Blueberry Thyme Scones

With the summer growing season in full swing, my deck garden has taken off and is showcasing the color green in its many shades. While the vegetables are still in the early stages …

With the summer growing season in full swing, my deck garden has taken off and is showcasing the color green in its many shades. While the vegetables are still in the early stages of growth, the herb garden has positively flourished, and I now have the happy problem of possessing more herbs than I (and my neighbors) know what to do with.

One of my favorite ways to enjoy herbs is through sweet preparations. The fruit and herb pairings are often unexpected, yet delicious. Basil pairs beautifully with blueberry—like in this Blueberry Basil Galette—and thyme makes a lovely complement to blueberries, plums, and pears alike.

For these scones, I started by rubbing fresh chopped thyme leaves into granulated sugar to bring out the flavor and oils. The key to using fresh herbs in baking is to use small amounts so that the dish is not overwhelmed. Thyme, in particular, can become bitter if used in large quantities, so it is better to err on the side of less than more.

While the blueberries are responsible for nearly all of the sweetness inside these scones, I like to drizzle the tops with a vanilla glaze to push the sweetness to my ideal level. The thyme brings a depth of flavor that lingers at the end—enough to add something unique without becoming overwhelming.

If you are also dealing with a particularly prolific herb garden, I hope you look for new ways to put the herbs to use in both savory and sweet preparations. The combinations can be suprising and satisfying.

These Blueberry Thyme Scones are a sweet way to start the day. A traditional blueberry scone is made unique with the addition of fresh thyme, which lends an earthy blend of lemon and mint tones. I prefer my scones extra sweet so I sprinkle the scones with raw sugar before baking. Once they emerge from the oven, I drizzle them with a vanilla glaze, but you can adjust the level of sweetness for your preference.

Blueberry Thyme Scones

Yields 6-8 servings

Blueberry Thyme Scone
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (113 grams) cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup (120 mL) heavy cream, plus extra for brushing
6 ounces (170 grams) fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon raw or demerara sugar (optional)

Vanilla Glaze (optional)
1 cup (113 grams) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

For the scones, in a large mixing bowl, rub together the granulated sugar and finely chopped thyme between your fingers until fragrant. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, whisking together until smooth. Add the cubed butter and rub between your fingers until the dough resembles coarse sand with a few larger pieces remaining. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla, and heavy cream. Pour over the scone batter. Add the blueberries and lightly mix until the dough comes together. The dough will be somewhat sticky.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. With floured hands, form the dough into a circle. You may need to fold the dough to evenly distribute the moisture, but no more than a few times to avoid overworking the dough, which will keep the scones tender. Flatten the dough until it is about 1-inch thick. Using a sharp knife, cut 6-8 equal pie-shaped wedges. Transfer scones to a baking sheet using a flat spatula and brush the tops of the scones with heavy cream. Sprinkle tops with raw sugar, if desired. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned.

For the glaze, in a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla, and heavy cream until smooth. If glaze is too thick, add heavy cream 1 teaspoon at a time until glaze is thick, but still runs.

Lightly drizzle glaze over scones. Allow glaze to set before serving.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

With a whirlwind of a summer behind me—planning a wedding, getting married (!), and taking a full load of graduate credits at the same time—I feel like I haven’t had time to catch …

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With a whirlwind of a summer behind me—planning a wedding, getting married (!), and taking a full load of graduate credits at the same time—I feel like I haven't had time to catch my breath before the back-to-school season set in.

As a teacher, the start of a new school year keeps me on my toes as I get my classroom and lessons in order. When classes begin, there is an adjustment period where my feet have to get used to the long hours of standing, my throat has to adapt to a steady stream of talking in the classic teacher voice, and my brain has to refocus on jumping between ideas at a rapid pace.

As my students and I find our new routine, the high energy required in the first couple weeks of school can be draining. This makes weekends a welcome time to recover. 

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I stayed close to home last weekend, enjoying a couple walks around the neighborhood, catching up on summer TV shows, and savoring the quiet before another work week. For the first time in what feels like weeks, I also spent some real time in the kitchen.

While the self-watering planters I built this summer did not turn out as planned (only the herbs, green beans, and bell peppers were spared from root rot), luckily the CSA (community supported agriculture) I support has been particularly fruitful.

With an abundance of zucchini filling the drawers of my refrigerator, I baked four loaves of zucchini bread before creating something a little more decadent in these double chocolate zucchini muffins.

These Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins take advantage of the late season squash. The muffins feature plenty of chocolate chunks and a hint of cinnamon for a warmer touch. I prefer to heat these up for a few seconds in the microwave until the chocolate just begins to melt. With a large glass of milk, these muffins make for a perfect afternoon snack after a long day at school.

Pro tip: Reserve a couple ounces of chocolate to sprinkle over the top to make the muffins look extra delicious. 

One Year Ago: Plum Almond Tart
Three Years Ago: Blueberry Honey Scones
Four Years Ago: Homemade Chocolate Hazelnut Spread 
Five Years Ago: Vanilla Ice Cream Cake, Honeyed Apricot Granola Bars, & Chocolate Banana Chip Cookies
Six Years Ago: Rum Raisin Oatmeal Cookies, Banana Rum Bread, Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins, & Pear Chocolate Muffins
Seven Years Ago: 3 Milk Coconut Cake, Tomato Basil Tart, & Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread
Eight Years Ago: Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Banana Bread 

Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Yields 1 dozen muffins

3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (118 ml) vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (about 180 grams) grated zucchini, lightly packed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup (150 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (21 grams) cocoa powder
6 ounces (170 grams) semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (or 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a muffin pan with baking cups.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla until well combined. Stir in the grated zucchini. Mix in the cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Fold in the flour and cocoa powder, mixing until the batter becomes uniform. Stir in the chopped chocolate.

Fill baking cups 3/4 full and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. For best texture, let the muffins cool before eating.