Today kicks off what promises to be a pretty hard week for our family. As a military family, we’re faced with times like these more often than we care for, but it is a necessary evil. What isn’t a part of the life is undue stress, so when I’m looking down the barrel of a whole lotta poppycock (for lack of more colorful word), I make recipes like these banana oatmeal scones. I vote for ease and taste over screaming like a banshee because my soufflé fell; in other words, I pick my battles.
Scones are one of my favorite breakfast/snack foods. I enjoy making them because they’re versatile, easy to put together and they freeze beautifully. The most common scone recipe made in my kitchen has to be the cranberry-orange scone found in my cookbook. However, this particular recipe is a treat born out of sheer desperation.
Whenever our unit has a group of Soldiers deploy, many of the spouses do what they can to make sure their last meal with their unit and family is good, if not amazing. I, personally, try to make sure they don’t start their journey on an empty stomach. Sometimes I have enough time to cater their deployment ceremony, often I only have time to do a continental breakfast or lunch, or a heavy snack (you know- life and all). No matter what, the Soldiers in our unit walk away from their families with full hearts and full bellies. This particular time was no different, except that I over-bought. I bought an obscene amount of bananas! (Not like they won’t be able to get bananas in the Middle East or anything!)
If you’ve had a chance to read the cookbook, you know that the girl-Twink has a severe aversion to bananas. I also won’t choose a banana as my preferred fruit to snack on, so we had bananas browning and not enough people to eat them. While I am a fan of banana-nut bread, I was growing bored of it, so I opted, instead, to create a scone recipe in order to use up the remaining bananas that the boy-child and Solider couldn’t get down.
Now, while scones are a very popular tea-time treat on the other side of the pond, they’ve only just recently received a warm welcome amongst those of us in the U.S. I had my first scone in Ireland and immediately fell for the not-too-sweet flavor and texture- which was evocative of the good ol’ American biscuit. What I appreciated most were the spreads my hosts offered as an accompaniment. Clotted cream, lemon curd, marmalade…I felt like Paddington Bear…only, less cuddly. But, I became a die-hard fan of the bread and set about formulating my own recipe.
The sweet spot when making scones (or biscuits, for that matter), is making sure you have cold, cold, cooooold ingredients and not over-working your dough. Anything made with flour (even cake flour) has the potential to develop gluten which is what makes bread chewy and scones dense, instead of light and fluffy. Mixing just until your wet and dry come together and having your ingredients chill out in the fridge before mixing will darn near guarantee your scones are pillows of yumminess.
This recipe calls for a mix of two flours in addition to the rolled oats. When making scones I like to have a hearty bread, but I don’t want them to be tough and dense. I achieve the proper crumb (or interior texture of a bread) by combining bread flour (higher protein content=chewy bread) with all purpose flour (so-so protein content= great for all purposes– get it?). This is my preference because I’m all about “one and done”. Meaning: I don’t want to feel hungry an hour after I’ve eaten breakfast- nor do I want the Twinks or the Soldier to be hungry shortly thereafter…I’m not running a short-order cafe, you know what I’m sayin’? But, if you don’t have bread flour on hand, just use all-purpose flour instead.
Scones are not overly sweet. However, these are sweeter than most because they contain the sweet, ripened bananas, some sugar and maple syrup. All of these sugars may cause your scone batter to be stickier than the standard scones- that’s okay though. All you need to do is add a little bit more flour to get the proper consistency. The turbinado sugar (or sugar in the raw) is usually found in the same section as regular granulated sugar. If you prefer to bake without it, just omit it. You can also substitute the yogurt for sour cream if you don’t have any on hand.
When I’m feeling overly indulgent, I add chocolate chips to my scones. In addition to folding them into the dough, I like pushing them right onto the top of the scones after rolling them out and cutting- I’m a greedy like that.
Banana Oatmeal Scones with Maple Glaze
Yield 1 dozen
A classic tea-time treat with a comforting flavor profile.
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup bread flour
1/2 cup rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into very small pieces
1 cup (about 3) mashed, ripe bananas
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tbsp cold water
1/4 cup turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw) for sprinkling
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
pinch of kosher salt
Preheat an oven to 400°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, or spray with baking spray.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, oats, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices. Whisk to combine well.
Cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter or your fingers. The fat should be in chunks no larger than a pea.
In a separate bowl, combine the syrup, cream and the sour cream. Stir well to combine.
Add the mashed bananas and the cream mixture to flour mixture and fold just until the flour is hydrated and the mix comes together. It should be slightly sticky, but if it's very sticky, fold in an additional 1/2 cup of all purpose flour.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll out into a rectangular shape (roughly 9”x13”). Cut the the rectangle into triangles of equal size using a very sharp knife. Transfer onto your sheet pan placing them about an inch apart.
Mix together the egg and the tbsp of water to create an egg wash. Brush each triangle lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle a generous pinch of turbinado sugar onto the tops of each triangle.
Bake the scones for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.
While the scones are baking, make the maple glaze by combining the powdered sugar, melted butter, maple syrup and salt in a medium size mixing bowl. Whisk until smooth adding more maple syrup to thin the glaze to your preferred consistency.
Remove the scones from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before drizzling the glaze liberally over each scone.
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