The melancholy part of winter has arrived for me. After so many months spent in my small one bedroom apartment, working and sleeping, I feel cooped up without an escape. The weather has been frightful, with temperatures in the negative numbers and windchills even lower. Lately, though, no one bats an eye at the forecast anymore. Perhaps we are becoming one with the arctic.
On days like these I wonder what it would be like to live where winter weather doesn't mean that one needs to bundle up from head to toe to stay alive when they walk out the front door.
In the summer, the sun casts a golden light on the world. The feeling of the sun on the face warms the skin all the way down to the soul. In the winter, the very same sun has a sharper edge. I no longer welcome the sun as before, wishing for cloudy skies instead. The sun's light is harsh, reflecting off the white ground with a blinding intensity. The sun no longer warms, but leaves a bittersweet reminder of the summer months so far ahead and so far behind.
Oh, those winter blues...
On a snow day from school this week, I made a cup of tea and turned on the oven to bake. With the wind blowing its fiercest, I rolled up my sleeves and mixed up a warming batch of scones. Scones are simple fare and this recipe is no exception. The act of mixing together the ingredients by hand, cutting in the butter and forming the dough with my fingers and palms, have a healing effect.
The melancholy air lifts and, for a few moments, I can enjoy my creation in peace.
Pear Chocolate Scones combine subtle flavors in a breakfast treat. Ripe pears are diced up and folded into a basic scone recipe with a few chocolate chunks. The choice of pear is of little consequence—Bartlett, Bosc, or Red pears will do. When finished baking, the scones emerge flaky and ready for tasting. The scones are best enjoyed the day they are prepared.
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Pear Chocolate Scones
Yields 8 scones
2 cups (250 grams) whole wheat flour
1/4 cup (56 grams) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (85 grams) cold butter, cubed
3 medium sized ripe pears, diced
4 ounces (113 grams) semi-sweet chocolate, cut into small chunks
1 large egg
2/3 cup (158 ml) cream or milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter with pastry blender or your hands until mixture resembles coarse sand. Gently fold in diced pear and chocolate chunks. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, cream, and vanilla extract. Add the majority to the scone mixture and stir gently until incorporated. If the scones are still dry, add the remaining liquid. Otherwise, discard it.
On a lightly floured surface, form the dough into a ball and flatten it until it is about 1-inch thick. Using a sharp knife dipped in flour, cut 8 equal pie wedges. Brush with cream and sprinkle a little granulated sugar on top of the dough for extra sweetness. Transfer scones to a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Serve warm or at room temperature.