Rhubarb and Vanilla Sugar Scones

rhuarb scones

The original name for these scones was, “Naughty Rhubarb Scones”.  Which is appropriate.  I’ve been a bad girl.

I haven’t been feeling very well (summer colds are evil), so when my parents came to pick up my little guy for an outing, my mother sent me back inside with the simple, firm directive: “Rest.”

rhuarb scones

I have a feeling that by “rest” she meant that I was to take a nap, or maybe lay in bed and read a book and drink tea, or take a shower (or any of the myriad of things that become rarified when you have a thoroughly crazy rambunctious toddler). And I started to do that, but then I remembered that I was going to make these scones. And the more I thought about it, the more those thoughts were along the lines of, “I need these right NOW.”

I have a bit of a weakness for homemade scones.  Done right, they are the perfect combination of flaky layers of just-sweet-enough dough, and sometimes, if you’re lucky, little pockets of some kind of jammy, dripping fruit. And if that fruit happens to be one of your favorite harbingers of early summer, then all the better.

rhubarb scones

Well, these scones fit all those criteria and more.  They’re light, like good scones should be, but with the full taste of all those glorious layers of butter. The bits of rhubarb create pockets of puddly tartness, that kind of melt into the layers of dough, making any thought of adding jam redundant.  These aren’t super sweet, only lightly so, from the sprinkle of vanilla sugar dusted on top.

rhubarb scones

Oh, yes, vanilla sugar.  One of my favorite things.  If you don’t keep some vanilla sugar in your cabinet, you should.  In case you were thinking that making vanilla sugar sounds terribly involved, rest assured.  Here is how you do it.  Take a container.  Any container.  Yes, literally, any container. Put some sugar in it. Yes, regular old sugar. Final step, and this is the doozy: Stick in a leftover vanilla bean pod and put the lid back on the container. Yep.  That’s it.  Let is sit for a few days or a few months or however long it takes you to use it up and then do it all over again.

rhubarb scones

And if that doesn’t convince you to give these a try, take this into consideration.  In the time that I’ve been sitting here writing this, I’ve eaten three with my cup of tea. They may not have cured my cold, but at the very least, they brightened my morning. Now off to bed with this naughty girl…

rhubarb scones

Rhubarb and Vanilla Sugar Scones

only slightly adapted from Recipe52

These are really not very sweet, so if you’re into that kind of thing, a smear of butter and strawberry jam would be perfect with these.  I wouldn’t turn down clotted cream, either.  Also, a note on the flour- feel free to use all AP flour if you would rather; I just like the bit of toothsomeness a bit of whole wheat flour adds to scones, but it certainly isn’t necessary.

One more note, then I’m out of your hair: I like to make these by hand.  The original recipe has instructions for using a food processor, if you’d like those. I find that rubbing butter into flour and using my hands to bring together the dough is therapeutic and enjoyable- much more so than spending that time cleaning the parts of a food processor (my least favorite kitchen task!)

4 stalks rhubarb

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup vanilla sugar

3/4 cups heavy cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Slice rhubarb stalks about 1/4 ” thick. In a small bowl, toss with 3 tablespoons of the sugar.

Combine flour, baking powder,and salt together in large bowl.

Add butter to the flour mixture, and rub it into the flour, using your thumbs and forefingers.  Or, if you’re more civilized, you can use a pastry blender.  Do this until the mixture resembles pea-size lumps, then mix in 1/4 cup of the sugar.

Blend in sliced rhubarb, then add the cream and stir until a soft dough forms. (Yep, you guessed it, I use my hands for this part, too.)

Transfer dough to floured surface and divide in half. Flatten each piece into a 6-inch disk and cut each circle into 6 scones.

Arrange on ungreased cookie sheet and sprinkle with remaining sugar.  Bake about 20 minutes or until golden on top.

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