Lagniappe – The Sour and The Sweet

“Please, God,” wrote The Atlantic staff writer Olga Khazan on Twitter the other day, “someone do a sport so my boyfriend will stop talking about his sourdough starter.”

I can relate.

Admittedly, here in Glen Ellen, we’re looking at husbands, not boyfriends.  And Andy, the husband of this family, is not a sports fanatic; he’s a bit of a bicycling fanatic, and as long as the riders limit the numbers to a group of 3 or fewer (I love ya, Buck and Chris!) – bicycling is still allowed in Sonoma County.

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Travis’s Country Bread

But we’re still pretty restless around here, and, yes, the men in the family have taken up sour-dough bread baking with a lot of help from Chad Robertson and his Tartine Country Bread recipe.  Travis in Brooklyn has got it nailed, after approximately 20 loaves.  And with his help, Andy is beginning the – very long – process.  Here’s his starter, as it looked today:

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Andy’s sour dough starter – bubbling away (sort of)

Now it’s Andy, the bicyclist/baker writing here: While I am waiting for my starter to kick in so I can make bread, which I understand could take 4 or 5 more days of “feeding,” I have to continue my household breakfast-making obligation. Our mandatory shelter-at-home status has dramatically increased the pressure on me to come up with new and inspiring simple breakfast ideas.  I am pretty sure I am not suffering such anxieties alone. 

Hence, as a service to all breakfast makers during this purgatorial time I am offering a sweet, simple, and delicious suggestion to help reduce breakfast planning anxiety: Ginger Scones.  I’ve made them many times – which makes me the reigning expert on these guys in our household.  Though I’m best known for my biscuits – at least in the family – these scones are in a class of their own.


I like to add a drizzle of date syrup on my ginger scone; Ann likes hers with lots of butter, period.

Ginger Scones

  • Servings: makes about 18 scones
  • Print

Adapted from a Nancy Silverton recipe published in the NYTimes in 2000

  • 2 c flour – plus 1/4 c for processing the ginger
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest (about 1/2 lemon)
  • 1 1/2 sticks (6 oz) cold butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 1/2 oz candied ginger (about 2/3 c)
  • 3/4 c cream, plus extra for brushing the tops of the scones (half & half works too)

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, and baking powder, and pulse or mix on low to incorporate. Add the lemon zest and butter, and pulse on and off, or mix on low, until the mixture is pale yellow and the consistency of fine meal.  Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

Chop the ginger into 1/4″ pieces and then mix the 1/4 c flour into it to keep the pieces from clinging to each other.  OR better yet – put the ginger with 1/4 c flour in the food processor and pulse until you get 1/4″ pieces.

Stir the ginger into the flour/butter mixture. Make a well in the center and pour in the cream. Using one hand, draw in the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.

Wash and dry your hands and dust them with flour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead a few times to gather it into a ball. Roll or pat the dough into a circle about 3/4 inch thick. Cut out the circles (I used a 2″ cutter), cutting as closely together as possible and keeping the trimmings intact.

Gather the scraps, pat and press the pieces back together, and cut out the remaining dough. Place the scones 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Brush the tops with the remaining cream.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the time to insure they bake evenly.  They are ready when they are golden brown – you want a little crunch on the edges. 

Leftovers freeze nicely.  Reheat frozen scones wrapped in foil at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.   Recipe brought to you by and Andy and Ann.

1 Comment

  1. theRaggedys says:

    Ramona sent this in an email and gave us permission to include it in the comments:

    I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. This week I decided to make your ginger scones with some slight modifications.

    Given our shelter-in-place I didn’t I think it was a good idea to go to the store for two ingredients. I did not have any cream or lemons to zest. I did have some sour cream that I mixed with milk and an orange that I used for zest. I also added some chocolate chunks, used a bit less baking powder (not really sure why, just thought with the sour cream it was a good idea) and brushed them with melted butter before baking.

    I’m assuming after reading that description you are cringing! However, I must tell you they are the best scones I have ever had. The candy ginger and chocolate were an amazing combination. I’m attributing it all to your recipe.💚


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