After a year of getting used to Kurt’s kidney, I decided I would become more involved with Ken’s middle school and I put my name on the volunteer list the PTA had set out at their table on Back To School Night. Previously, I’ve been a “how much do I write the check for?” kind of supporter, much like my working physician parents were with my and my sister’s school events. So far I have volunteered to screen 7th graders to identify vision and hearing issues, to coordinate the quarterly Teacher Appreciation Breakfasts (aka “Chomp ‘N’ Chats”) and the year-end teachers’ luncheon, and to speak at Career Day. (I have ten days to become reacquainted with PowerPoint for the Career Day presentation).
Tomorrow is the first Chomp ‘n’ Chat so I’ll be heading over to Ken’s school this afternoon to rearrange the library tables, prep the coffee urns and double-check for any cutlery and paper products we may need. I have to say that I am impressed with the level of response from the parents; I built an extensive continental breakfast menu because the last CNC served only water and muffins and that didn’t seem very appreciative to me. My breakfast included coffee (with Splenda, sugar and cream), bottled water, OJ, muffins, coffee cakes/danish/loaf cakes, doughnuts, bagels and cream cheese, fruit and yogurt cups.
With such a long list of wants, I was slightly apprehensive about sending the list to the smaller coordinating group to vet, but they all gave it a thumbs-up (but maybe that’s because I also volunteered to coordinate the effort). Thanks to a recommendation from one of the group members, I found a really cool tool, Signup Genius, that let me automate the entire signup process. I highly recommend it if you have to manage events that involve group participation. Volunteers sign up for items or time (I needed food, utensils and bodies to help setup and clear); the app will send reminders as well as any changes to the lists.
Withing 24 hours of sending out the link to all the 7th and 8th grade parents, we had three-quarters of the slots filled; it felt great to see that the families, many of which are comprised of two full-time working parents, found the time and resources to help with the event. My foodie side was thrilled with the variety of treats that would be available Friday morning!
I’m going to make the caramel apple cake (see previous posts) this evening for the breakfast, and since I know the boys will grouse about how I make “yummy food” for everyone but them (yes, this is a recurring theme), I’m also making a sheet of oatmeal scones. (I’m planning to stop by the grocery store after the breakfast setup to buy a jar of clotted cream).
Oatmeal scones may sound boring and possibly unappetizing to many of you, but these are fantastic. They’re like the ones in the UK, slightly sweet and biscuit-like, the antithesis to the ones here, which I find either hockey-puck hard or cloyingly muffin-sweet. This is yet another lost-but-found-on-the-internet recipe and interestingly, from the same America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Illustrated crew.
The dough is basically a biscuit dough, so to be successful, DO NOT OVER-HANDLE the dough. I have massive hands (think Lana from Archer), so I try to be very quick and light with the patting and forming of the mixed dough.
Here’s the list of ingredients:
Oatmeal Scones (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Illustrated)
- 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (you can use the quick cook kind, too, but I like the texture of the old-fashioned)
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup cream
- 1 extra large egg
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached AP flour
- 1/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 2 tsps baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 10 Tb cold unsalted butter, diced into small cubes
Here’s my stuff. Naturally, I didn’t have cream, but I always have half-and-half, so I used a 1/2 cup to replace the milk/cream mix. I also whisked the flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl to combine.
First, I preheated the oven to 375 degrees because I needed to toast the oats. I spread them onto a rimmed baking sheet and baked them til they were slightly brown. This took about 9 minutes. I set them aside to cool, then removed 2 Tb to use when rolling out the dough. I also set out another baking sheet and lined it with one of my thin silicone sheets.
In the meantime, I measured the half-and-half into a one cup measuring cup and added the egg, whisking to combine. I set aside about 2 Tb to use as a glaze (with the extra sugar) before baking.
I next added the cold cubed butter into the flour mix and used a pastry cutter to work in the butter til it resembled cornmeal. Every now and then I had to push the bigger clumps of butter off the pastry cutter and work them into the flour. The goal is to make sure the butter and flour mix in tiny flakes which results in tender, layered scone.
Once the butter and flour were ready, I stirred in the cooled oats, less the 2 TB I had reserved. Then I quickly mixed in the egg mixture, just til the dough combines; it’s okay if there are clumps– you’re looking to form a semi-cohesive mass without overworking the dough. (This is the opposite of what you do with bread dough, which is why I tend to have issues with biscuits).
I scattered half the reserved oats onto my cutting board, dumped out the mass of dough, then sprinkled the rest of the oatmeal on top. Then I quickly and gently patted the dough into a circle about 1 inch thick.
I took my bench scraper and cut the circle into 8 triangles and placed them on the prepared baking sheet. Using a small pastry brush, I brushed the tops of each scone with the egg wash and sprinkled sugar on top. I used big, red and white sugar.
I baked the scones til they were golden, like biscuits; this took 13 minutes in my oven. I let the scones cool for about 5 minutes on the sheet, then removed them to further cool on wire racks.
Then Ken made a big pot of tea and assembled the goods:
It was a great evening treat! Kurt even asked if there were any left for him to have with his AM coffee…