There is something enchanting about Southern snow. The bleak, russet landscape suddenly draped in winter white. As if under the spell of a soothing lullaby, the earth is still and quiet, tucked safely under a blanket of snow. And we, the lucky spectators, hold our breath, taking in this magical, rare moment.
A mix of snow and ice gently crunch and squeak under our boots as we venture out into our own little tundra. Michael dares to glide across a glassy puddle, completely frozen, or at least he thought so as the muddy pool began to give way to the weight of his body, shattering like thin brittle underfoot. I shrill, giggle and stomp my feet in vain, attempting to get warm. My entire face has become completely numb and delirium has possibly set in at this point. I wave down my adventurous husband and declare (only with my eyeballs mind you) that it’s time to go home.
As I sit in the warmth of my loft, I begin thinking about how baking and Southern snow remind me of each other. Soft, white puffs of flour rise and fall as I cut out rounds of dough, which resembles the powdery snowflakes frolicking right outside my window. A blanket of snow retells of the tender hue of buttermilk streaming over all living things, nourishing them. Then there is the sweet steam that wafts and waves from a freshly baked good, much like the steam that lifts from my lips in the icy cold air. Both wonderful. Both magical. Both have the ability to give great joy and warm the heart in its own way. And I rest here with my piping hot scones, savoring my sweet day spent in the Southern snow.
Recipe: Sourwood Honey Scones
Note: If you have made biscuits before, you can make scones. Scones are really a sweet biscuit if that helps!
Whipping honey intensifies its floral taste. Just place the honey in a mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk on the highest speed for 10-15 minutes. If you don’t have time to whip the honey, you can certainly use honey straight out of the jar for this recipe.
Also, you can use two knives or a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour, but I enjoy using my hands and being able to feel the mixture coming together.
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
½ cup of granulated sugar
¾ cup of buttermilk, plus more for brushing
¼ cup of sourwood honey (or any other local honey), whipped (see note above)
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together in a mixing bowl.
Whisk ¾ cup of buttermilk and honey together in a small bowl, just until the honey is incorporated into the buttermilk.
With your fingers rub the butter into the flour mixture until there are no pieces larger than the size of a pea remaining. Stir in the buttermilk and honey mixture with a wooden spoon just until combined.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and create a rectangle with the dough with the narrow side facing you. Fold the dough in thirds onto itself. Rotate the dough and fold the dough into thirds again. These folds are creating lovely layers. Pat the dough evenly until the dough is about 1-inch thick. With a biscuit cutter (I use the top of a wide-mouthed Mason jar) cut 8 circles and freeform the last one with the scraps left over (chef’s treat!)
Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and brush the tops with more buttermilk. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Enjoy!