After I graduated from college, I spent the summer living with one of my good friends and her parents in Aptos, a cozy town just outside of Santa Cruz on the California coast. You see, I was moving to San Francisco with a group of my girlfriends that fall but I didn’t have a job yet. So it made the most sense for me to live within driving distance of “the city” (that’s what we northern Californians call San Francisco) while I was job hunting, rather than staying with my folks in southern California.
As much as I desperately missed my family, I wouldn’t trade that summer for anything. It was incredibly formative in so many ways. A job hunt can bring anyone to their knees, and my first job hunt brought my knees to the ground in more desperate, more faithful prayers than I think I’d ever experienced before that.
I suspect that many people find the freedom after college exhilarating. I, on the other hand, found myself drowning in anxiety about finding a job and figuring out who I was now that I was no longer defined by my year in school, the classes I was taking, or the student organizations I was involved with. I remember people telling me, “You can do anything!” I’m quite sure that was meant to be encouraging. But my internal reaction wasn’t so much, “You’re right! Awesome!” It was more like, “Yeah, but where do I even start?!” Without the strength and faithfulness of the God I believe it, I would not have survived that crazy time in my life. Or any others, for that matter.
That summer helped to form not just my faith, though. It also formed a part of my love affair with all things food and entertaining. My friend’s parents were the warmest hosts—it was from her mom that I adopted my habit of having fresh flowers around the house. It’s amazing how therapeutic fresh flowers can be! Equally therapeutic are freshly baked scones on a foggy Saturday morning.
I’ll never forget the first time I woke up to the smell of these scones wafting into my bedroom from the kitchen. Isn’t it amazing how the smell of fresh-baked goods can fill you with warmth and a sense of being cared for? We humans really need these things. Along with buttery bites of scone filled with toasty oat, vibrant berry, and tangy citrus flavors.
I will forever be grateful for the combination of morning beach walks, freshly cut flowers, strong faithful prayers, and freshly baked scones that got me through that summer and into my very first dream job. Faith, patience, and confidence sure helped, too. So, whatever formula you use to get through life’s challenges, I hope these scones can play a teeny tiny role in making your life just a little bit better. And certainly tastier!
Raspberry Orange Oat Scones
Yield: 8 large scones, 16 small scones
* Keep the butter in the fridge until right before you’re ready to cut it and add it to the bowl, so that it stays as cold as possible before baking.
* If you’re using fresh berries they can easily break apart when you mix them into the dough. In order to keep them more whole, if you want that, rinse, dry, and freeze the berries before using them.
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1 cup cold salted butter (2 sticks), cut into cubes
2 cups rolled oats
¾ cup raspberries
¾ cup buttermilk or 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice with light cream (fill to 1 cup total)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If you have a pizza or baking stone, put the stone in the oven while it’s preheating.
2. In the bowl of your beloved Kitchen Aid stand mixer, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and orange rind. Mix on low until combined.
3. Add butter and oats to the bowl. Mix on low until large, moist crumbs form.
4. Add raspberries and buttermilk (or orange juice/cream mixture) to the bowl. Mix on low until just combined. Do not over mix in order to avoid breaking apart all of the fruit.
5. If making small scones, divide the dough in half on a large floured cutting board or counter. Roll both halves into balls. Gently flatten both balls into 7-inch rounds. If the edges crack, gently push them back together. Cut both rounds into 8 wedges.
6. If making large scones, form all dough into one large ball and flatten into a round. Cut round into 8 wedges.
7. Sprinkle turbinado sugar over the tops of the scones.
8. If you’re using a pizza or baking stone, remove it from the oven and quickly place 8 scones on the stone. Put the stone immediately in the oven to avoid the dough softening on the heated stone.
9. If you’re not using a stone, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (Tip: Parchment paper helps with the browning of the bottom of the scones!)
10. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops are just browned.