Toasted almond scones

Another friend, Swanie, whom I’ve got to know more in the last month has left for home and again, some of us have inherited their stuff. It’s a bit sad because she has been a blessing to us and when we were at her place yesterday morning to shift some of the stuff, the hubs and I were touched by the family’s generosity and their love towards God. Sigh! Why didn’t we get to know them earlier?

Jac has landed in Singa land and on her FB wall post, she listed the breakfast she had and it made me drool! Fishball noodles, chwee kway, chai dao kway, tao hway, and teh bing… Argh! It’s ok. I will REN and meanwhile divert my attention to my breakfast of home-made toasted almond scones and good o’ coffee.

Note: I would definitely put sliced almonds on top the next time. The dough is easy to make without the use of any mixer and could be prepared at night and stored in the freezer. The next morning, just bake the scones straight from the freezer but give it 2 minutes more to the baking. Eat it on the day they are baked! For this reason, I halve the portion to yield 6 scones.

The recipe is from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking from my home to yours. Yields 12.

  • 1 cup blanched almonds (whole, slivered, or sliced), toasted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup cold heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup cold whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Divide the toasted almonds in half. finely grind 1/2 cup in a food processor or blender with the sugar, taking care not to overgrind the nuts and end up with almond butter. (I used almond meal for this 1/2 of the portion). Finely chop the other 1/2 cup of almonds.

Stir the egg, cream, milk and almond extract together.

Whisk the flour, ground almond/sugar mix, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Drop in the butter and, using your fingers toss to coat the pieces of butter with flour. Quickly, rub the butter with your fingers into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly. You’ll have pea-sized pieces, and some smaller pieces.

Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir with a fork just until the dough, which will be wet and sticky, comes together. Don’t overdo it. Stir in the chopped almonds.

Still in the bowl, gently knead the dough by hand, or turn in with a wooden spatula 8-10 times. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and divide it in half. Working with one piece at a time, pat the dough into a rough circle that is about 5 inches in diameter, cut into 6 wedges and top each wedge with slices almonds if using. Place them on baking sheet.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until their tops are golden and firm-ish. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Note: Once the scones are cut out and on the baking sheet you can also freeze some or all of them before baking. Simply put the tray of scones in the freezer and wait until they are firm. Put the frozen scones in a freezer and you’ll have fresh warm scones whenever you like. Do not defrost, simply put the frozen scones on the a parchment lined baking sheet and add a couple of minutes to the baking time.

Serve with jam and butter!

The weekend at the falls and woods.

We experienced a suburban lifestyle  over the weekend and the hubs loved it.

It was a tiring 9-hour bus ride to Buffalo and thankfully for some cheerful folks on the vehicle, the ride was made more pleasant. We reached The Wesleyan Church of Hamburg and were greeted by a large number of American families who were to be our hosts for the weekend. There must be a few hundreds of them and to be honest, I was really not comfortable with it. But the uneasiness soon gave way when I met our host – the Woods.

The hubs and I, together with some other hundred odd international students from the regions of New England and New York State, were attending a conference cum sightseeing at Niagara Falls. This conference was complete with the home stay with the American families at Hamburg and it really opened our eyes to the culture.

Niagara Falls was magnificent. After the conference in the morning and filling our stomach with pizzas and buffalo wings (not sure if they were but sure looked like), we made our way to THE destination. We went straight to queue for the Cave of the Winds to get close to the pounding waters of the falls. Before we came over, we have heard that the US side of the Falls was not as good as the Canadian side and I wonder why. We had an amazing time and the Maid of the Mist Boat Tour just sealed the whole terrific experience.

Another highlight of this trip has to be the home stay. We were blessed to be staying with the Woods, a God-fearing family. I love their parenting style, their commitment to the Lord as a family and their bond to one another. The children (all four of them) have great respect for the parents. I was taken aback when they (even their eldest 20+ year-old) asked for permission to play another round of game on the Wii when they were about to set off to church and when the answer was a ‘No’, there was no tantrums but understanding of why their request was rejected.

The hubs wrote a thank-you letter to them which encapsulates how we felt about the family. Oh, I forgot to mention – they have a totally cool building for their youth ministry and a church too. I would love to be there even if I’m not a believer.

Re: Ken and Lynn thank God for the Woods

And it’s not just because we’re nature lovers either!

Dear John, Becci, EJ, Ariel, Caleb and Micah,
Thank you so much for all your hospitality this weekend!
Thank you John, for sharing your insights on the Word, as well as your love and passion for God and His work.
We noticed that John is most alive when he is speaking about God and can only imagine the deep love and passion he has for our Lord.  We pray that God will continue to bless you as you do His work here on earth and that you might always abound with a great passion for Him and continue to inspire others as you have inspired us over this short weekend.
By the way, Ken finished the book you blessed us with on the bus and waits with bated breath for the one you will pen yourself. No pressure! =D
Thank you Becci, for your hospitality and thoughtfulness.
We are so blessed by you. For always being there to fetch us around, for waking up early to prepare breakfast, and the wonderful meals that we shared with the family.
Ken is more than willing to cook for all of you should you all come to Boston or Singapore. His menu is rather limited however, so I hope you all like rice…
The goodie bag you blessed us with at the end of the stay says so much. You didn’t have to do that, we weren’t at all expecting it, and yet you put so much thought into it.
Thank you!
Thank you EJ for the sacrifices made.
In particular, for accompanying us out to the grove(?) on Sunday instead of spending time with Mallory. (Sorry Mallory!)
We know how difficult that must have been… Thank you!
Thank you Ariel for always being there as well, trying to drag a few more words out of us while you make conversation.
I’m sorry we’re so difficult to drag words out of. Thank you for sticking to the mammoth task. (It builds character…)
We noticed how mature EJ and Ariel were about always making themselves available and spending time with us transients instead of with their friends.
What made it all the more amazing was when John shared that this idea of hosting internationals was from EJ and Ariel to begin with!
They took the initiative, made it happen, and then committed their time and effort to making it great! Thank you both for that!
Thank you Caleb for giving up your room!
That couldn’t have been easy. I’m sure if I was in your position, my parents would have had to drag me kicking and screaming out of it.
The room was in perfect condition when we got there so I’m certain that didn’t happen with you! =D
We’re sorry we didn’t have more time to get to know you better.
You totally seem like a really cool guy and you’ve got this mischievous smile that we’re sure is a hit with the ladies.
Thank you Micah for being so cool over everything.
We’ve noticed that in almost everything, in every way, Micah just takes it in his stride.
And totally adorable to boot!
So, yes. We’ve been blessed.
Blessed by an amazing family who, by the way they live their very lives, have shown us how we might be salt and light in this world.
When we got married, we chose a verse from the Bible to remind us of our commitment to Him who made us and saved us.
Your lives have reminded us of this commitment, and inspired us as well.
Joshua 24:15
Thank you.
God Bless,
ken & lynn