Happy St. Nicholas Day! The feast day has been largely forgotten here in the United States, but it's celebrated in many parts of Europe, especially German-speaking areas. Traditionally, children receive small treats of candy and/or cookies, often in their shoes or socks. According to some authorities, children sometimes receive oranges and chocolate coins to represent St. Nicholas’s rescue, as legend has it, of three impoverished girls by paying their marriage dowries with gold. Candy canes also are a common treat, because the candy canes have the shape of a bishop’s crosier. The Dutch brought the St. Nicholas Day tradition to the American colonies. Eventually, with the influence of other traditions, St. Nicholas took on new characteristics and merged and transformed into Santa Claus.
In honor of St. Nicholas Day, how about a recipe for a sweet (but not too sweet) treat--blueberry scones? The scones are simple, can be made with frozen blueberries (and, are, in fact, better made that way), and are perfect for a weeknight because they are quick to mix up and bake. You'll have a nice snack or dessert to share with a cup of coffee, tea, or perhaps some hot cider. And St. Nicholas would want you to share. Of course, if you really want a treat and want to stick to the tradition of candy on St. Nicholas Day, you can substitute chocolate chunks or chips for the blueberries...
Simple Blueberry Scones -- Makes 8-12
1 cup of white whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
8 tablespoons of cold butter, chopped into bits about 1/2-inch or less thick
1/3 cup of sugar
2/3 cup of milk or buttermilk
1 cup of frozen blueberries, unthawed
1-2 tablespoons of plain yogurt
1-2 tablespoons of sugar
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender until small pieces form. Some should be pea-sized and others smaller bits. Stir in the milk until the dough starts to come together. Add the blueberries and form the dough into a ball. Put the dough onto the prepared baking sheet and pat it into a rectangle. Brush the rectangle evenly with the yogurt and then sprinkle on the sugar. Cut the rectangle into squares and then cut the squares, crosswise, into triangles. Separate the triangles and space them an inch or so apart on the baking sheet. Bake the scones for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.