Friends. The people in our lives who substitute for family, understand us better than we understand ourselves, sustain us when everything crumbles, and serve as partners in crime for life and all its glorious moments. Over the years I have had the great fortune to meet and befriend loads of amazing people. Growing up in Vegas and then choosing to go to college in Long Island brought me about as far as humanly possible from my lifelong friends and family. But it also brought me closer to a lot of people, both near and far. Some of the greatest and longest-lasting friendships I have are with those people I met in the first two years of college. Then after the requisite 4 years of undergrad everyone I had grown to love moved away, departing shortly after graduation while I chose to stay on Long Island to pursue a graduate degree. I’ve now been in NY for almost 10 years (yikes!) and have had a great many friends come into my life only to move away. It’s a rough spot to be in, graduate school, you make these really intense friendships that are wrought on coffee-fueled nights of studying, bonding over hours in the field and complaining about your sad salary, rapidly growing age and debt, and then, in 2-3 years, these people are gone too.
It’s especially hard as a PhD student, destined to be here for about 6 years, because so many of the people you meet are Masters students, and so are gone within 2-3 years of meeting them, I’ve waved goodbye to more moving vans than I care to admit over the past 10 years. And yet, it has made me a better person and better friend. I have these really great friendships, and even though I’m really really really bad at picking up the phone on a regular basis, it doesn’t matter, because I can call any one of them and we’ll talk like it hasn’t just been 4 months since we’ve spoken to each other. That’s the mark of true friendship, no guilt between calls or visits, just pure joy when the call or visit does happen. I currently have more close friends living out of state (or more than an hour away) than I do locally (no offense to my local friends! you guys are awesome too, and I will miss you when you leave as well) and it takes genuine effort to keep these friendships going, it’s true what they say, out of sight out of mind, but it’s also very true that absence make the heart grow fonder. So to all of my friends both near and far, you know who you are, and I just want to say thank you. Thank you for being the people in my life that I can rely on and thank you even more for knowing that no matter how much time passes between phone calls/texts/visits, I still have a deep profound love for you and our relationship.
Two of my good friends just moved to San Diego and when one of them came back for a visit she brought me crabapples and a delightful coffee stout from Coronado brewing company. In turn, I sent her home to her husband with these scones as a thank you. This recipe is adapted loosely from the Smitten Kitchen’s dreamy cream scones, but of course, there are some Amber-esque alterations.
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
6-8 tablespoons dark brown sugar (depending on how bitter your apples are, or how sweet of a scone you want)
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
4 shakes of cloves (probably 1/8 tsp? maybe 1/4 tsp. I really like cloves.)
1/2 tsp salt
5 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup crabapples, diced, not peeled (they are just too dang small to peel without any great effort)
1-2 tablespoons crabapple butter (or any apple butter, or I guess applesauce might work…no guarantees)
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar for topping
In a food processor, add the flour, baking powder, sugar, spices and salt. Pulse a few times until well mixed. Add the butter by evenly distributing chunks around the flour in the food processor, pulse until the butter is in small pieces like cornmeal, probably ~10 pulses. Transfer to a bowl, and add the heavy cream and apple butter. Mix well. At this point the dough should be sort of crumbly/wet. Add the crabapple pieces, and mix well with your hands.
On a floured surface, transfer the scone dough and knead briefly to incorporate everything, or do what I do and just pat it back and forth in my hands for a minute, like I am making a scone-snowball. Flatten your dough into an 8″ round, about 1″-1 1/2″ thick. Using a knife cut like a pizza and place the scone triangles on an ungreased baking sheet, sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Alternatively you can flatten dough a little more and use a floured cookie cutter (or rocks glass) to cut small biscuit-style circles. This works just as well and will yield more scones, but it takes a bit more time because you have to reshape the leftover dough after each round of cookie-cutting. Regardless of whether you have circles or triangle scones, pop those bad boys in the oven for 12-15 minutes, but check on them regularly to make sure they aren’t burning. Give to your friends. Or eat them all by yourself, whatever you do, enjoy them!