Sunday, March 16, 2014

SOL 16 of 31 -- Save the Scones?

By 8:00 this morning, I was making scones with my 3 1/2 year old daughter for a Grinnell College alumni potluck brunch across town.  We cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender, we poured buttermilk into the middle of the mixture and lightly stirred until the mixture was moist.  Clara helped form dough into shapes of worms and hearts while I formed a "pizza" and cut it into slices.  Once the slices were on the baking sheets, we "painted" them with buttermilk and popped them into the oven.

And that's when things started to go awry. Almost immediately, they smelled like they were burning.  I checked on them and they looked fine.  Then smoke started coming out of the oven.  I looked inside again and still the scones looked fine.  I guess we dribbled too much buttermilk on the baking sheets and it was the buttermilk that was burning.  A few minutes later, there was more smoke.  Again, the scones did not look burned but the house was getting foggy.

"Look at all this steam!" Clara exclaimed. I rushed to open all the windows and doors and turned on the ceiling fan despite the fact that it was below freezing outside.  The last thing I needed was for my sound-sensitive daughter and my sleeping husband to be surprised by the smoke alarm.

After 15 minutes, I could tell that the scones were done cooking and immediately removed them from the oven.  Ack! -- the bottom of each scone was scorched and now firmly cemented to the baking sheet.    
Well, I'll let them cool and see if I can do anything with them, I thought.

It took a knife to pry them off the sheet. Still, the majority of each scone looked perfect.  And the nibbles I tasted were delicious.

They look good, huh?

I used a steak knife to scrape the charcoal off the bottom.  This required an artistic touch because my scones were dry and crumbly.  No longer did I have nice pizza-slice scones, but irregular chunks.  As I carved and scraped, I wondered about how many other things in life I had tried to repair.  I'm sure there are lots of things, especially in the classroom, but I couldn't think of anything specific while holding those scones.  I will continue to ponder this and maybe create another post about it.

Here's some of the carbon I scraped off.

My scones are done! 

And then the baking sheets: are they ruined?  I scraped and soaked them.  I worked up a sweat trying to clean them.  They will always have the black spots on them, but I think I got them clean enough.

But still there's doubt and embarrassment in the back of my mind. What if they disintegrate into tiny crumbs during the car ride?  What if no one eats them once they've discovered a bit too much carbon? Should I stop at the store and buy something else to take to the brunch?!

Here is the photo from the recipe. Mine look almost as good...


  1. So....did you take them? I loved reading similar to some of my mishaps in the kitchen (and I am sure a lot of others, too). The scones look yummy, but I know I would have the same thoughts...will people eat them...will they know that the bottoms were burned? I love the shapes that Clara made! How fun that you let her help. And...I think we all have a similar where we have scraped and worked up a sweat to clean. Good luck on your next endeavor in the kitchen. Jackie

  2. Oh boy, and you were trying to do something ahead of time and with Clara. Sometimes things just don't go. Now that I'm late commenting, I want to know what happened? Your connection with 'fixing' other things is a good one, wonder what other slices you'll write Susan! FYI-get a can of Bar Keeper's Friend-works great cleaning those pans!

    1. I did take the scones and did not stop at the store for anything else. About half the scones got eaten. One friend really enjoyed it: "mmmm...sweet and savory! What's in it that makes it so sweet?" (sugar!) When I told her about how it had been burned, she said, "Oh, European style!"

  3. I started reading thinking we had such a similar morning! I made banana muffins and monster cookies. However, mine did not turn out exactly as I had hoped, since they were a new gluten free recipe and I missing my old flour-filled baked goods, but our awry moments ended up not looking at all like. Hopefully your scones were still appreciated! :)