It’s the simple things…

by Chef Deb Traylor

Since I’m a chef, people tend to ask me a lot of questions about food and, lately, about Ginger and Baker.

Some ask about my culinary background and training. Sometimes it’s cooking questions or technical tips. Sometimes, the question is about my favorite range, knives or cookware.

But without a doubt, the two most-asked questions are:

“What’s your specialty?”

“What’s your favorite thing to cook?”

It’s always hard for me to answer, yet I know, odds are, I’ll be asked one or both of those questions when I meet someone for the first time.

So… do I tell them I have classic French training? Do I tell them I believe in farm fresh Colorado-style cooking? Or that I make a lot of my own soft cheeses when I have time? Or that I’ve named my sourdough starter (her name is ‘Mamma’) and I spend endless hours trying to perfect the flavor and texture of simple, naturally fermented breads? Or that I’ve spent the last two and half years thinking of every imaginable form of pie, both sweet and savory, that is humanly possible? Or that I try to find new and useful ways to use plants from our farm… root to blossom? For a short time, I just said, “I do it all. I love it ALL. It’s all my favorite!”

If I only pick one of the above responses, it doesn’t convey the depth of my interest or how excited I am about food, my craft or Ginger and Baker. If I list all the things I specialize in, most people’s eyes glaze over, and that’s never a good look. 🙂

So, lately, when asked about my specialty or my favorite thing to cook, here’s what I’ve realized. I love honest food. The kind of food that requires solid technique and provides excellent flavor from the fewest ingredients possible. I love cooking that does more with less. And my favorite thing to cook is anything that makes people happy.

As we move forward at Ginger and Baker, I hope you can see that we do indeed love it ALL, but when it comes right down to it we simply want to make honest, excellent food that makes people happy.

So with that in mind, here’s one of our favorite, tried-and-true scone recipes. We adapted a classic from King Arthur Flour and added a (lemon) twist. Just a few simple ingredients come together in a crumbly, tender, flavorful scone that’s perfectly happy just as it is or with a bit of butter, jam or lemon curd.

Lemon Cream Scones

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 ½  tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon (or orange) zest
  • additional cream, for brushing on scones
  • coarse sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. In a separate bowl whisk together cream, vanilla and zest. Slowly pour cream mixture over flour while stirring gently, until dough forms. If it’s too dry, add additional cream, a tablespoon at a time, until dough comes together.

On a lightly floured counter, divide dough in half and use your hands to shape each half into a 5-inch circle that’s about ¾-inch thick. Brush each circle with cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Place each dough round on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and cut each into 6 wedges. Separate the wedges, leaving about an inch between each wedge.

Place the pan in the freezer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Bake scones for 14 to 15 minutes, until golden brown and baked through. Serve warm.

Store leftover scones, tightly covered, at room temperature. Lightly wrap in foil and reheat at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes before serving.

Flavor Variations. Omit the lemon zest and:

  • Fold in 3 Tbsp. dried fruit after drizzling in cream
  • Add ¼ cup chopped white chocolate and 2 Tbsp. chopped strawberries. Note: I like to roast the strawberries first in a 375 degree oven until they dry out a little and toast slightly. Okay, okay, now it’s not completely simple, but those little roasted strawberries are so good! 🙂

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