Honey, Date + Thyme Scones
Sometimes, on a rainy day, all you want to do is bake. Actually, that’s a little bit of a lie, because usually I find an excuse to bake something that nobody needs almost every day regardless of the weather. But rain provides an even better excuse, because admittedly I get my kicks in life from the knowledge that others are forced to face the cold and blistering day en route to work whilst I am at home being warm and toasty and bundled up, drinking tea and eating scones. Cruel perhaps, but true, and I’m certain that others also enjoy partaking in a little smugness when they find themselves in similar situations. We have loads and loads of thyme growing in our garden and I really can’t get enough of it. It’s aromatic, a little sweet and a little bitter and even maybe a little bit smoky. And now I’ve discovered, almost accidentally, that thyme gets even more excited when countered by the mellow sweetness of honey and the soft chewiness of dates. Of course scones are best shared with your best friend, a cup of tea and some light gossiping, but these are also particularly nice when you are home alone wearing your slippers and watching the rain.
Honey and Date and Thyme Scones
Three cups of self raising flour
Eighty grams of butter, cubedOne cup of milk (give or take)
Two overflowing tablespoons of honey
A scant cup of chopped pitted dates
One big handful of fresh thyme (most leaves removed, a few sprigs remaining)
Preheat your oven to 200° fan forced (Celsius, that is) . First, sift the flour into a big bowl. (If you don’t sift it, I won’t judge you, because I got lazy and didn’t actually do it myself, but my mum always tells me to sift the flour so I better pass on the message) Then use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour until you have a consistency somewhat akin to breadcrumbs. When that’s settled, make a well in the middle of your faux-breadcrumbs and add the milk and honey gradually, cutting the mixture together with a knife, to form a soft – a little sticky even – dough. Fold the dates and the thyme leaves into the dough, too. Then roll it out on a lightly floured surface with your now lightly floured hands. Knead the dough a little, but not too much, and then using a lightly floured rolling pin – or just your hands – flatten it out until its about three centimeters thick. Then use your scone cutter – or a clean glass – to cut out circles. Place a sprig of thyme on each scone. Then bake them, close together, for around twenty to twenty-five minutes. You could allow them to cool down a little, or while your scones are still steaming hot from the oven, you could just cut them open then and there and drown them in a really good butter.