Quick bread delights young and old

Entertaining: Granola scones and strawberries make a perfect casual combination.

August 01, 1999|By Betty Rosbottom | Betty Rosbottom,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

When friends called several days ago saying they would be in town with their children over the weekend, I invited them to come by our house on Sunday afternoon, the only time everyone was free.

I knew the couple and their four youngsters would have eaten lunch, but I still wanted to offer them something to eat during their visit. I went back and forth trying to decide between sweet and savory dishes. Finally, a trip to our local farmers' market helped me make up my mind.

There I found locally grown strawberries that were so sweet and juicy they put the imported ones in the grocery stores to shame. I also picked up a package of homemade granola. Before leaving the market, I figured out what to serve our guests. I would make granola scones garnished with strawberries and some whipped cream.

This is an ideal dessert for casual entertaining. I sliced and arranged the berries in a shallow dish and whipped and refrigerated the cream before everyone arrived. All the ingredients for the scones were measured so that all I had to do was quickly assemble the dough, cut out the scones and bake them for 15 minutes. Served piping hot from the oven, these granola scones were a big hit with kids 6 to 16 as well as with the grown-ups.

Although the perfectly ripened strawberries were a delicious garnish to these scones, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, pitted cherries or a combination of fresh fruits would be equally good adornments. And, if you would prefer to use the scones as breakfast fare rather than as a dessert, try them dotted with a little butter and spread with your favorite jam.

Granola Scones With Strawberries and Cream

Serves 6

SCONES:

1 1/2 cups unbleached flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup good-quality granola (see note)

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

1 egg, lightly beaten

3 tablespoons milk, plus more if needed

GARNISH:

1 quart ripe strawberries, hulled and sliced sugar for dusting strawberries mint sprigs

1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped until firm, and refrigerated

To prepare scones, place flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and granola in mixing bowl. Add butter, and with electric mixer, 2 forks or pastry blender, cut butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles oatmeal flakes.

Whisk together egg and 3 tablespoons milk and add to dry ingredients. Mix until soft dough is formed. If mixture is very dry, add small amount of additional milk.

Lightly flour work surface and roll dough into circle 3/4 inch thick. Using 2-inch cookie cutter, cut out circles. Gather scraps together and roll out and cut into circles again. You should get 10 to 12 scones.

Place rounds on ungreased baking sheet. Bake on center shelf at 400 degrees until golden, about 15 minutes. Watch carefully so that bottoms do not burn. Remove and cool 2 to 3 minutes.

To serve, split scones with knife and arrange in napkin-lined basket. Sprinkle sliced berries with sugar to taste and mound in bowl. Garnish with mint sprigs. Place whipped cream in small serving bowl.

To eat, mound berries on scone halves and add dollop of whipped cream.

Note: Granola which includes dried fruits (such as raisins and/or cherries) and nuts works well in this recipe.

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