Good to the Grain

I like to start my mornings with a good cookbook. I usually make breakfast and coffee and pick out some reading material. I know it's weird to look at food while eating food, I don't know what that's all about. I swear I enjoy breakfast more when it is accompanied by an inspiring cookbook.
Lately I've been reading "Good to the Grain" by Kim Boyce. Her book showcases all those lovely flours that most of us don't really know what to do with. What I like about this book is that it is coming from a taste, not purely health food, perspective on whole grains. She has a chapter for each different kind of flour which includes recipes that really capture the specific characteristics of that flour flavor, texture, etc. Her organization is also great because most of us don't have quinoa, teff, amaranth, and spelt flour hanging around at all times, so if you have a sack of buckwheat flour you can simply flip to that chapter and get baking. This way you can get a feel for each flour individually, learn how to work with it, and really let it shine.
I had a bag of buckwheat flour on hand, so I gave her Figgy Buckwheat Scones a whirl. However, I didn't have figs and they're expensive, but we do have jars and jars of homemade apple butter, so I used that instead. These turned out lovely, not super sweet, rich, and homey. I do think they would be even better with the fig butter because the flavors of buckwheat and figs are so similar, but in a pinch these would also turn out great with a good berry jam as well.

Figgy Buckwheat Scones

dry mix:
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt

wet mix:
4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups heavy cream

1 cup fig butter (hollar at me if you want the recipe for this, ok?)

1. Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring back into the bowl any bits of grain or other ingredients that may remain in the sifter.
2. Add the butter to the dry mixture. Rub the butter between your fingers, breaking it into smaller bits. Continue rubbing until the butter is coarsely ground and feels like grains of rice. The faster you do this, the more the butter will stay solid, which is important for the success of the recipe.
3. Add the cream and gently mix it into the flour with a spatula until the dough is just combined.
4. Use a pastry scraper or spatula to transfer the dough onto a well-floured surface. It will be sticky, so flour you hands and pat the dough into a rectangle. Grab a rolling pin and roll the dough into a rectangle that is 8 inches wide, 16 inches long, and 3/4 inch thick. If at any time the dough rolls off in a different direction, use your hands to square the corners and pat it back into shape. As you're rolling, periodically run a pastry scraper or spatula underneath to loosen the dough, flour the surface, and continue rolling. This keeps the dough from sticking. Flour the top of the dough if the rolling pin is sticking.
5. Spread the fig butter all over the dough. Roll the long edge of the dough up, patting the dough as you roll so that it forms a neat log 16 inches long. Roll the finished log so that the seam is on the bottom and the weight of the roll seals the edge.
6. Use a sharp knife to slice the log in half. Put the halves on a baking sheet or plate, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. (The dough can be kept, covered, in refrigerator for 2 days.) While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
7. After 30 minutes, take both logs out of the refrigerator and cut each half into 6 equal pieces about 1 1/4 inches wide. Place each scone flat, with the spiral of the fig butter facing up, on a baking sheet, 6 to a sheet. Give the scones a squeeze to shape them into rounds.
8. Bake for 38 to 42 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. The scones are ready to come out when their undersides are golden brown. They are best eaten warm from the oven or later that same day.

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