I have a confession to make. For the past couple of weeks, I've been pigging out on strawberries.
Big, fat, ruby-red California strawberries, that is. The kind I've sworn up and down and sideways and back again to avoid, mostly because they're usually watery and flavourless.
This year, though, I just couldn't help it. For one, this year's crop actually seems to taste like proper strawberries, though they still don't come anywhere close to the glory of Ontario berries at their peak.
Yes, I know that strawberries the size of ping pong balls can't possibly have gotten so large through natural means.
And yes, I know that anything that arrives at my doorstep this luscious and beautiful despite having traveled across the better part of a continent should be regarded with great suspicion.
But oh my, is it ever a treat to bite into a ripe berry that tastes of something after months of avoiding those anemic, watery strawberries that plague us the rest of the year. And besides, isn't it technically strawberry season in California right now, which at least makes these somewhat seasonal?
Please, just humour me. It's been a bad month, so a few extra creature comforts are very necessary.
While I'm more than happy to just eat fresh berries either straight up or with a splash of liqueur, a few of them somehow managed to end up in these pretty little scones dotted with chunks of bright red strawberries.
This recipe uses coarse-ground oatmeal to give the scones a slightly denser texture and nuttier flavour than the usual white flour scones, plus a little vanilla and brown sugar for a heady aroma that doubles as instant mood-improver. Trust me, any guilt or stress or frustration you may be feeling will disappear the moment these little golden-brown beauties pop out of the oven.
Of course, you'll get the best results if you inhale these scones still-warm from the oven with a generous slathering of butter and the biggest, frothiest latte you can get your hands on. Hey, when it comes to guilty pleasures, there's no point in half-assing it... right? :)
(And yes, I'll be giving up this nasty little habit of mine as soon as the local berries arrive at the market a couple of weeks from now... hurry up, summer, I'm waiting for you!)
- 1 cup quick-cook oatmeal
- 1½ cups flour
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- Pinch salt
- ¼ cup cold butter, cut into small cubes
- 1 cup roughly chopped strawberries
- 1 egg
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup milk (reserve 1 tbsp)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp demerara sugar
- 2 tbsp quick cook oats
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Using a food processor, process the oats into a coarse flour.
- In a large bowl, stir together the ground oats, flour, brown sugar, baking power and salt. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry cutter or two knives, working until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in strawberries.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, yogurt, milk and vanilla until smooth. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until just barely combined.
- Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and gently knead 5-6 times until you have a soft, stiff dough (don't worry if the strawberries get a little smooshed in the process - that's normal). Carefully shape into a 1" thick round.
- Cut the dough into 8 equally-sized wedges. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Brush tops lightly with remaining 1 tbsp milk, then sprinkle with demerara and oats.
- Bake scones in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.