Friday, January 9, 2015

Banana Walnut Scones

For most people, time has become a supreme luxury.  Time to linger over a delicious and wholesome breakfast, engage in fun or stimulating conversation, savor every last drop of your favorite freshly brewed coffee.  We are often in a rush from the moment we awaken to the moment we drop off to bed for the evening.  When we do find some extra time, we do our best to catch up on precious sleep, monitor the comings and goings of loved ones and perhaps even spend some good time in the kitchen.

Weekend brunch is a good way to remedy all this.  It’s a great time to relax and enjoy whatever promise the day may bring and prepare something fun and delicious that perhaps errs on the side of extreme pleasure.  For me, this can mean some wonderful freshly made granola, fruit and yeasted pastries, a very nice coffee cake, biscotti, some scones or warm biscuits. 

Today’s bake is a pretty simple but wholesome Banana Walnut Scone.  Yes, this is another opportunity to take those ripening bananas and do something productive!  It’s the usual scone mix of flour, sugar, leavening, butter and dairy to which I’ve added a couple of ripe bananas, a pinch of spice and molasses and some nuts.  Whips up in no time, leaving you to relax and proceed to enjoy every precious moment of your morning.

Bench notes:
- Make sure your brown sugar is lump free or it melts in pockets, leaving holes in your finished pastry.  To prevent lumps, store brown sugar in an airtight container or place a piece of bread or apple in the bag.  Some people say storing in a Ziploc bag in the freezer also works but I’ve never tried it.  You’d need to bring it to room temperature because excessive cold will discourage the baking properties of leavening or yeast.
- Do your best to handle the dough very little to ensure maximum tenderness.
- Scones are best enjoyed the same day.

Banana Walnut Scones
Makes 8 scones

2 cups (10 oz) flour                                    
3 tablespoons (39 grams) granulated sugar                                       
3 tablespoons (39 grams) dark brown sugar, packed                                               
2 teaspoons baking powder                                                                                
1/2 teaspoon baking soda                                                                                               
scant 1/2 teaspoon salt                                                                                                    
1 teaspoon cinnamon                                                       
pinch nutmeg
1 cup (about 2 medium) ripe bananas, coarsely mashed                
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (3 oz) cold buttermilk            
1 tablespoon (16 grams) molasses                                                                              
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 oz (6 tablespoons) unsalted cold butter                                             
1/2 cup (1 3/4 oz) walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
1 oz (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted for brushing the tops
1 tablespoon sugar + pinch cinnamon, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

Whisk the flour, granulated and brown sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices until completely blended. 

Mash the bananas, leaving some small lumps, and combine with the buttermilk, molasses and vanilla. 

Cut the cold butter into 1/2” pieces and add to the flour mixture.  Toss thoroughly to coat with flour.  Use your fingers to pinch the butter into small thin flakes about the size of a dime, tossing as you go to continue to coat the butter thoroughly with flour.  Make a well in the center and add the banana mixture and walnuts.  Stir gently with a fork until it starts to come together and the liquid seems fairly absorbed.  The dough will look a little shaggy.  Gather the loose and lumpy dough and knead it very gently just 2 or 3 times until it holds together.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.  Gather and gently pat together into a circle about 7” in diameter and about 1” thick.  Using a lightly floured bench scraper or sharp knife, cut the dough into 8 equal wedges.  Lift them with a metal spatula and transfer to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2” apart.  Brush the tops with melted butter and sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar.

Bake until firm to the touch and golden brown, about 14 - 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool.


Lexi said...

Do you suppose these would work using thawed frozen bananas?

pastry studio said...

Hi, Lexi. You know, I've never tried it but I think it probably should.

Sujata Varadarajan (Sujata Malhan) said...

I always enjoy reading and trying your recipes, in India. I'd love a simple and tasty recipe for granola as I can't buy it easily. Thanks

pastry studio said...

Thank you so much, Sujata. I've actually been experimenting with granola recipes lately. It's so easy to make and store. I'll post one if I come up with an especially good one.

saturday mike said...

I had all the ingredients for this, so I made them this morning. They're DELICIOUS! And perfect with some butter and jam.

pastry studio said...

Awesome, saturday mike! They're fast and simple but hit the right spot for banana lovers. Cheers!