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Pandemic travel scones are a thing. Maybe a thing we invented but who cares. The COVID-19 pandemic upended the lives of nearly all Americans for almost the entire year (so far). We usually set up a budget each year that includes some traveling. Sometimes it is far away but more often a fun weekend close to home. We all know that isn’t happening but our pandemic travel scones recipe brings some of the magic home each weekend.
Scones, coffee, and travel around Europe
Travel during a global pandemic is difficult, ill advised, and probably irresponsible. That said, our desire to get out of the house occasionally and see the world hasn’t been diminished. If anything, the covid-19 pandemic highlighted just how valuable taking periodic breaks from your regular surroundings can be for us psychologically. Humans have an innate urge to get out there and explore.Jump to Recipe
I know that *actually* travelling right now is out of the question for most of us, so we had to find something else to scratch that itch. We are avid Disney goers and runDisney enthusiasts who have sorely missed going to the theme parks over the last 6 months. Someone on social media in those circles posted videos of people walking around the Magic Kingdom as a virtual park day. Looking through those, I stumbled across a genre of YouTube video called ‘treadmill’ or ‘virtual walk’ videos.
It dawned on me that we could save virtual walks of places we previously vacationed to run on our treadmill to as a way to break up the monotony and relive fun memories. We started with tours of Tallinn Estonia, Helsinki Finland, and Paris France but eventually branched out to places new to us. Most of them have made it on to our travel bucket list now.
It is all about the atmosphere
What I like about the video is the simplicity. It is just a person slowly walking around the city enjoying the sights and sounds the way you would if exploring in person. There isn’t a tour guide explaining the historical or cultural importance of what you are passing. It isn’t a Rick Steves travel video cutting from one location to another. It is truly a virtual walk through another place where you can imagine yourself being.
Where the magic happens is realizing one lazy Sunday morning after breakfast that we could all sit comfortably on our couch together and virtually walk through a foreign city. I’m not suggesting that cranking out a 10K on a Sunday morning isn’t equally fun (or healthier), just that sometimes you want to get comfy with a cup of coffee instead.Jump to Recipe
Yum… scones, jam, & whipped cream
The next Sunday we woke up, got out the cookbook and looked through to find something fun to make as a family that would pair well with good cup of coffee. I don’t know if it is because we went to London last year on vacation or watch a lot of the Great British Baking Show on TV, but we settled on scones. It helps that scones involve ingredients we already had in the house and is simple enough for our 4 year old to help make.
Travel from your couch
Over a month, this quickly became the Sunday tradition though we added whipped cream to the mix for fun. We get up, make scones, whip some cream, brew some coffee, and pick which city we plan on visiting for the next hour or so. I recommend the Wengen Switzerland, Tallinn Estonia, and Edinburgh Scotland (linked below) to start with but explore around.
Give this content creator a follow on YouTube: City Walks virtual walking tours. I am in no way associated with them and gain nothing by sharing their content. I just think they make great videos that honestly make you feel like you are walking through the city and COVID-19 doesn’t exist.
Notes on baking pandemic travel scones
The buttermilk matters here, chemically speaking. Just use buttermilk. Look up recipes for buttermilk pancakes to use up the rest of the bottle since those are the best pancakes. Comment below with your favorite type of pancakes and why it is buttermilk pancakes.
Try to mix the dough as little as possible to form a mass usable enough to cut scones from. The more you mix the dough the tougher the scones will end up and no amount of jam or cream will salvage hockey pucks.
Try to keep the butter cold when making the dish. The little bits of still solid butter in the dough help provide some of the rise in the bake. Pandemic Travel Scones need to be light and flaky to have enough room for all that jam.
Thoughts on my pandemic travel scones?
Please comment below telling me how these aren’t real British scones or how I should be using clotted cream instead. I might agree with you but just marvel at the fact that an American in the South chose these over biscuits before you bring the heat. I kid, I kid… haha.
Recipe aside, comment below with your favorite travel video or virtual walk and why. I’ll try to fit that into our rotation and visit somewhere new. How have your family weekend traditions changed during the pandemic? I think we might keep this one some of the Sundays after we get through 2020.Print Recipe
Pandemic Travel Scones
- 250 g self-raising flour by weight
- 1 tsp table salt table salt, not kosher salt
- 50 g sugar
- 50 g unsalted butter diced & chilled
- 1 egg
- 100 ml buttermilk
- Set the oven to 425 F
- Sift flour, salt, and sugar together in a mixing bowl
- Add the butter to flour mixture. Using your hands, rub the flour into the butter over and over until it looks like play sand and is no longer lumpy. The idea is to coat as much tiny butter flakes with flour as possible without letting the butter melt.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg with the buttermilk until smooth.
- Mix the dry and wet goods together with a spoon to make a soft, wet dough. DO NOT over mix this or you'll have scone shaped rocks. Just enough to get it into a dough consistency.
- Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead a little to get consistency you can cut. (mush it around and fold it a few times to mix it up)
- With flour on your hands, press the dough flat on the counter until it is about 3 cm (1 in) think.
- Using a round cutter (about 2 in across), cut out the scones. Press the excess together and keep stamping them out until you end up with one ugly Frankenstein's monster scone at the end
- Bake at 425 F for about 12 minutes until the tops are golden brown.
- Cool them on a wire rack
- Split them open and add butter, jam, cream, or whatever you want. Enjoy
Note: feel free to find this and other recipes I’ve shared on my recipe page
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