I am in love. On Monday I picked up a few pots of herbs that someone was giving away on one of those freecycle groups. One of them happened to be a big, healthy lemon verbena bush. If you have never smelled lemon verbena before, its aroma is like a sweet lemon with a floral note. Similar to lemongrass, but more intense. Within an hour of settling it into its new home on my patio, I had the scissors out trimming it back with the plans of using the leaves for...uh, something. I didn't really know, but a Google search set me straight on that. I never realized there were so many recipes that use lemon balm in them; baked goods, cheesecake, jelly, pesto, beverages. Plus, it has many healing properties including aiding in soothing digestive problems and for relieving depression. I am sure I will be posting about this wonderful multipurpose herb again in the near future.
The recipe that caught my eye was for scones. I love scones. They are so easy to make and are a great breakfast with a cup of coffee. I decided these needed dressed up a bit, so I whipped up some lemon cream to go with them. The more lemony goodness, the better. Next time I make these I think I am going to make one little change to the recipe by adding maybe a tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice into the batter. They are chewy with the addition of the oats, so if you like light and fluffy better these might not be for you, but I found them to be scrumptious. I could almost imagine myself having afternoon tea with the queen.
Lemon Verbena Scones with Lemon Cream
2 cups unbleached flour
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cold butter
1/4 cup finely chopped lemon verbena
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix together flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and brown sugar. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or your fingers until mixture resembles course crumbs. Add in the lemon verbena and mix. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add wet ingredients, stirring well. Mix in well with the flour mixture to form a soft dough. Lightly grease a 12 inch cast iron skillet. Pat the dough into the skillet. Flour hands if dough is sticky. Cut into eight wedges using a serrated knife. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly brown. Serve warm with lemon cream (recipe below).
1/2 cup softened cream cheese
juice from 1/2 of a fresh lemon
honey to taste
Whip honey and lemon juice together. Add honey until desired consistency and sweetness is reached. I used about 1 tablespoon.