Life’s endless responsibilities pile up like that laundry I’ve neglected in my drier for nearly a week, yet still I manage to sweep aside time to bake – this time, for The Citrus Menu.
Simple therapy is shuffling through the cabinets and grabbing the flour bag, then pausing and wondering what to do next. Before you know it, the bowl is brimming with scents and flavors, the oven is hot, your mits are on. The paradoxical quietude of the bustle is calming. Your concentration on anything but the overwhelming is soothing. Hands dirty. Countertop dirtier. Soul cleaner.
I worry more than I often betray. As I trace the curve of River Road with my little gold sedan, I pluck thoughts like leaves off the Brazilian Peppers drooping over the pavement and drift into a haze of ifs, what’s, what-ifs, and whens (don’t worry, I’m still attentive to the road. My license has no points caused by these episodes of mental hydroplaning.) Most of my heart is content with life: the laughter trickling up my soul and bursting out of my lips, the 7 a.m. swims before browning a bagel for my morning munch, the hours spent in Panera mulling over the craft of writing with my aspiring-novelist friend. Yet, I’d be lying if I claimed serenity sans asterisks. Seven hours before I dip into the heated pool of my apartment complex, my breath comes in gasps and my veins pump harder than they should and I’m spiraling down a vortex of despair, clawing for air and a rope thick enough to pull me back to the surface.
Reality is strange. Life is strange. One moment my happiness is absolute, the next it’s a candle-holding figure in a dream’s black corridor, hopping just out of reach when I grab. I am hardly perfect. But in those moments of angst, I thread a lifeline through my needle and toss it onto a rock and hang on tightly while pulling myself skyward until the sun warms my face and the clouds part from the nitrogenous blue of the sky. Sometimes that lifeline is made of words. Sometimes it becomes a pair of gym shorts and a scraggly Walmart tank. Today, it was a bowl of batter, freckled with fresh blueberries and strands of grated lemon zest. Scones to brighten pre-existing smiles, or pull more elusive grins out of their fleshy boxes.
Lemon-Blueberry Glazed Scones
For the scones:
2 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup milk
3/4 cup blueberries
Zest of one lemon
For the glaze:
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
2-3 TBS milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
ASSEMBLY: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Stir together flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Zest lemon with a grater over the bowl, stir to combine. Cut in butter with your hands until batter is crumbly and no large chunks of butter remain. Fold in blueberries. Add milk slowly, stirring until dough is somewhat sticky but cohesive. Turn onto a floured surface and knead 10-15 times. Form into a ball and wrap tightly in plastic wrap; refrigerate for about an hour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove dough from fridge and, on a floured surface, pat into a circular shape about 1/2 inch thick. Cut eight (8) triangles out of the circle and place onto prepared baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch in between them to allow scones to rise. Bake 15-20 minutes or until edges are a light, crispy gold. Remove and cool 10 minutes on baking sheet, then move to a rack to cool completely.
In the meantime, prepare simple glaze by mixing sugar, milk, and vanilla in a small bowl. The consistency of the glaze should not be thin and liquidy, but it should drizzle off the spoon. Once scones are completely cooled, drizzle with the prepared glaze. Serve at breakfast or with afternoon tea.
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