Friday, January 13, 2017

Savory spruce (or pine!), oatmeal and cheese scones. Eat your Christmas tree, part 2!

So after experimenting with the spruce in a sweet dessert cookie, I got curious about it as a savory. After all, rosemary and pine have kind of similar flavors, and rosemary is frequently the featured flavor in artisanal breads, biscuits and rolls.

I started out with a fairly basic oatmeal scone recipe, but I deviated pretty quickly. Technically, I think these would count as a "teacake" at this point, rather than a true scone.  I made them a little smaller than scones, as they are little sweeter (but still not sweet), denser, and richer. 

With spruce being an ingredient in Scandinavian cooking, and scones being British or English, what would you call these? Scandlish? Britinavian? 

I really liked these a lot, more than the sweet cookies I made earlier, though most everyone else liked the sweet better. These are best served hot, preferably with some creamy, grass-fed butter or fresh cheese, and, of course, a pot of hot tea!

Special note: women who are pregnant should avoid eating spruce. You could make these with pine or balsam fir instead, though!

Spruce (or pine!), oatmeal and cheese scones/teacakes

Makes 12 - 14

1 cup quick-cook oats
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup Asiago cheese, grated
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup spruce needles, pulled from the stem
2 tbs. honey
1 cup water
1 egg, beaten
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. aged balsamic vinegar (optional)
freshly ground black pepper

  1. Heat the water and honey to boiling, and reduce to a simmer. Add in your spruce (or pine) needles, and continue to cook for about 10 minutes. Strain the needles, reserving the liquid as well. Chop 2 tbs. of the needles as finely as you can. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Add the oats to a large mixing bowl. Mix in 1/4 cup of the spruce liquid, olive oil, brown sugar       , beaten egg and finely chopped spruce needles. Grind some black pepper over the mixture, and stir again.
  4. In a smaller bowl combine the flour, cheese, salt and baking soda. Working in small amounts, mix the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients. Make sure there are no lumps.
  5. Roll out 1" balls of the dough, and flatten slightly before placing, well spaced, on the parchment. Sprinkle a couple of cooked spruce needles onto each ball and press into the dough slightly.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until slightly browned. They taste best served warm, with creamy butter or spread with cheese

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