Monday, March 28, 2011

Maple syrup and rolled oat scones

This past week end was an Ikea week end. Ikea is like a black hole, everything you do on an Ikea weekend, before or after, somehow revolves around your trip there, gets sucked into it. First comes the idea: should we take a quick trip to Ikea to look at xyz (replace xyz with any Swedish name)? Come on, even while you are saying it, you know no trip to Ikea is a quick one. Whether you think you will just glance around or go exactly to aisle number 3 to pick up that one box, forget it. They will be out of that product or you will get distracted on the way there by those cute new blue-and-white striped napkins. Or you will suddenly need the four adorable colored bowls that cost only €3. If that doesn't happen, you will end up in the restaurant eating kottbullar (yup, the meatballs) or drinking a cup of coffee and nibbling on one of those flourescent green cilinders dipped in chocolate. And if you don't go to the restaurant, be sure you will end up driving home with some gravad lax or a bag of frozen pyttipanna from the store, which you will eat for dinner or lunch the next day (and a few dozens of candles and lotsa lightbulbs, because if you buy a lamp there you are doomed).

If you have kids, don't even get me started. Sometimes you go there just because you don't have a sitter. You park in the family parking space right next to the entrance. Your kid gets a ladybug sticker with her name on it, a number stamped on her hand (and you do too) and off she goes to play in the enchanted forest of Smaland, where nice people play and draw with her for free while you roam the floors, look at all the Billy bookshelves filled with fake Swedish books, your other kid or dog happily seated in trolleys made just for them. While you speak to the nice man with the yellow and blue Ikea shirt your child plays with those multifunctional columns strategically placed among the furniture. You end up buying a a stuffed rat or elk and a 7-pack of bibs while your child goes through the hole and down the slide in the kiddie section, which is strategically placed next to the cafeteria. The only way to lure them away is by promising them the full, organic lunch for €2. And then, while you sip your coffee, Daddy takes the little one to the bathroom because there are changing tables and tiny toilets and sinks in the men's room too.

When you get home you think you left Ikea at the turnpike, but no, it has followed you albeit without the pleasant smell of aromatic candles and the helpful salespeople (where are they when you need them?). The boxes seem to have multiplied in your trunk on the drive, those big blue bags are all over the place. The Kritter bed you thought would take five minutes to build has four different kinds of screws (x11) and you only realized you inverted the parts of the Stefan chair when you are about to put in that last screw. You marriage is at risk by evening and when you calm down enough to understand it is that darn instruction manual's fault, you are too exhausted to have make-up sex. Days later you will still find allen spanners strewn across the apartment, a sweet reminder that Ikea is just at an arm's reach if you need it.

Scones are a bit like Ikea, they make you feel cozy and pampered. You can be in Turkey and still feel like you are in England when you bite into one, just like Ikea makes you feel like you are in the organized, environmentally aware Sweden even if you are in Rome.

When Smitten Kitchen posted these last week, I knew my time to try making scones had finally come. Oatmeal, check. Maple syrup, check. Yup, I had almost everything I needed, and Deb kindly responded to my enquiry of what to substitute the 1/4 cup of wholewheat flour I didn't have with, regular flour or oats? I was set to go. They turned out just right, not too sweet, with a strong enough but not overpowering aroma of maple syrup. Since they are best when made the same day you intend to consume them, I prepared them and left them unbaked in the fridge the evening before and baked them the next morning. They were perfect. I then froze the baked ones and reheated them the morning after that and they were still just as good. My only note: the recipe suggested baking for 20-25 minutes. When they had been in for 18 minutes I realized they were turning dark and took them out just before the bottoms would have started burning. So keep an eye on them while they are in the oven. I made some maple butter to eat with them by beating a little maple syrup into softened unsalted butter, but if you have clotted cream on hand by all means indulge.

1 3/4 cups (or 260gr) flour
1/2 cup (or 80gr) whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (or 35gr) rolled oats
1 heaped tbsp baking powder
1 heaped tbsp superfine sugar

1/2 tsp salt
scant 3/4 cup (or 160gr) butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup milk (or buttermilk)
1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 400°F (or 200°C). Line a baking tray with parchment paper. In a bowl, whisk together the flours, oats, baking powder, sugar and salt together. Work the butter into the dry ingredients (with pastry blender or fingertips), until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Combine the milk and syrup and add to the butter-flour mixture. Bring everything together (by hand or with spatula), to form a soft dough. If it feels too dry, add some milk but make sure the dough does not get sticky. On a floured surface, pat or roll the dough out until it is 1 1/4 inches (3 cm) tall. I rolled mine a little thinner. Using a 2-inch (5-cm) cutter (I used a shot glass that was slightly smaller in diameter), cut the dough into rounds and place them on the tray. Glaze the tops with beaten egg and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the scones are lightly golden. Serve warm. My size scone yielded about 12-15 scones vs. SK's 8.


