Ginger never ceases to amaze me. Dried and powdered, it provides a welcome but subtle background burn in baked goods. Candied and crystallized, it’s sweet and hot and melty. Fresh and chopped, sliced, or grated, it adds an astringent, spicy note to stir-fries and soups. And let’s not forget the beverages: ginger tea is just about the only thing I’ll consume when I have a cold, ginger ale is still my favorite in-flight beverage, and ginger beer is just plain awesome. At my brother’s wedding, they were serving a specialty cocktail called a ‘gin gin mule’, which had gin, ginger beer, and lime juice, and the next day me and my aching head definitely wished that it hadn’t been quite so delicious. Fortunately, I have the hangover food thing totally figured out.
These ‘double ginger’ scones contain both powdered and crystallized ginger. I tried adding some of the fresh stuff to the dough, because the only thing better than double ginger is triple ginger, but it added more work than flavor. Instead, I decided to incorporate the powdered ginger twice: in the dough itself, and then mixed with raw sugar and sprinkled on top. The resulting scone is tender and warm and just sweet enough. And although I usually cut my scones into wedges, this time I decided to make them biscuit-style to serve them as rhubarb shortcakes. Everyone gave them rave reviews, including my ginger-hating mother and my sister’s one-year-old son. (If you’re not baking these for infants, one possible variation would be to use honey as a sweetener. Honey and ginger love each other.)
The shortcake concept – scone/biscuit + simply (or not at all) prepared fruit + whipped topping – appeals to me deeply. Here are some other shortcake ideas I’ve been throwing around…
- earl grey scones, earl grey whipped cream, blueberries
- almond scones, amaretto whipped cream, apricots
- pistachio scones, greek yogurt with honey, cherries
- basil scones, white chocolate whipped cream, strawberries
- chestnut scones, sage whipped cream, apples
- lemon thyme scones, whipped goat cheese, dried figs
- cheddar scones, plain whipped cream, apples
The classic strawberry shortcake is perfect in its own right, but I think this is an idea that could use some variations. I certainly have enough scone recipes to work from!