My three-year-old grandson sat on the kitchen counter stool. It’s a favorite place for little boys who want to be bigger than they are. To sit on the stool at the counter is to sit shoulder to shoulder with his uncles. All the little ones strive to climb that mountain and prevail. I stood across from him making lunch. He kept going back and forth, calling me “Mommy” in one breath and “Muddy” in another breath.
“I’m not your Mommy,” I pointed out. “I’m your Muddy. I’m Ava’s Muddy, Norah’s Muddy, Brin’s Muddy, Augie’s Muddy – and your Muddy.”
“Your daddy calls me Mommy,” I said, from across the kitchen counter – because don’t all the big conversations happen either in the car or across the kitchen counter?
He’d shake his head, smiling his playful smile, “NNNnnnoooo.”
About that time, his uncle came through the kitchen door from one of his college classes. “I’m Uncle Cam’s Mommy, too. I’m Uncle Caleb’s Mommy. Uncle Barrett’s Mommy. Uncle Christian’s Mommy. . . and I’m Henry’s Muddy!”
“Yeah,” Uncle Cam said. “She’s my Mommy.”
Then we devolved into the who’s daddy, who’s Papaw and who’s an uncle!
I’ve decided that to a three year old, that’s a dizzying conversation. I found my head spinning about it. I think my grandson just didn’t want to be left out, kind of like he wanted to be in my Muddy Club and my Mommy Club, He’s already a member of a great Mommy Club with his brother Augie! However, I will say that to be in Papaw’s Club is a spectacular place to be. Papaw? I’ve got to tip my hat to a Poppin’s quote here:
“The Cream of the Crop,
the Tip of the Top,
It’s [Papaw} and there we’ll stop.” ~ Bert, Mary Poppins.
This little guy wakes up asking to go to Muddy and Papaw’s – but I’m not fooled: Muddy is just the doorway to Papaw! Yes! Papaw is Tip of the Top. . . but Muddy’s got Muddy Cakes, Kitchen Sink Cookies. . . . and scones – all sorts of scones, and she runs the world on the other side of that counter.
One day, this grandson will grow up, bake my scones for his kiddos, and say, “These are my Muddy’s scones. She used to make them for me all the time.”
When I started making scones, I was a mom of two – maybe three. I knew I had a hit recipe on my hands, thanks to Martha Stewart, when the mother of my son’s friend called, wanting the recipe, because her son so enjoyed them at our house.
Before 2000, most scone recipes were plain, topped with jams and butters. My scone recipe along with recipes for jams are at Blue Cotton Mom’s Scrumptious Scones (click link here for my basic recipe).
I’m calling these 21st Century Scones Muddy Scones, just like moms evolve into grandmothers (Muddy in my case). Fewer napkins needed with these 21st Century scones (jam can be messy). Good for on-the-go eating, they’re now for anytime: tucked into a lunch box for school or Mother’s Day Out, after-school snacks, game-day snacks, still good over a cup of coffee or tea with a friend at any time, book clubs, small-group gatherings, cook outs, wedding showers, rehearsal dinners.
These 21st Century scones allow for less mess and more creativity. Let me explain about scone creativity – it’s all about choices: Star Ingredient Choices, Zest Choices, flavor choices for drizzle.
- Star Ingredient Choices for Sweet Scones: Fruit (pears, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, pineapple, cherries), Candy (Chocolate Chips, M&Ms, Chopped up candy bars of your choice), Rough Chopped Pretzels.
- Zest Choices: Orange Zest, Lemon Zest, Lime Zest
- Flavors: orange, lemon or lime juice, liqueurs like chambord or cointreau but be careful of using a liqueur that discolors your scone.
Muddy’s Pear Scones
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Aspen Mulling Cider Spice, Original Blend
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/3 Cup Butter, cut up (5.3 tablespoons)- cold
1 Cup Whipping Cream – cold
Zest and Juice of one Orange
2 diced green Anjou Pears, skin on
2 1/8 inch biscuit cutter
Prep fruit and zest ahead of time.
Combine all dry ingredients: flour, sugar, Aspen Mulling Cider Spice, baking powder and salt. Whisk to blend.
Add cold butter (not room temperature) with a pastry blender until crumbly.
IMPORTANT to READ BEFORE YOU ADD WHIPPING CREAM: While cakes need a good two minute mixing (you definitely need a mixer for a cake) and muffins need a less thorough mixing (for example, hand mixing works and you still want to see a small bit of white flour), Scones demand even less mixing. Imagine a teenager who keeps saying, “Don’t Touch Me” – and you get the idea.
Make a small indention into the dry mix.
Add juice and zest from 1/2 of orange (Do not mix yet)
Add 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
Using a spatula, turn only until the flower has moistened 1/2 the dry mixture. Turn onto a floured counter top or pastry mat. The Old Testament Girl in me is usually terrified at this part – because it looks like such a mess. This is where you start gently hugging the dough from the sides into the shape of a circular cake, 3/4 the height of the biscuit cutter. Don’t worry if some fall apart while cutting. Set aside to gently press for a second round of cutting. They will seem very crumbling, but when baked, the cold butter melts, solidifying its shape. You should be able to compare the first round of scones cut with the last scone that has been pressed and handled more and see a difference in the texture after baking.
- Bake at 425° for 5 minutes to get that golden-on-top look, reduce to 375 and cook for 12 more minutes or until golden brown. (Cook time varies for convection ovens and regular ovens. Check after the 12 minute mark and then take out when the top turns lightly golden.)
While cooling, make an orange zest drizzle. Add powdered sugar until to remaining orange zest and juice until it reaches a drizzling consistency – not soupy, but a thicker consistency. A plastic, squeezable bottle, like a restaurant ketchup bottle, is the easiest way. Then you can easily store any remaining drizzle for the next batch.