In May of 2013 I had the pleasure of accompanying my friend Alison back to her homeland for a 'grand tour' of the English and Welsh countryside. We motored through Kent, took high tea in London, walked the Wiltshire countryside, and settled down for a week in the Cotswolds. Everywhere we went, we sussed out the best food via social media, and religiously sampled the local ales and cheeses. We also focused on touring as many prominent gardens as we could, always sure to stop in the ever-present tea room. Absolutely. Glorious.
Anyone who knows me knows I adore great gardens. I feel somewhere between this world and the next when I walk in them. I took away something unexpected from this particular trip though - a love of great scones. I returned to my Colorado hometown and never quite forgot them. The snowflake texture, the buttery essence, and that one ingredient that caused them to hover above the earth - Devonshire cream. Accompanied by a perfect cup of tea. We've nothing like this here. Nothing.
The scones here are satisfying, don't get me wrong. Some quite good. But ... they're cakey. Or they're doused with a achingly sweet glaze crust, and they become a triangular, hole-less doughnut at that point. They're somehow still bound to this earth, like a good biscuit. They make you want coffee with them to balance their density, which is why Starbucks serves them. I decided to embark on a quest to find a recipe that replicates those scones - over there.
I knew I began to hit the target after about a year of trying different recipes. I grew a little too close to the subject matter and needed objectivity (I wish you could have seen the quizzical looks I've received when I've discussed my scone nerdiness with others). I began to bring my latest experiments into the office, with very encouraging reactions. I would casually deposit a scone on a colleagues desk, usually on a Friday. I would get a "thanks!" and our conversation would turn to the task or issue at hand. Sometimes I'd head off back to my office. Almost without exception, my test subject would drop what they were doing, pause, eye-widened, and say something to the effect of "that's a scone?! omg, that's the best damn scone I've ever had!"
And that's without the Devonshire cream. Which is an excellent start. But, I conjectured, there is a very good reason that the classic pairing of scone + devonshire cream is absolutely ubiquitous across the UK (they call it a "cream scone" and it always is served with good tea). I think we are missing the ball over here. Time to change things. Time to fill that afternoon energy dive most of us suffer. We fill it rather horribly now - with more coffee (not as nice in the afternoon somehow), sugar, etc. I cannot emphasize enough how immensely satisfying it is to cuddle a warm cup of lightly caffeinated great tea and tuck into a light-as-air cream scone during that daily valley.
Office Salvation. Here's hoping you share in the experience.