Bread of the Month: Celebrating strawberries, streusel in a scone

[I] would wager that, in the spring, when grocery shoppers across this country get a hankering for strawberry shortcake, strawberry pie, strawberry…anything, that don’t give a moment’s thought to the fact that most of the strawberries they’re buying come from the productive fields of California, from Oxnard to Watsonville.

My mom, Salinas-born, but Kansas-bound, made a point of selecting strawberries from Salinas’ neighboring Watsonville. She might be one of the only ones who took the time to notice. 

I mention this because here in California, we are in the middle of a drought. And probably nobody else in the country cares, as I’ve found there to be a vehement dislike for all things California in the rest of the country (sorry to notice, but California-bashing seems like an acceptable practice).

But maybe they’d sit up and pay attention if it involved their ability to get strawberries. It just might. Even with a drought, the California strawberry will continue to get cultivated and will continue to produce, but the balance is, well, out of balance, and if future rainy seasons  come up short as the last few have, the ability for California to produce the strawberries and other produce enjoyed by other Americans just may be affected.

I think about this as I have my own strawberry cravings every spring, thinking of the ways I might use fresh strawberries in recipes and choosing carefully in respect and honor of all the work for a beautiful strawberry to come into being land at the grocery store and then be brought home.

[T]humbing through the pages of the May issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine, a section on strawberry recipes caught my eye. While a recipe for pretty-pink strawberry ice cream (one of my favorites) set me off to pondering how fast I could freeze my ice cream maker barrel base, I also noticed a recipe for Strawberry Crumble Scones (recipe: You had me at crumble.

[I] began this recipe by making the crumbly streusel, a mix of oats, flour, salt, brown sugar cinnamon and a couple of tablespoons of butter, all blended to a dusty, but chunky consistency.

[T]he dough begins with a flour mixture, including a little sugar and baking powder (I also added a bit of salt). 

[C]ubed butter is added and worked in until the butter is just in small bits distributed evenly throughout the flour mixture.

[S]ome heavy cream is whisked with lemon zest and an egg, then added to the flour mixture, where I blended with a spatula  just until everything was damp. 

[C]hopped fresh strawberries and toasted walnuts are then gently added in, carefully so as not to smash up the berries too much. .

[I]t made quite a shaggy dough, which is common in scones, but I thought it might be a challenge to bring it all together once dumped out of the bowl.

[I] put the crumbly dough on parchment, then used the parchment to bring the dough together…this turned out to be an effective method rather than trying to knead the dough together with my hands.

[I] was able to flatten the dough out to a circle eight inches in diameter.

[T]he oat-y streusel mix was sprinkled over the circle (giving an ample amount for the scones) and gently pressed in. Then the scone circle was cut into eight wedges.

[T]he cut scones were separated and placed around the baking sheet, with adequate room in between. 

[T]he scones baked up to release a heavenly scent, a combination of cinnamon-y brown sugar and the jammy odor of strawberries, which had released some of their bright red juices onto the baking sheet and throughout the scones.

[L]ike a slice of strawberry coffeecake, the blend of streusel, walnuts and juicy strawberries, all wrapped up in a tender buttery scone, was an ideal combination, and another good recipe choice to celebrate the strawberry, for those who know and love this favorite berry and are looking for a different way to appreciate it.

For the recipe, go to

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