Friday, October 26, 2007

On the Topic of Scones and Job Security...

Well, it's another dreary day here in New York and I'm convinced that I must make the time to whip up a batch of hearty soup. You know, the kind that just begs for a hunk of crusty bread for dipping.
First things first, though. On the topic of job security (and yes, I am employed outside my home -the paycheck is necessary to support more than just my baking habit): I look forward to the few days each week when I bring baked goods to work. On a basic level, it brings joy to hungry co-workers. But on a more intimate level, sharing ones baked goods is so much more. For those of you out there who bake and share, you know what I mean. My co-workers joke that I bake for job security. Perhaps that is the small return on the initial investment. But, sharing ones food provides a security that extends far beyond the limits of employment.
We all seek approval and in my humble opinion, there is no greater satisfaction than knowing I had a small role in improving someones day (and filling their bellies).

After a few weeks of cookie madness, I decided to deviate from my most recent cookbook acquisition (Big Fat Cookies by Elinor Klivans) and reinvent the scone. I probably know what you're thinking ("Scones? Aren't those the dry, crumbly things they eat in England?") but, before you pass judgement, read on.
A few years ago, while I was employed as a preschool teacher, I was presented with a lovely, heartfelt gift from one of the moms. It was a small batch of home-baked scones. The tag read:
"Apricot-Cream Cheese Scones." I can already hear the disgruntled sighs from those of you who are purists, probably thinking "Cream cheese? Real scones don't have cream cheese!"
Well, be still my scone-hating heart, if those weren't the best scones I had ever tasted (sans beverage--in my opinion, the true test of a scone--can you eat it dry, without choking?), then I don't know what was. They were moist, yet scone-like and the addition of sweet/tart apricots with a slightly crunchy sugar-topping made me hanker for seconds. For weeks I begged this lovely mom for the recipe. She kindly supplied me with the recipe and another batch of scones to hold me over until I had time to bake. It was the humble spirit of this scone that inspired me to play around with that recipe.
My efforts must have been successful because I brought my first batch of Cherry-Vanilla Cream Cheese Scones to work on a Tuesday and I'm told they didn't make it to Wednesday. I have been craving those scones since the tupperware left my hands. But I am inspired to deviate, simply because two (expensive) cans of almond paste that sit idly in my cupboard are haunting me. My intent is to create an over-the-top almond scone that uses almonds, almond extract, almond paste and perhaps some ground almonds as a substitute for some of the flour (this would qualify it as a "healthy snack," right? :).
So, stop by again won't you? I'll post the original recipe for Apricot Cream Cheese Scones and I'll report back on my experiment with Almond Scones.
And in the meantime,
Make Life Delicious.
Share Your Food.




Michelle

7 comments:

Jeanine said...

Hi there.
I really enjoyed your post. I must admit it left me salivating at the thought of such delicious treats.
I do however, have issue with coworkers reaping the rich rewards of your labor.
As a sibling I have bupkis. You may have to ante up at the holidays. Freezing a sample of each item you post sounds like a fabulous idea to me.
How come I never had a coworker like you. At best I had a fellow employee in the office that kept a bag of candy in their desk. On a rare occasion they'd break out the bag and say help yourself.
Those almond scones sound delicious. I've never been much of a fruit flavored pastry lover. The one and only exception to that would be apple pie.
Keep us posted on how they turn out and the coworker feedback.
Keep baking, keep cooking it's good for the soul.
"Chow" Bella,
Jeanine

Adrienne said...

I'm with Jeanine! It's great that your coworkers are enjoying your talents, but the Massachusetts contingent of your family have not seen so much as a biscotti or an espresso caramel (hint, hint). I plan to pass on your blog address to all my foodie friends and I'll be reading, so I know what to request for the next family gathering. (It's apple / cranberry season here so send us some suggestions.)Send samples!
- A

CurePdd said...

And I thought I was quite charming whipping in with my 2 boxes of Dunkin Donuts for my coworkers the other days *cringe*. While the thought of baking scares me more then some of the phrases my children have picked up from the television show Drake and Josh, I eagerly await your successful recipes, and hope one day I can closely bake something that resembles some of your creations...until then I will vicariously live through your writings, and share this blog with my list :)

kgg said...

As the mom that whipped up a batch of organic potato-leek soup on Wednesday night, it's great too see I'm not the only one...
I look forward to trying out your recipes & reading your blog...
-kgg

Midge said...

I am a true believer that you can be both a dreamer and a doer. Your dreams give you the imagination. And, your talent allows you to follow your dreams. Every endeavor is successful because you learn from your experiences. You are rich and famous with your family. We love you and are so proud.

Love,
Mom

Madalon said...

To Jeanine's point re: siblings getting bupkis (thanks for saving me the trouble of looking up how to spell that word): May I point out that I lugged a bag of Callebaut chocolate bits in my carry-on baggage, through a crowded airport and on a solidly booked holiday flight from Chicago to contribute to your confectionary endeavors, and still have tasted nary a truffle? How can I apply for a job at your workplace?

Seriously, Mish, your coworkers are incredibly lucky. I know from having tasted the fruits of your efforts at family dinners.

Which leads me to my next question: Are we related? Somehow, I missed the gene for the Joy of Cooking. Which isn't to say I don't share your passion for food; my physique is ample evidence that I do. But it's a passion for consuming, not preparing food. And I know I'm not alone. If I were, it would be a lot easier to get a table at a four-star restaurant on a Saturday night.

So, I'd like to suggest you reframe your question, "Dreamer or Doer?" You're clearly the latter: You click off the Food Channel, fetch ingredients from the market, and put your passion to work. That there are no cameras in your kitchen or crowds lined up to buy your wares doesn't change the fact that you're creating--and creating spectacular results at that. All it means is that you're one of the best-kept secrets in cooking. And a select few of us are fortunate enough to know you (if not work with you).

Still Truffleless,
M.A.

P.S. Speaking of cameras in the kitchen, why not post a video demonstration on your site? Look what it's done for the Spatulatta kids.

Laura said...

I'm with "Midge's" comments!!! You can be both, do both, and you have ALWAYS known how to beautifully weave both dreaming and doing in a way that inspires others. I am laughing and smiling so much as I read your blog. You are so right about "the crock pot." (said in hushed tones)It definately is a love/hate appliance. Even I, queen of all things drive thru, break out the crock pot every now and then when the family has grown weary of micro fast food and is wanting me to slow it down a bit. Regarding the dreaming and doing question, you got me thinking; what about a 50 minute therapy session (by a clinical social worker) followed by Almond scones to soothe all unresolved issues?? Dream on.....
Laura