This is one of my most magical recipes.
I made my first visit to Portland during the spring… Everything glistened with fresh new life, and I saw lavender bushes everywhere.
I read a book by Chuck Palahniuk about 10 years ago. In it, he talked about this magical, mystical place called Portland, Oregon.
I bought into the whole Portland mess hook, line, and sinker. The city that he described was full of artists, old hippies, and super-Liberal crunchy-granola people. Compared to my upbringing in West Texas, this Portland place sounded wonderful — and also a little bit terrifying.
What would it really be like? Was there actually a museum dedicated to a self-cleaning house? Was there really a park that was one square foot? Was the food and coffee as wonderful as the book made it seem? Was it is dangerous as Palahniuk described?
The only way to figure it out was to go myself. And I did.
What I found was a beautiful city, nestled between rivers and looming pine covered hills, with snow-covered mountains in the background. I instantly fell in love with the greens and grays and took a long drink deep into my thirsty soul.
I also fell in love with the cuisine. During the long, dark winter months, people get really creative. They have the time to ruminate, they have the time to consider how they want their lives to feel, their beers to taste, and their food to inspire. Or something.
I made my first visit to Portland during the spring. It was rainy and sunny and freezing and hot in the space of three hours. Everything glistened with fresh new life, and I saw lavender bushes everywhere. It lined the streets, sidewalks, highways, and graced every front yard I came across. It was no surprise to me that Chuck Palahniuk had a recipe for lavender scones.
I went back home to Texas, planted a lavender bush and my dreams of moving to the Pacific Northwest — both of which promptly died in the Texas heat.
Many years later, my dreams, just like my lavender bush, were redeemed.
One hot Texas summer morning, we loaded up the truck, and headed west to Portland. We were not disappointed. It was everything I hoped for.
At least for the first year — before Portland became a thing and everyone decided to move here.
This is one of my most magical recipes. Magical is different than fancy, and here's why: Fancy doesn't know when to quit.
I also ate everything lavender. I discovered there is a good way to cook with lavender and there are many obnoxious, overpowering ways to use this fine herb. After some experimentation, I learned that very subtle notes of lavender were beautifully accentuated by the bright tartness of berries or lemon, and grounded by the soothing warmth of vanilla.
So, I determined to make a lavender treat of my own.
This is one of my most magical recipes. Magical is different than fancy, and here's why: Fancy doesn't know when to quit. It's like the drunk guy who doesn't know when to leave the party. You want to tell him to just go home, that he's too much for everyone (including himself).
But magical is different. Magical can't quit, and you don't want it to. This delightful mouthful of berries with a hint of lavender blossoms revolutionized the way I saw baking.
I hope it changes you too.
Ingredients for scones
2 1/4 cup gluten-free flour blend
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup dairy-free yogurt
8 Tbsp Earth Balance, divided
6 ounces fresh blackberries
2 Tbsp. lavender blossoms, divided
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Ingredients for icing
1 Tbsp. Earth balance
2 Tbsp. nondairy milk
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
Directions for scones
In a large mixing bowl, combine wet ingredients and sugar.
In another bowl, cut flour, baking soda, and 2 Tbsp. melted Earth Balance and 6 Tbsp. of cubed cold Earth Balance together.
This is a very important step. Do not skip this step.
This is what happens when you skip the step. Disaster ensues. And you have now wasted money and time.
Once flour is mixed together with butter, combine with wet ingredients and mix thoroughly. This will make a very thin dough. Fold berries and half of your lavender blossoms into the dough. Be very gentle as you fold in, being careful not to break the berries.
Once fully-incorporated, chill overnight.
Cut dough into desired scone shapes and place flat on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Bake at 400° for 20 to 25 minutes, depending on your oven and altitude.
While your scones are baking, make your icing.
Directions for icing
Mix together 2 Tbsp. nondairy milk, 1 Tbsp. of softened Earth Balance, and 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar.
Remove scones as soon as they're finished baking, spread generously with icing, and garnish with remaining lavender blossoms.