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Lemon Rhubarb Drop Scones

Rhubarb is here!

My own plants have died off (I thought it was impossible?) having, I can only imagine, been victim to my dog and preschooler – I discovered them last summer in the height of the afternoon heat, peeing on the rhubarb plant in tandem. Probably best that it didn’t come back this year.

So now I must pilfer vacant lots and my mother-in-law’s backyard for the good, thick, red stalks of rhubarb. When I gather an armload I take it home, chop it and stash it in freezer bags to pull out and toss into pies, chutneys, muffins and scones, and steep to make iced rhubarb tea.

But that’s another post.

If you’re nervous about making scones, or don’t want to bother with the patting and the cutting or the mess that tends to come with it, or if you’re a crunchy muffin-top type of person, these easy drop scones are for you. You don’t have to use rhubarb – try raspberries or blueberries, or swap orange zest for the lemon and add fresh or frozen cranberries.

Lemon Rhubarb Drop Scones

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter, cubed
grated zest of a lemon
1/2-1 cup chopped fresh rhubarb
1 cup milk
1 egg
coarse sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat oven to 425F. In a large bowl or the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and lemon zest and pulse or blend with a pastry blender or fork until well combined, with bits of butter no bigger than the size of a pea. If you used a food processor, transfer the mixture to a bowl. Add the rhubarb and toss to combine.

In a small bowl, stir together the milk and egg. Add to the dry ingredients and stir with a spatula just until blended. Drop by large spoonful onto a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment or a silpat mat (or sprayed well with nonstick spray) and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden. Cool on a rack. Makes about 10 scones.

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