Christmas Cream Scones
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without scones. They are a part of every Christmas morning, and always will be, a tradition our family holds true. There is nothing more wonderful than pulling a tray of these fresh from the oven and serving them heavenly warm while everyone opens their presents. I tried many recipes before coming across this one from the Wall Street Journal in 2014. Cleverly titled, “Romancing the Scone,” it delivers consistently perfect scones and is unbelievably easy. Made with cream and no butter, you don’t even need a pastry cutter. You most likely have everything on hand, except for the 1 cup of heavy cream, which you should add to your grocery list right this minute so you can make some of these yourself. Make things easy by measuring out the dry ingredients a day ahead. Sift them into your mixing bowl, then cover it, so that all you have to do in the morning is add the cream and mix. I never add the currants, and I also skip the butter and sugar sprinkled on the top, mainly because that’s just what everyone prefers. Double check your jam supply and if you really want to do things up right, get some clotted cream from World Market.
I tried making this recipe gluten-free for the first time using Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour and Silk Dairy Free Heavy Whipping Cream Alternative so that I could make them dairy free and vegan, as well. The scones were delicious, but didn’t rise as much as the ones I make with all-purpose flour. If you want extra thick, tall gluten-free scones, roll your dough 1 1/2 – 2 inches thick and bake a bit longer. (I’ll know this for next time.) You can use a cookie or biscuit cutter to cut out your scones, but on Christmas morning I like to keep it simple, just roll out two circles and then cut each one into equal wedges. Ta-da! No re-rolling or fussing with scraps of dough. The scones are in the oven quickly, your kitchen warms up the house, and it smells delightful, just like Christmas morning should.
Looking for something healthy? These Chocolate Peanut Butter Dates are an easy treat you can make in a hurry. Naturally sweet, with a creamy, crunchy peanut filling and just a bit of chocolate, they are a great gluten-free and vegan option if you use dairy-free chocolate chips. You can try other nut/nut butter combos like almonds/almond butter, or cashews/cashew butter, or try topping with shredded coconut or crushed candy canes. Make some with your kids. They’re a wonderful, healthy option that’s just perfect for this, the very last minute.
Wishing you a happy, healthy and very merry Christmas. Stay safe and be well.
Christmas Cream Scones
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup sugar, plus 2-3 Tablespoons for sprinkling
- 1 1/3 cups dried currants
- 1 cup heavy cream, cold
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375º F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Measure flour, baking powder, salt and 1/3 cup sugar into a bowl, then sift together over a large bowl. Stir in currants. Add heavy cream and mix with an electric mixer on low until ingredients are just combined. Dump dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead very briefly. Divide dough in half, then roll out into two 1-inch thick circles. Cut each circle into 8 equal wedges then place wedges on baking sheet. Brush with melted butter, then sprinkle with sugar. Bake in center of oven until scones are golden, about 12-15 minutes.
Let cool on baking rack. Serve warm or at room temperature with butter or clotted cream and jam. Store airtight up to 24 hours, or freeze up to 12 weeks. Reheat frozen scones in a 350º oven for 5 minutes, or until heated through.
– recipe by Gail Monaghan, The Wall Street Journal, January 3, 2014
Chocolate Peanut Butter Dates
- 14 – 16 pitted medjool dates
- 8 teaspoons creamy peanut butter
- 16 roasted, salted peanuts, whole or halves
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 – 4 Tablespoons roasted, salted peanuts, finely chopped
Open each date and fill with 1/2 teaspoon peanut butter and 2 peanuts. Pinch closed or leave partially open. Add chocolate chips to a microwave-safe bowl and heat at 20-second intervals, stirring after each interval until smooth and melted. Drizzle chocolate over stuffed dates, or spread evenly using the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with crushed peanuts then refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to firm chocolate. Refrigerate up to 2 weeks or store in freezer. Defrost frozen dates fully before eating.
– recipe by joy bauer
There’s a time after dinner, when the dishes are cleared, when everyone pushes their chairs back a bit, a giant reflective pause from all the hubbub that is Christmas. The room feels warm and your waistband feels a little snug, you sit back and relax, bask in the tree lights and linger to talk. This is the time, every year, when we would cajole my mom into telling my favorite Christmas story. It was about the Christmas, 1969 to be exact, when she took both grandmother’s, and an aunt, to midnight mass. It was Colorado, freezing cold and snowing hard, and my dad had stayed behind to do Christmas duty, assembling my first bed for me, while I slept unaware of it all in my crib. There was busy conversation in the car and the usual commotion that surrounds any outing, but it was especially amped up by the excitement of Christmas and the added element of inclement weather. Now at the church, the ladies got out of the car, chattering while they gathered their purses, adjusting their coats and scarves against the bitter cold. My mom got out of the car, trying to help everyone, and in all of the excitement and confusion, locked the keys in the ignition. Realizing what she had done, and not wanting to miss mass, she explained to everyone that it would be okay, she would just call my dad after the service. My grandmother helpfully chimed in, “Do you think you will have enough gas?” My mom would always drive this point home by putting her hand on the table before announcing, “I put my hand on the hood of the car and realized – long pause – I had left the engine running.” And this is the stuff memories are made of.
I will have to tell the story this year, because sadly, we lost my mom a few months ago, her passing a huge loss in itself, but perhaps even more profound because it came not long after losing our oldest son. I won’t tell it the same way she did, and I hope I do it justice, but I’ll tell it just the same, because it’s part of our family’s history and it’s such a great memory of my mom. My heart goes out to all of you who are finding yourself in a similar way. I know we are not alone in this, coping with loss this holiday, and that there are many others like us, who are remembering those that they have loved and lost. We will mark birthdays, and Christmases, holidays and anniversaries, and have to navigate all the “normal” days without them. I hope you find comfort in your memories and in each other. And that you keep your traditions alive.