  1. Hahahaha I feel the same when I go to Ikea... I know I'll go there in the morning and get back home some time just before dinner!!! Great scones by the way! They look delicious! :-)

  2. Here we go again! Really!? I have lived this DAY at Ikea!

    When I first enter the eyes light up and I begin to sweat! I grab the catalog, a tape measure, a little pencil and a big blue bag. My kids are already gone and my husband looks at me with a glare as if saying, "calm down woman...calm down!" There's the trips where we return home with 500boxes...all of which weigh a ton and I have no idea how the car survived the trip...or I come back with bags full of napkins, tea lights and pebbles! I ALWAYS eat a hotdog, chips and a soda for like 50 cents!

    Oh and yes, your scones are beautiful, love the photos!!!!!

  3. funny write-up on the mega store experience, something I avoid like the plague! I hate all these huge stores and would rather do without.
    Love these scones, these would be a delight on a sunday morning.

  4. We went to Ikea over the weekend to get kitchen ideas (we're remodeling). There is something to what you've written. I find the same thing happens to me at Target stores here, too. I sort of drift into this mental fog and cannot persuade myself that I don't need those lovely do-dads or what-nots. I firmly believe that it is the aroma of the store: that cinnamon-mixed-with-Sweedish-meatball combination is dangerously powerful for mere mortals (At Target it's the plastic smell, but, similarly, it prevents oxygen from reaching my brain.)

  5. Hehe the Ikea experience is universal isn't it! :P I don't mind an occasional visit but I have to be int he right frame of mine. These scones however I am ready for any time of the day :)

  6. This must be one of the funniest, most clever posts I have read in a long long time! And so spot on! But one thing you left off: the good folks at Ikea who FORCE you by their clever floorplan to visit every single inch of their store no matter what you came for. Need a lamp and think you can head straight to the lamp section then to the checkout? Think again! Too great! And scones! Oooh I want these scones! Maple... yes, please!

  7. First of all, I realized this morning that somehow the recipe for the scones got deleted from the post. Sorry guys!
    Manu - Yeah, that is usually how it goes.
    DD&W - At least you cut your time there by grabbing a hot dog on the way out.
    ToB - They were a delight on Sunday morning, hehe. I agree, I usually avoid the mega malls, but Ikea is convenient for furniture, it is hard to resist.
    Stevie - yeah, Target is even more interesting for me because I only get to go when in the States.
    Lorraine - That is what is so funny (scary?) about it: wherever you are in the world, above or below the equator, you feel like you are in Sweden.
    Jamie - that is a wonderful compliment from such a talented writer, thanks. The truth is there are short cuts to get where you need to quicker. But do I ever take them? No!

  8. I can't handle Ikea here in Rome. Total chaos. There is one book shelf I want for Roman's room, but unless my husband will go by himself, we will have to go without! Yum Scones!!!! I will be a big fan soon, since i just found out Baby Cakes is movin' to London!!!!

  9. You definitely hit my IKEA experience on the nose! I love the road trip to IKEA (we make one a year, at least) and always end up spending WAY to much, but we end up with SO much new stuff, it seems so worth it! =)

  10. Very true, an IKEA experience is the same wherever you are in the world by the sound of this post. However I am delighted to say I have not stepped foot in one in Italy :)

  11. Awesome scones especially the maple syrup flavor..Mmmm must be delicious!!

  12. Those look amazing!

  13. Amo gli scones in ogni declinazione, ador poi lo sciroppo d'acero...quindi li segno subito!

  14. All I want in the world is an Ikea close to me. Well, almost ;) Alas, Indiana is Ikea-less. I have never been, but every now and then I browse the website and imagine all of the little things I'd buy, all of the meatballs I'd eat.

    These scones looks delicious!

  15. Nicole - London! How cool! When are you leaving?
    Peggy - I know, it is impossible to leave empty handed.
    Lindy - No loss, it would be just like being in an Ikea back home.
    Malli, Anon, Terry - if you like maple syrup, these are for you.
    Aubrey - I have two friends who work in design and live in South America. When the lived here in Milan for a few years, the LOVED really is a pretty cool albeit exhausting experience.

  16. I have never been to Ikea because i am afraid I will buy things I don't need! This is a great scone recipe, because it is rustic and sweet. Love it and will make it soon along with your pasta recipe.


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