Weekend Baking: Orange you glad it’s thyme for rhubarb scones?

There’s a new kid in my garden. Can you see that dainty little sprig of green right on top of that pretty scone? Well, that’s it. That’s the new kid. His name is Orange Thyme of the Thymus family. I’ve known his cousin, Lemon Thyme, for many years. For several summers, Lemon Thyme has been a favorite visitor in my kitchen, adding shindig to my sugar cookies, cha-cha to chicken, liveliness to my lemon bread and sassy flair to my salads. I love Lemon Thyme. When she’s not in my kitchen, she’s just outside the door basking in the sunshine.

And then, last weekend I spotted tiny Orange Thyme at the Kingfield Farmers Market in Minneapolis. I snapped up the potted herb and found a spot for it very near to Lemon Thyme. If all goes well, Orange Thyme should be making a perennial appearance in my garden.

I could not wait to snip a few stems of Orange Thyme and start baking. With a few stalks of rhubarb still in my refrigerator, I chose to make Rhubarb Scones with Orange Thyme, using my favorite base recipe for scones. I added a bit more sugar to balance the tartness of the bits of rhubarb that I stirred into the batter. Since I didn’t want to take too much from my newly planted Orange Thyme, I only added a tightly-packed 1/4 teaspoon. Next time I might use a full teaspoon in order to get more of its light citrus tang. Bright and zesty Lemon Thyme would also work well in this recipe. But, if you don’t have either one, just use a 1/2 teaspoon of grated orange zest and these scones will still be wonderful, because the star is tart rhubarb.

These scones will make you so happy. Warm from the oven, they are so moist with almost a creamy texture. Each bit of soft, tart rhubarb will send bubbles of joy from your taste-buds to your tummy. Break through the crunchy sweet sugar sprinkled over the top of the scone and your lips will become a smile. You’ll just want to keep eating more. Really. That’s how good they are. Even the next day after baking, these scones bring sighs of joy.

I couldn’t help shooting a few pictures of some sweet flowers in my garden as I was out taking a picture of Orange Thyme. These flowers make me smile, too.

Blooming flax, the color of beautiful blue sky on a perfect summer day:

I think this one is called a Pincushion flower, a perennial I bought a few years ago.

Yesterday Gracie was outside with me and she pulled one of those flowers out by its root. The bud hadn’t opened yet. I brought it in and put the stem in some water. Today the bud is open.

Gracie is forgiven. Just look at that face. I’m sure she thought that flower was a weed and she was just helping me get the job done…

The forget-me-not plants my neighbor dug from her garden to share with me are still blooming and just as cute as can be.

There you have it. Summer flowers and rhubarb scones. I’m smiling. How about you?

Rhubarb Cream Scones with Orange Thyme

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 teaspoon, packed, orange thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small (1/2-inch) chunks
  • 2 cups finely chopped fresh rhubarb
  • 1 cup pecans or walnuts, broken
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift flour, baking powder, salt and 1/2 cup sugar into a large mixing bowl. Add butter and orange thyme leaves. Use a pastry blender (or two table knives) to cut butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in rhubarb and nuts. Add whipping cream and yogurt. Stir just until combined.

Drop 1/2-cup mounds of batter onto prepared baking sheets. You should have 4 or 5 mounds on each sheet. Sprinkle each mound with 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar. Bake 20 minutes, until puffed and dark golden. Transfer to a rack and cool to warm, about 10 minutes (if you can wait that long), before serving. Makes 8 to 10 scones.

6 thoughts on “Weekend Baking: Orange you glad it’s thyme for rhubarb scones?

  1. Pingback: Orange Pecan French Toast and Recipe Roundup | The Heavy Table - Minneapolis-St. Paul and Upper Midwest Food Magazine and Blog

  2. wondering where I can get a hold of orange thyme here in the Bemidji area? My daughter would like to try your recipe for 4-H project.
    Thanks, Ora

    • You may have to call around to area nurseries to inquire about the availability of orange thyme, Ora. I only visited one of them this season and did not see orange thyme. It might be a good idea for your daughter to make the scones once, even without the orange thyme, to see how she likes the way they turn out. Then, if you can’t find orange thyme, let me know. I can share some sprigs of mine with your daughter.

  3. Hi,

    I love blue flowers too! Here’s some help identifying the first blue flower picture that you called a pincushion plant. It’s actually a common variety of blue flax. I have some too and it is beautiful and tends to stems that hang down somewhat like a willow. Tiny flowers the color of a summer sky.

    The pincushion plant can be seen by following this link: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.wilsonbrosonline.com/public/images/source/Pincushion-Flower-Butterfly-Blue.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.wilsonbrosonline.com/Plant-Files/Perennial-Plants/Spring-Blooming-Perennials.aspx&usg=__7IsvWtLu-vkfqWDvBcEo1hMMjMo=&h=341&w=303&sz=39&hl=en&start=30&zoom=1&tbnid=TfxnO9P0yg0yPM:&tbnh=167&tbnw=165&ei=6q4DTtGkBpOWtwe3w6iGDg&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dpincushion%2Bplant%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26hs%3DxdX%26sa%3DX%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26biw%3D1173%26bih%3D515%26tbm%3Disch&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=145&vpy=170&dur=2655&hovh=238&hovw=212&tx=115&ty=154&page=4&ndsp=10&ved=1t:429,r:5,s:30&biw=1173&bih=515

    Sorry, that was a very long link.

    I’ve had fun reading your posts.


    • Yes, I do love my blue flax, Brenda. And, I’m so glad it comes back year after year, getting a little thicker each summer. The one I thought was the pincushion plant is the flower that I show in the bottle — the one Gracie pulled out by the root. After going to the link you provided, I see I’m wrong about that. I do have a pincushion plant, but it hasn’t bloomed yet. I’m not sure what the one pictured on my blog is, but it is a perennial. Thanks for the link! Now I’m anxious for those sweet little pincushion flowers to bloom!

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