With St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow and the Valley decked out in greenery (thanks to our recent rains), this is the perfect week for an Irish treat.
Always on the lookout for new recipes, one of my Book Loft co-workers, Ellen Hall, shared her timely and delightful scone recipe.
I queried Ellen about the origin of her recipe. Admitting to a sweet tooth and a love of scones, she said “the recipe is one I have put together after trying many others.” Adding that she calls it a “work in progress.”
I’m not sure how it can get any better, but I’m volunteering for taste testing.
A Missouri native, Ellen was only one year old when her family relocated to California.
Ellen and husband Daniel, moved to the Valley when Daniel’s son attended college in Santa Barbara.
“We moved from San Juan Capistrano,” she said, adding “we expected to stay five years or so. Now, 32 years later we are still here.”
Daniel and Ellen have a romantic back story.
“My husband and I met in high school and went ‘steady’ from grade 10 to 12,” she said, adding that they were “crazy times then with the draft for the Vietnam War.”
Well, he was drafted and the couple went separate ways. “Life just carried us both along, but we kept in touch. In our mid-30s we ‘met’ again and have been together ever since.”
They blended their families and now have four grown children. Three of their “kids,” she said, still live in Orange County and one in Bend, Oregon.
Daniel is a retired, self employed produce broker and property manager, however, Ellen has worn many hats in her career.
She worked as a bank auditor and manager before moving to the Valley. After coming here, she continued in banking and finance, then librarian at both Solvang and Buellton libraries, a stint in art sales and a couple years working for the Solvang Chamber.
Now, she’s moved on to a career attuned to another love of her life, books.
Drawn to books from an early age, she added that “when I lived in Newport Beach, I biked four miles (back and forth) to the local library. Later, in high school, every year I volunteered one period a day,” she said.
Now, in addition to her Book Loft bookseller duties, she’s discovered a passion for Hans Christian Andersen and is proving to be quite an asset in the store’s upstairs HCA Museum.
Currently immersing herself in his writings, I’m thinking that she’s embarking on quite a journey. HCA’s works include over 170 fairy tales, poetry, plays and travel stories as well as one or two biographies.
Admitting that she has loved books all her life, I figure she’ll make it through them all.
Thanks, Ellen, for your story and great recipe. It’s the answer to my recipe quest that’s just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.
In other words, I am (pun intended) killing two birds with one scone.
SCONES ALA ELLEN
3 cups ﬂour
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 cup dried fruit (blueberries, cherries, mangos etc.)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk or half and half
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
Mix flour with salt and baking powder. Add sugars and fruit, stir to mix thoroughly. Grate in butter. Mix egg with milk and slowly add to dry (use more if necessary to form cohesive dough).
Turn out onto lightly floured surface and roll to 1-inch thickness. Cut with floured round cutter, place on prepared sheet and bake until risen and brown, 10 to 14 minutes.
Ellen added, “Enjoy!”
NOTE: I used dried cranberries in scones and, caught without milk or half-and-half, I substituted whipping cream … they were terrific!