This is an ode to good days, good weeks, an homage to honest to God mornings. To coffee and pastries. Sunny breakfast nooks, the works. These are to inspire you to enjoy life one day at a time, and to embrace the pure potential of the early hours, the day yet to unfold. It’s an artfully strung together series of moments, one of the great human achievements, the leisurely morning. So. Let’s talk about mornings. But to talk about morning you must first talk about sleep, that secret act of the mind, that ultra-dimensional coma we slip into every night. We traverse impossible landscapes populated by fear, fantasy, and detritus.
Recipe & more after the jump…
I’m back in the Garden District only it isn’t the Garden District, and you’re there but you don’t look like you with two different colored eyes, and mother is wailing that brother is dead he’s dead he’s dead, and there are vampires at the bottom of an empty swimming pool encased in ice blocks. I turned into a pet bumble bee and was so very proud of my honey. I soared over miniature tropical islands, and majestic, bejeweled elephants frolicked in the hyaline tidal pools. I swam and was warm.
Sleep is wild. I love to sleep. But a proper nights sleep isn’t just an act of discipline. It’s something in your bones. Something I, riddled by insomnia, sometimes think I’m missing. A good nights sleep begins as soon as you lie down. Your limbs are heavy, mind blank. It’s organic, a thing the body knows. It’s a rocking motion, kinetic potential kinetic potential, asleep at sea. I sleep the best, it’s true, in the hull of a sail boat moored somewhere in the islands scattered around Tortola. And I have the most technicolor dreams there, so full of the most fantastical conspiracies and phantom lovers.
But at home, I can’t sleep. I’m surrounded by self-imposed shoulds, oughts, and musts. As soon as head hits pillow there are harried thoughts about picking up the dry cleaning and Oh! how you need to get some more coconut oil because you’re out and I’ve been meaning to have them over to dinner and God, what if they have to tear out the ceiling to fix the plumbing? And how is it that I could fall in and out of love seven or so times in my short life? I really ought to update my portfolio soon. I wish I hadn’t sweetened the second fermentation of half my kombucha with honey. Will it diminish it’s effervescence? I have to clean the bathrooms tomorrow. I will, I will. I want to paint the bedroom white, the office white, the stairwell. I should sell my shoes online. I never wear heels anymore. What a shame. I have such excellent heels….
So you see. That’s not the making of a good nights sleep. Because I have a hard time sleeping, I have a hard time waking. My mornings are sometimes early afternoons because my evenings were early mornings. And sometimes I don’t sleep at all and the morning bleeds out of the night like an unwelcome stain. I dislike this. It feels unnatural and makes me feel filmy. I want mornings. I desperately want them. I want them after sleep, not because I’ve been up all night and probably won’t sleep for 48 hours. I want the eastern sun. I want normalcy.
For over a decade I was largely nocturnal. Things are different now. I’m slowly, painfully slowly at times, finding my rhythm because I’m slowly finding my peace. I’m finding more and more leisurely mornings tucked into my weeks. Peace of mind is what allows for untroubled sleep and fearless waking. It is to this that I aspire, and it is this that I celebrate by sharing this recipe & a few things that have been sent my way with you: namely a cup of fruity, hazlenut scented coffee, organic & fair trade, naturally (more about the company that makes it, Puro Coffee, below) to go along with these crumbly cornmeal scones flecked with the magic that is beurre noisette. Scones that encompass all that is wonderful about cornbread, cake, and biscuits in one satisfying pastry, the perfect canvas for buttery, tangy peach curd with a hint of lavender.
And of course I christened this beautiful handmade plate by BTW Ceramics c/o ScoutMob Shoppe with them because more than anything else I collect, I like thoughtful, practical objects, be it a lovely breakfast plate, great work boots, or a tea towel. I like objects that do good work. They’re the little touches that make the mundane meat of life feel special. And a note: no one can pay me to say good things about their stuff if I don’t like it. So anything & everything I share with you here I personally like and use. Good, so I’m glad we’re clear on that. So, we can’t deny the impending autumn, but we can bottle up summer in the form of this peach and lavender curd to carry with us as it all gets blustery, and these scones are fantastic any time of year. So, good morning and cheers to the untroubled, fearless mind.
