Today was one of those perfect early spring days that screamed "this is why I live in New York City." After several days of clouds and drenching rain the city came alive last night when the sky cleared and the weather this afternoon was positively perfect. I met a friend for a run in Central Park during lunch and you could practically feel the electricity in the air buzzing as thousands of people descended on our beloved 843 acres of green in the middle of Manhattan for some spring sun.
The truth is, spring in Central Park is one of the reasons I live in this town.
[I took this one on my walk home tonight, can you even??]
I love the smiles on everyones faces. I love walking home from work with my trench coat open and ipod humming. I love the new bright green grass of the Great Lawn that's been germinating for the past 4 months. I love "happy hour" evening runs while it's still light out. I love the sunset over the Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis reservoir. I love my three favorite water fountains just being turned on again after a winter hiatus. And I love the 4 magnolia trees behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art whose sweet smells waft across the running path like the most delicious perfume.
The sweet smell stuck with me. I got back to my apartment and opened the refrigerator to over-ripe strawberries that were desperate to be mixed into something heavenly -- and the sweet smell that filled my apartment was almost as perfect as the magnolias in the park.
Friends, Irene is right -- these scones are PERFECT. They're as good as the best bakery scone I've ever had. Actually they were so good that I almost couldn't believe they came out of my oven as perfectly as they did. Despite the fact that strawberries aren't "in season" for another 3 months and "eating in season" is my new aspiration, I couldn't pass up the giant Florida-grown juicy-looking strawberries from my corner neighborhood fruit stand last weekend.
Ready for a little taste of summer? Enjoy the late-spring weather we're getting this weekend and then. make. these.
via Irene of Confessions of a Tart
1 cup strawberries
3 tbsp. granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. butter, in cubes, slightly softened
2/3 cup half-and-half or cream or cold buttermilk (I used 1/3 half-and-half and 1/3 vanilla soy milk)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
If using larger fruit, cut into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle fruit with 1/2 tbsp. sugar; set aside. Be sure to make the pieces small, or they tend to fall out of the dough. They'll still be plenty prominent in your finished scones.
Combine remaining sugar with flour, baking powder and salt. Add butter, using a pastry cutter or 2 knives to cut in butter. Stir in fruit; then add cream/half-and-half/buttermilk all at once. Use spatula to gently stir dough until it holds together.
Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times to incorporate dry ingredients. Be gentle so you don't break up the berries and don't overwork the dough. Sprinkle dough with flour if it gets sticky.
Press (pat) the dough into a circle 3/4 inch thick. If any berries peek out, push them into dough. Cut circle into 6-8 wedges, then transfer wedges to the cookie sheet, leaving at least 1/2 inch of space between them. Bake 15 minutes.
Sprinkle with sugar and bake 5-10 more minutes or until the tops are beginning to brown and spring back when you push them.