Strawberry Barley Scones

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strawberry_barley_scones.jpgI am a big fan of scones. A warm fresh scone with a hot cup of tea or coffee in the winter is one of my favorite things in the world. That being said, I already have a couple of favorite scone recipes (sadly without photos) here and here, and I have a hard time deviating from those tried-and-true standbys that have made the rounds of showers, brunches, and teas. However, I'm glad I made an exception for these, which are truly unique and totally worth it. Strawberry jam is sandwiched between two disks of buttery dough and then cut into hearty pieces. Barley flour lends a sweet and nutty flavor to the dough without tasting 'healthy.' As the scones cook, the jam caramelizes around the edges and the whole thing becomes light and crunchy on the outside, cakey and rich on the inside. Heavenly.

dry mix:
1 c. + 2 tbs. barley flour
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. dark brown sugar (or light brown sugar with 1 tsp molasses)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt (less if using salted butter)
wet mix:
6-8 tbs. cold unsalted butter
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 c. strawberry jam (or other fruit jam)
1 tbs butter, melted
1 tbs sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a baking sheet lightly.

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Cut the butter into 1/2 inch pieces and add them to the dry mix. Use your hands to rub the butter between your fingers, breaking it into smaller bits. Continue until butter is in sizes ranging from rice grains to flattened peas. Do this quickly so that the butter stays cold.

In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg until thoroughly combined. Scrape the buttermilk/egg mix into the dry mixture, and mix until barely combined.

Use a pastry scraper or spatula to transfer the dough to a well floured surface. The dough may be too sticky to handle; if it is, dust it with flour and fold it together a few times. Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Flour your hands and pat each piece of dough into a disk about 3/4 inch thick and 7 inches in diameter. (Note: this makes 8 large scones. If serving a crowd, divide into 4 smaller circles)

Cover one disk with jam. Top with the other disk and press down gently so the dough settles into the jam. Brush the dough lightly with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Use a sharp knife to slice the circle into 8 triangular wedges like a pie. Carefully place the wedges on the baking sheet, leaving a few inches between them.

Bake the scones for 22-26 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. The scones are ready when their tops are golden brown and some of the jam has bubbled over onto the pan. To keep the scones from sticking to the pan, slide a thin spatula underneath them while they're still warm and move them to a baking rack.

From:Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce

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