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Scones and Genmaicha for the New Year

Almond, Cranberry-Orange, and Blueberry-Lemon


We recently paid a visit to Mitsuwa Grocery, a Japanese grocery store located in Arlington Heights, IL looking for interesting—and tasty—holiday gifts. I found quite a few items for gifts for others and for me including Genmaicha. Mission accomplished!


I've read about Genmaicha, but I had never tasted it before. Genmaicha (玄米茶, "brown rice tea") is the Japanese word for green tea that is combined with roasted brown rice. Sometimes it is colloquially known as "popcorn tea" because some of the rice grains pop like popcorn during the roasting process. While people in North America might think a tea like this seems like something posh, historically, this tea was drank by poor people in Japan. The rice served as a filler to reduce the price of green tea. Some varieties, such as the one I bought, also include matcha. This type is called "matcha-iri genmaicha." Sometimes it is also known as the "people's tea." Today, it is consumed by people from all walks of life in Japan.


Genmaicha has a nutty flavor along with the earthy flavor of green tea. To me, the scent is similar to toasted baked goods. It compliments with them well. I've been sipping it while eating my leftover holiday scones. I made three different varieties for brunch, almond, cranberry-orange, and blueberry-lemon. My favorite is the almond and the nutty flavor compliments matcha-iri genmaicha.


Almond Scones


I love these scones as a much less time-consuming alternative for almond croissants. You can bake them at home in about 40 minutes from start to finish.


2 cups flour

½ cup butter

1/2 cup sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup half and half

1 teaspoon almond extract

8 oz store-bought or homemade almond paste

About one tablespoon of additional sugar

2 tablespoons half and half

Additional flour for rolling

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In the bowl of a food processor with a small blade attachment, add two cups of all-purpose flour, one stick of cold butter, cane sugar, salt, and baking powder. Use the food processor on pulse until it forms small crumbs.


Then while your food processor is running, add in the half and half and almond extract through the pouring hole. Let it mix in the food processor until it forms a ball. Once the ball is formed, placed the ball on a clean, floured surface. Knead it a few times . Then use your rolling pin to roll it into a rectangle of about three-quarters of an inch thick.


Slice the almond paste into very thin slices. Sprinkle the slices across the rectangle. Then roll up the dough into a jelly roll shape.


Next use your rolling pin to roll it out into a rectangle again. Then roll it up in the other direction into a jelly roll shape. Then once again, roll it into a rectangle. After this, knead the dough a few more times.


Shape the dough into a disc that is about 1 ½ inch thick. Using a pastry brush—I highly recommend the silicone ones!—brush on the additional half and half. Sprinkle the top of the disc with sugar. Use a sharp knife, cut the disc into eight wedges.


Place the scones on a greased sheet pan and bake for 20 to 22 minutes.


Cranberry-Orange Scones


Oranges and cranberry are a common holiday cranberry sauce pair. In these scones, I used clementines, a "tangor" or citrus fruit hybrid. They are a cross between Mandarin oranges and sweet oranges.


2 cups flour

½ cup butter

¼ cup sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

⅓ cup half and half

2 tablespoons orange juice

Zest of 2 clementines

⅓ cup dried cranberries

2 tablespoons half and half

About one tablespoon of additional sugar

Additional flour for rolling

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In the bowl of a food processor with a small blade attachment, add two cups of all-purpose flour, one stick of cold butter, cane sugar, salt, orange zest, and baking powder. Use the food processor on pulse until it forms small crumbs.


Then while your food processor is running, add in the half and half and orange juice through the pouring hole. Let it mix in the food processor until it forms a ball. Once the ball is formed, placed the ball on a clean, floured surface. Knead it a few times. As you knead the dough, add in the dried cranberries a few at a time.


Shape the dough into a disc that is about 1 ½ inch thick. Brush on the additional half and half. Sprinkle the top of the disc with sugar. Use a sharp knife, cut the disc into eight wedges.


Place the scones on a greased sheet pan and bake for 18 to 20 minutes.


Blueberry-Meyer Lemon Scones


Combining lemon and blueberry together is a personal favorite. For these scones, I used Meyer lemons which have a thin, edible rind. Like clementines, Meyer lemons are a cross between lemons and Mandarin oranges. Save the remaining fruit after zesting and stir the less-sour lemon juice to your tea.


2 cups flour

½ cup butter

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup half and half

Zest of 2 Meyer lemons

1 teaspoon lemon extract

⅓ cup dried blueberries

2 tablespoons half and half

About one tablespoon of additional sugar

Additional flour for rolling


Preheat oven to 375°F.


In the bowl of a food processor with a small blade attachment, add two cups of all-purpose flour, one stick of cold butter, cane sugar, salt, lemon zest, and baking powder. Use the food processor on pulse until it forms small crumbs.


Then while your food processor is running, add in the half and half and lemon extract through the pouring hole. Let it mix in the food processor until it forms a ball. Once the ball is formed, placed the ball on a clean, floured surface. Knead it a few times. As you knead the dough, add in the dried blueberries a few at a time.


Shape the dough into a disc that is about 1 ½ inch thick. Brush on the additional half and half. Sprinkle the top of the disc with sugar. Use a sharp knife, cut the disc into eight wedges.


Place the scones on a greased sheet pan and bake for 18 to 20 minutes.


Happy sipping!

Janae J. Almen is a professional music instructor, composer, sound artist, and writer. She has a BA in Music/Education from Judson University and a MM in Computer Music/Composition from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. She is the founder of Perennial Music and Arts and is passionate about sharing her love of music and arts.


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Janae Jean Almen

SpindriftGreen Music Publishing

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