Buckwheat Scones

Earlier last month I went on my last trip before residency started. The last hurrah to normal life for a while. Lara and I took a quick trip to Chicago to visit our cousin who lives in Bucktown. We had been talking for a while about us visiting Chicago to see her and her place, and explore her neighborhood. We finally got it done just in the nick of time. We only went for a short weekend, but we had a marvelous time while there. Did a lot of walking, exploring, shopping and of course, eating! I had my first real ramen eating experience which was awesome, visited a great local coffee shop, and perhaps most importantly, grabbed a quick breakfast at a nearby bakery before church on Sunday morning. 

Since Lara and I are earlier risers than most, we got up before anyone else on Sunday and decided to grab some coffee and pastries while everyone else in the house slept. Just a couple miles down the road was Floriole Bakery. I'd been here the last time I visited Chicago and loved it, knew it was a place I would go back to. I was right, it was just as wonderful on this visit. It was very difficult to decide what to get, everything looks amazing, but I ended up ordering a delicious cup of coffee and a buckwheat scone which sounded interesting to me. It was the perfect choice. I absolutely loved the scone. The combination of the buckwheat combined with a little cardamom and some citrus notes was just perfect. A little sandy and course in texture, but not too crumbly. I instantly wanted to recreate this at home. 

When I got back to Michigan I did a little online searching and wouldn't you know it, I found a recipe for buckwheat scones from Floriole Bakery on the Chicago Tribune's website. Perfect!! I quickly ran to the store for some buckwheat and whipped a batch of these beauties together. The verdict? The flavor is spot on, but the texture is slightly different, not as sandy. Their scones almost seemed like they had cornmeal in them, giving them a coarser texture which my scones did not have. When I look on the bakery's website online they describe the buckwheat scones as flourless while this recipe calls for 1/3 cup of flour. So there are definitely some differences, not surprising, but in the end it's not a big deal. This recipe is definitely similar to the original and most certainly a keeper! It is unique, easy to make and delicious. I will definitely make these over and over again!

I made a few changes to the recipe as it was printed online. I replaced the orange zest with lemon zest because I didn't have any oranges. I was bummed about this because I love adding orange to baked goods, but they still turned out great. I  also didn't use cream as stated, but instead used a mix of whole milk and liquid whey (2 ounces whole milk, 1 ounce whey) to make my own "buttermilk" and it worked just fine. I did only needed to use 6 tablespoons of liquid though, as opposed to the 1/2 cup of cream called for. So be careful when added the liquid, start with less than 1/2 cup because you may not need it all. 

Because there is not a lot of gluten in these scones (buckwheat is actually not wheat and is therefore gluten free) they are a little more delicate than traditional scones, but they aren't so delicate as to fall apart with a glance. As with the original scones, this recipe calls for you to make a thumbprint in the scones before baking and fill this with raspberry jam. I didn't have raspberry jam, or any other jam, so I skipped it this time and they were just fine without it. But for a little extra oomph of flavor I would definitely add this in on another go around. So if you're looking for something a little different for breakfast, or have been wanted to play around with some buckwheat flour, give these scones a go, you won't be disappointed!


Buckwheat Scones
Adapted from The Chicago Tribune

  • 3/4 cup (60 grams) old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
  • 3/4 cup (90 grams) buckwheat flour
  • 1/3 cup (40 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons (85 grams) butter, cut into cubes and chilled
  • 4-6 tablespoons buttermilk

Measure 6 tablespoons of the oats (30 grams) and the sugar into the food processor. Buzz, reducing oats to flour. Transfer oat/sugar mixture to a large bowl. Add the buckwheat flour, all-purpose flour, lemon zest, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt. Stir to combine. 

Add the butter. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter, stopping when the largest butter bits are about the size of peas. Mix in remaining 6 tablespoons rolled oats. Drizzle in the buttermilk slowly. The dough will come together in large clumps that stick together readily when pressed. You may not need to add all the liquid. Add only as much buttermilk as needed for the dough to hold together. 

Shape the dough into 10 equal sized balls and set on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with a little coarse sugar if desired.

Slide baking sheet into a 350-degree oven and bake until just set, 18-20 minutes. Eat warm, or at room temperature. 


Winter Trip to Chicago

Over Christmas break, Lara and I took a short trip to Chicago to visit our cousin Anna, and to just enjoy walking around downtown, do some shopping and of course eat some good food! We were only there for a little over a day, but we did manage to sneak in some tasty treats in that short amount of time.

We arrived in downtown Chicago in the morning, and after some shopping, we were ready to find something for lunch. We found a cute little place called Toni's Patisserie and Café which was perfect. This place was loading with the most fabulous looking pastries, cookies, breads and chocolates. When I saw baguette sandwiches on the menu I knew we had found lunch. We decided to split the Le Breton sandwich, a chewy baguette with ham, salted butter, cornichons and gruyere, delicious!

Since we split lunch, that meant it was okay to get dessert of course! Since this was over Christmas break, something festive seemed like the right thing to eat, so we got the eggnog tart, creamy custard in a cookie crust with chocolate and whipped cream. A beautiful end to this delicious experience.

As we continued our walking around, I was just starting to get a little tired when I saw the sign for Magnolia Bakery. Of course I've heard about Magnolia Bakery numerous times, and even though we weren't in New York City, I decided I needed to check it out and see what all the fuss is about. It was a very cute little shop, with tons of people working behind the counter. I wanted to stay and watch them make the cupcakes. I picked out the gingerbread cupcake with vanilla bean butter cream to try. To be honest I wasn't all that impressed. While I loved the light and creamy buttercream, the actual cake was pretty dry, and not anything all that special. At $3.50 a pop I think I'll stick with my homemade cupcakes when I'm feeling a cupcake craving.

Even though the cupcake wasn't that great, I'm glad I got to stop and see what Magnolia Bakery is all about. I know I didn't visit the original, but at least when I read about it again, I'll have some idea what everyone is talking about.

After a day downtown, Lara and I were ready to head to my cousins place to relax, and of course eat dinner. We ended up at a place called Rocks, which Anna said she'd been wanting to try. It was too dark in there to even try to get a photo so I can't share any pictures of my delicious burger. It was the signature Rocks burger which was a cooked to order 8 ounce patty on a soft pretzel roll with bacon, pepper jack cheese, onion strings, lettuce, tomato and a side of giardiniera and fries of course. I'll admit that I'm a sucker for anything on a pretzel bun and this did not disappoint.

Our final food stop in Chicago was for breakfast before we headed back to Michigan. In my opinion, all a fabulous breakfast needs is a delicious pastry and some good coffee. The Floriole Cafe and Bakery in Lincoln Park delivered just that. I found this cute little place online and knew I had to visit it before leaving. Walking in the door, we found a display case piled high with croissants, calfoutis, scones, galettes, pound cakes, sticky buns, quiche and tartines. I was in heaven.

Since I was feeling like something a little lighter for breakfast, I went with a basic croissant. It was fantastic, buttery and flakey, crisp on the outside, soft and light on the inside. Lara decided on the almond croissant, a twice baked croissant soaked with rum syrup and filled with almond cream. To. Die. For. 

Sitting in the front window, breaking into beautiful pastries and sipping delicious coffee, it was a wonderful way to end the trip. A perfect ending to a fun couple of days.

I would recommend any of the places we went on this trip. In fact, I want to go back right now and do it all over again!