Recipe: blueberry drop scones

When it comes to baking, I’m a sucker for simplicity: the sight of a minimalist recipe with few ingredients and round proportions is just as enticing as the aroma of scones in the oven.  For the reason of simplicity alone, I’ve bookmarked a half-dozen scone recipes, such as this cream scone recipe by the Amateur Gourmet.  While these blueberry scones are not on that list, I had been meaning to adapt a King Arthur recipe for awhile, and the original recipe was actually less fussy than I thought it would be.  These scones may not withstand comparison to a rebirth of their King Arthur predecessors — it’s likely I’ll never know — but no matter, as they are light, tender, and moist, such that each bite melts lushly into oblivion.  To my delight, the plump, ripe blueberries generously yielded themselves in runny explosions to the greater cause: I knew they had it in them, those self-sacrificing bundles of joy.  But perhaps dried fruit (blueberries or other) would yield better results, scones with more integrity.  I liked these best toasted with coffee and a good magazine.  A friend recently recounted to me her memorable virgin encounter with blueberry granola pancakes, and a recipe for scones studded with almond granola just caught my eye, so I might have to try adding some next time.  A friendly reminder to be generous with your sprinklings of sugar: a sweet crunchy surface makes all the difference.

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Seeing blue

In my family’s grocery-shopping heyday, Costco was a regular stop on our supermarket tour.  We went way more than was reasonable for a family of four; considering they sell most of their stuff in bulk, it says a lot that we sometimes went thrice a week. In our defense, though, having a store located a mere traffic light away facilitates this kind of nonsensical behavior.  As a child, I have very fond memories of the place, with its soaring metallic ceiling, aisles like corridors, and liberally-distributed food samples giving it the appeal of a Willy Wonka factory.  Even as things have changed — the checkout lines don’t snake the way they used to, and no longer for sampling are the gourmet sausages and spinach pastry puffs — I still enjoy a leisurely stroll through the warehouse whenever I return home.  For a single person, Costco does not hold much practical appeal, but there are the occasional items I do enjoy purchasing in excessive amounts.  Like blueberries, by far my favorite berry and up there for fave fruit — just the right size for popping by the handful, with a mellow sweetness and the occasional tart explosion.  Certainly, a pint will not do, especially if I am to get all the baking juices out of me before I go back to HK.  These muffins came out looking more like chunky cookies and tasting more like dense, dryish cake, but the sight of all those bursted berries more than compensated for my lame baking skillz.

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Healthy-ish Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins
Adapted from this recipe

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups quick-cooking oats
1 1/4 cups AP flour
3/4 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 t instant chai
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup low-fat yogurt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 375F. In large bowl, stir together the rolled oats, flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, and instant chai mix.

2. In a med bowl, beat the egg with a fork, then stir in yogurt and olive oil. Make a well in the bowl of dry ingredients and gradually pour in the wet ingredients. Stir until just combined, being careful not to overstir. Gently fold in blueberries.

3. Spray muffin pan or silicone muffin cups with nonstick spray if desired. Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full.

4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until tops are starting to brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. I baked mine for exactly 20 minutes.

Room for improvement: dissolve chai in boiling water first; 1/2 cup sugar instead of 1/3; bake at 400F instead of 375F for crispier tops; throw in a few tablespoons of melted butter for added richness and flavor.