is the slog that starts to wear on me starting around July 4th. By then, the allergies and heat and mosquitoes have whittled away at me and I find myself counting the days to those crisp cool autumn nights come September. But puppies don’t care if it is summer, winter, spring, or fall. Puppies need to get their beans out. So every morning at 5:30, we wake up and brush our teeth like zombies while Neva munches away at her breakfast (which we call dinner – all meals are called dinner for simplicity), and then we grab for the usual: bag of treats, water dish, plenty of water, leash, poop bags, poop bottle (to put the stinky bags in while we hike), hat, sunglasses, sunblock, something to shove in our mouths as we usher Neva out the door. When you don’t get enough sleep and you wake up before the rest of the world… it just feels shitty. And yet the moment we set foot on the trail, it is forgotten. Until Neva lunges toward a leaf that looked at her funny.
these aspen stands are a sanctuary echoing with bird calls
the sun drops behind mount emmons in the evening
double supping (stand up paddleboarding) while neva is home asleep
puppy loves her hikes
jumping into the lake to cool off
This summer hasn’t been so terrible heat-wise for us in Colorado. We’ve actually had a rainier summer than usual, which should be good for wildflowers – and it was! But the excessive amounts of rain also promote wild grasses which compete with and choke out the wildflowers. Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. But it really is good. Maybe the wildflowers weren’t the best for shooting, but we have enjoyed them for miles upon miles of hiking. They line the trails and adorn the hillslopes, dancing in the wind, nodding good-morning, playing host to hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. There are a lot of amazing treasures to behold when you walk the mountains and pause to inspect the ground around you.
showy goldeneye and giant hyssop
wild alpine strawberries – tiny, but ten times the flavor of any domestic cousin
orange spindle coral mushroom
a beautiful specimen of a porcini
One morning, Jeremy and I were hiking a quiet trail with the pup when Jeremy had to stop and empty some rocks from his shoes. I continued on with Neva who reluctantly followed me, turning to look back for Jeremy every few feet. When he was about 20 yards away, Neva faced him and pulled the leash in his direction. It was a straight shot and I figured she would run right to him. So I told her to go find Jeremy and let go of the leash. He called to her as she dashed down the trail toward him. And then she darted 90 degrees to the right – straight into the forest. We chased after her, called her, waved treats in the air, but she was after a scent. Most likely it was squirrels, but we had to chase her a good bit off trail before we caught her. For a while there, I thought she was going to run straight to Wyoming. And this is why Neva is never to be let off leash… again. As we headed back toward the trail, we scolded her gently and gave her treats for not running any further until I came across something interesting. A patch of chanterelles.
beautiful little things
I had never foraged chanterelles before, but I knew just enough to realize that these might be those. And they were. We studied them and I emailed a photo to my friend to verify. Who knew? Actually, most of Crested Butte knows. I spoke with several people at various engagements throughout the week who confirmed that the flush was on – and it is a big one this year. Each subsequent day we hiked a different trail and I found chanterelles on every one of them. Jeremy was the one who spied the motherlode. People get excited and even the seasoned foragers can’t help but ask, “Where did you find them?” It’s the seasoned foragers who know the answer already – no one gives up their spots.
it’s a party!
neva lies down among the chanterelles while i harvest
My chanterelle radar is as good as if not better than my porcini radar. I can even smell them from the trail sometimes. So I’ll have plenty of chanterelle recipes for you in the coming weeks. For now though, it’s time to return to my one true love – huckleberries. They aren’t quite ready in the mountains around Crested Butte or back home on the Front Range, but they are getting there slowly. Just in case this year’s crop gets hammered by wacky weather, I’ve got several bags of frozen hucks from last year in reserve. I told Erin I wouldn’t dig into them until I knew for sure I’d be able to forage more this summer. I used frozen huckleberries for these huckleberry scones, but fresh is better if you don’t want super purple scones. As always, you can substitute blueberries for the huckleberries or maybe use raspberries or currants. But nothing beats a huckleberry.
cream, flour, huckleberries, sour cream, sugar, butter, salt, baking soda, baking powder, turbinado sugar, egg
I gave this recipe a try because it uses both sour cream and heavy cream. At my elevation, sour cream tends to give me more reliable results and I’ve had some scones spread too much during baking. But the basic steps are the same – cut the butter into the dry ingredients, add the liquid, fold in the fruit.
pulse the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together
add the frozen butter cubes
pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal
stir in the cream and sour cream
In this case, my frozen huckleberries gave up a little more juice than I had anticipated which resulted in a more purple scone than one might expect. It’s fine, just don’t overmix the fruit into the dough because the liquid will turn the dough gummy rather than giving you that fine tender crumb.
combine until just mixed
fold in the berries
try to avoid overmixing
shape the dough into a circle
If you like large scones, then you can make one giant circle with the dough and slice it into wedges. If, like me, you prefer smaller scones, then divide the dough in half and make two smaller circles which will be cut into wedges. This yielded a nice dozen. Be sure to space the scones far enough apart on the baking sheet or they will run into one another when they spread in the oven. A little egg wash and a sprinkle of coarse sugar on top of each scone before baking and you’re all set. They should come out beautifully golden.
cut into wedges
brush with egg wash
sprinkle with sanding sugar
the scones spread during baking
I really love scones warm with a touch of butter spread on the halves, but I must admit that these were so very good on their own. That’s probably the huckleberries. Even without huckleberries, this is a great scone recipe that comes together pretty quickly for a tasty afternoon tea, brunch, or whenever it is a good time to eat a scone (pretty much any time).
serve warm with you favorite accompaniments
from Farmgirl Gourmet
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsps baking powder (1 tsp at 8000 ft.)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
8 tbsps unsalted butter, cut into cubes and frozen
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups huckleberries, fresh or frozen
1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)
sanding sugar (I used turbinado)
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the sharp blade, and pulse to mix. Add the butter cubes and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Empty the flour mixture into a large bowl and add the sour cream and heavy cream. Stir until everything is just combined (don’t overmix). Gently fold in the huckleberries (be extra gentle if frozen or else you get a gooey purple mess). To make eight large scones, form the dough into an 8-inch circle on a lightly floured surface and cut into eight wedges. I formed two smaller circles (abut 5 inches in diameter) and cut them into sixths to get 12 smaller scones. Set the scones 2 inches apart on the parchment paper and brush with the egg wash. Sprinkle sanding sugar on top. Bake 17-20 minutes until the scones are golden. Remove to a cooling rack. Makes 8-12 (depending on size).
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