Cornmeal Brown Butter Scones
These scones are somewhere between cornbread, cake, and buttermilk biscuit. They are all the holy southern baked goods rolled into one, and all with little flecks of brown butter throughout. With a healthy dollop of peach and lavender curd...well no words. It's a whole other world of peaches & cornbread.
- 190 grams (1.5 cups) all purpose flour, extra for dusting
- 60 grams (1/2 cup) cornmeal, extra for dusting
- 96 grams (1/2 cup) sugar
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- finely grated zest of one lemon
- 8 tablespoons butter (1 stick), divided
- 60 grams (1/4 cup) heavy cream
- 170 grams (scant 3/4 cup) buttermilk
- Divide butter into 5 tablespoons and 3 tablespoons. Place the 3 tablespoons in the freezer while you brown the rest over medium heat, swirling occasionally until golden and smells nutty. Immediately pour into a heatproof container that will be easy to pry it out of, like a small tea cup or bowl. Let cool slightly and then place in the freezer until frozen solid.
- Heat oven to 450°F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment and sprinkle liberally with cornmeal.
- When butters are frozen, place a mixing bowl on a digital scale. Weigh flour, cornmeal, and sugar into bowl, and then add baking powder, soda, salt, and lemon zest. Stir to combine.
- Grate the butters on a box grater and then toss into the flour to combine & coat.
- Place a small bowl on the scale, measure the cream & buttermilk into it.
- Pour them into the flour butter mixture and stir to combine.
- Turn dough out onto a well floured work surface (all purpose flour).
- Sprinkle the top with flour and using lightly floured hands pat the dough into a nice ball.
- Place ball on prepared baking sheet and press into a circle about 1-1.5" thick.
- Using a well floured knife or bench scraper cut into 8 wedges and sprinkle with raw sugar
- Bake for 18-23 minutes, until golden brown.
- Cool slightly on sheet and then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
- Serve with curd!
The dough can be pretty tacky, just flour as needed to form into ball and get it on that baking sheet!
Peach curd alone is a pretty amazing thing but with the addition of lavender it's really special and can turn a simple piece of toast into a romantic breakfast for one. It's having little things like this in my fridge, things that you just can't buy at the store, that remind me why I love making things from scratch. If you were so inclined, you could can this and it would keep for 3-4 months and you'd be able to enjoy it well into the colder months when fruit becomes scarce.
- 1 scant tablespoon lavender buds, ground into a powder
- 3 large peaches, peeled and diced
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or to taste
- 5 egg yolks
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- In a food processor of blender puree peaches. You should have about 12 ounces of puree.
- Whisk yolks and sugar in a heat proof bowl until thick and pale yellow.
- Stir in peach puree, lemon juice, lavender, salt, and vanilla.
- Bring an inch or two of water to a simmer in a sauce pan that the bowl will fit snugly over, and cook the puree over the water, stirring constantly until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, about ten minutes. It will thicken around 175°F.
- Strain curd through a mesh strainer, swirling with the back of a ladle but not pushing, into a clean bowl and whisk in the butter, bit by bit, while the curd is still hot until fully incorporated.
- Strain once more if desired (I don't usually but you can if you want a more refined texture).
- Store in a jar in the fridge. Slather on everything.
I grind my lavender buds in a mini food processor but a mortar & pestle or a spice grinder would work just as well.
A little about this coffee. Whether my “morning” is at 4am, 8am or 3pm, I have coffee. One cup. Plenty of cream. Plenty. When Puro Coffee offered to send me some of their organic, fair trade beans to try at first I was all “Sorry, I don’t do product reviews”, but when they told me about their company’s work to preserve rain forests, indiginous peoples, and endangered species as well as their coffee, I said “Um, yes please. But I won’t share it if I don’t like it.” So they sent me a lovely gift box, and I’ve been drinking their coffee every morning since. Which is to say I liked it. Here’s a short video that tells the story of what they do & how they do it because they do it so much better than I could here. It should be noted they are not paying me to say any of this, unless you count two bags of coffee. Which is, admittedly, kind of as good as money to a coffee devotee like myself. I know scones are a tea thing, and I love a cuppah as much as the next girl, but when it comes to my mornings, coffee is my first love. If you’re with me on this, you should definitely check out what these people are doing.