I can’t believe I’m about to put this in writing, but… I’ve never been much of a reader. Sure, at a young age I enjoyed curling up with my mom, dad or siblings and listening to their animated voices read me children’s books. Who doesn’t? It’s rather ironic I suppose, graduating college with a degree in journalism, yet feeling a lack of love or, sometimes even… like, for reading. For so many years I was assigned what authors or books to read – the forced selection didn’t sit well with me, nor did improve my nonexistent motivation to power through a book, cover to cover. In stark contrast to my last post (see “I am Food”), the absence of this leisure activity in my life has given way to my identity as the black sheep of the family. Everyone is a reader. Everyone gets absorbed in a story with the flip of a page and can finish a new book in one day, or hours even. A foreign feeling for me at this point in my life. (How sad is that?)
I’m here to say I may be moving up in the literary world (and stepping out of that black sheep suit). Though not the first time, I’ve sought reading inspiration from Powell’s – perhaps you’ve heard of Portland’s wondrous land of used books – selection of Gastronomic Literature. I’m always surprised how many must-reads I’m able to retrieve from the rows, but lately the number of books I find myself stuffing between my arms and chin is alarming. Taking up reading is undoubtedly a step in the right direction for me and my down time, but it proves to be a tempting and costly pastime – old news for the everyday (for every year of their life) reader, I would assume.
A few weeks ago, following an afternoon visit to Powell’s, I perused my stack of to-read books (yes, mostly food-themed) and dug in to book number one. As my eyes met the words, and I lapped up every food description-produced crumb or flavor I could get, I let myself get completely lost in the story for what felt like the first time in a very long time. -A nice escape from the monotonous and draining pace of everyday life, if I do say so myself – As I was lost in the pages of Jenna Weber’s White Jacket Required, something (and I can’t say what it was) brought me back to elementary school and the days of occasional read-ins. What happened to hiding out in a corner with your favorite pillow, blanket, books and snacks, jammies on, and just reading? Little consideration was needed before my mom and I agreed to put on the first Lawson Family Read-In, complete with invitation crafting and menu organization.
Sunday marked this joyous event. A day full of books, blankets, coffee and tea, pumpkin scones, cheese fondue and chorizo chili, it was nothing short of successful. There’s a good chance I’ll push to make this a recurring, multiple times a year kind of day. You would too if you gave it a shot! Given the feedback I received on my pumpkin scones with walnuts and coconut, I’d say breakfast stole the show!
Pumpkin Scones with Walnuts and Coconut
2 ¾ C flour
1/3 C packed brown sugar
3-4 T milk
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
1 t cinnamon
¼ t ginger
½ t nutmeg
¼ t allspice
½ C butter
½ – ¾ C pure pumpkin
½ C chopped walnuts
½ C (heaping) shredded coconut
1 egg for egg wash
2 T Cinnamon sugar, for topping
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and prepare baking pan with parchment paper (or other desired baking tool).
Whisk together sugar, flour, salt, baking powder and spices in a large bowl. Cut in the butter until mixture is combined and crumbly.
Using a standing mixer or large bowl and electric hand mixer, combine the pumpkin and eggs until smooth.
Add the pumpkin and egg mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring until moist and combined. Fold in chopped walnuts and coconut. If the mixture seems dry, gradually add milk to get a better consistency.
*Heads up: the added moisture makes for a sticky, sticky dough, so have the flour nearby for sprinkling.
Pat dough into a large circle, about ¼ of an inch thick. Cut the dough into wedges with a knife. (You should be able to get about 12)
Carefully transfer sticky scone wedges from rolling surface to prepared baking sheet. (I find that a pizza stone works great)
Beat remaining egg and combine with water for egg wash. Brush onto each scone and top with a light dusting of cinnamon sugar before popping in the oven.
Bake 22-25 minutes, until scones achieve a perfectly golden-brown color and look slightly crisp around the edges. Best enjoyed warm.
So here’s to enjoying freshly-baked pumpkin scones on a crisp fall day with a good-read in-hand. This is my public vow (or goal) to keep this newfound literary momentum moving. Wish me luck!