Towards the end of January, because yes, I have run far behind with my writing, we went for a walk at Winnekenni Castle in Haverhill, MA. My last visit to the castle was one summer around 1995 or 1996, so it had been a while. I was there attending a Teddy Bear Tea, believe it or not.
My mother, the Teddy Bear Maven
My mother was making teddy bears at the time. She hosted a teddy bear-making show on local cable and sold her bears at area craft shows, as well as selling teddy bear kits to kids and offering teddy bear repair services at tea parties. Come to think of it, now I know where I get my many paths along the journey of life. So at the end of January, when the temperature was hovering around 19 degrees in the morning with a windchill in the single digits, I decided to return to that sunny location of my early adulthood, and hike around the lake at the castle.
No one’s home at the castle
This venue is frequently used for weddings, parties, festivals, and concerts during normal days. But during the pandemic with the major lockdowns we’ve had here in MA, not many have been scheduled, and if any were, they’ve no doubt been postponed. That being said, if you ARE planning something in the coming year or further out, this is a great location, gorgeous views, and lots of outdoor space to enjoy. Just not when its so cold out that you wish you’d worn three pairs of pants, not two! But that was us. There are plenty of spaces to park, both at the bottom of the hill, partway up, and again up near the castle so that’s where we headed figuring we’d walk around up there. It’s beautiful with an amazing bronze stag statue and a flag flying heroically when the wind was whipping things up.
The lake below was frozen in sections but the waves were still ripping in the wind where it was deeper. The mix of older buildings with newer details is beautiful in the early morning sunshine, and while there’s still work needing to be done, it’s a romantic, inspirational place for anyone looking to step back in time for a bit.
Walking around the lake
The road up to the castle was very slick with ice. We saw people walking down it when we drove in, but after our walk around the castle itself, we chose to take the car back down. We’ve had numerous falls on our hikes, but here we’d be falling on frozen pavement, not quite as soft as frozen leaves or soft forest paths! At the bottom, we parked and saw people mountain biking up the frozen trails to the castle. We hadn’t brought our bikes (darnit!) so we crossed the field near the lot and chose the path that ran back along the lake.
It was icy in spots, wet in spots, and yes, we did have a fall or two, but no one was injured! And it was a gorgeous bright morning. A good hour though, and we were ready to head home. But in the spirit of the hike, and considering how many new scone recipes I’ve come up with since the last one for Iced Caramel Latte scones, I’m sharing another today, Limoncello Candied Ginger Scones and of course a homemade candied ginger recipe, although you can buy candied ginger if you don’t have a huge supply to make it with (it takes a pound but we’d received about 3 pounds in a recent Misfits Market box!). I hope you enjoy it.
Kitchen Tip: If you’re concerned about the alcohol in the limoncello you can always substitute lemonade. Based on research from Idaho State University, when you bake with alcohol, anything cooked for 25 minutes without being stirred (aka baked goods) retain 45 percent of their alcohol. So a recipe with 1/3 cup alcohol divided by 12 scones results in each person getting about <1 tsp of alcohol.
I should add that the Limoncello I used for this recipe came from Knapp Vineyards in the Finger Lakes in upstate NY. It’s one of our favorite wineries, especially since when we’ve been there (a few years ago I have to admit) the person working in the tasting room had such a way with poetry and rhymes. He could stand there and make them up based on names or where you were from. I’m hoping he’s well and we’ll see him again on our next trip when things are open again.
Limoncello Candied Ginger Scones
- 2 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- ¾ tsp salt
- 1 TB baking powder
- 2 ½ TB buttermilk powder
- 1/3 cup candied ginger, minced (buy ready candied, or make your own)
- 8 TB butter, cold and cut into pieces
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup ginger water (unless you didn’t make your own candied ginger, then just water)
- 1/3 cup limoncello (or lemonade)
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 – 3 TB brown sugar for topping
- Candied ginger for decoration
- In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugars, salt, baking powder, buttermilk powder, and minced candied ginger
- Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter until crumbly. Some chunks of butter should be visible.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, limoncello, ginger water, and vanilla.
- Add the egg mixture to the dry, stirring well until they hold together in a wet dough. For me I had mix a bit with my hands to get all the flour incorporated, then add a bit more flour, then a bit more water to get the right consistency.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment and lightly flour
- Turn the dough out onto the parchment and gently separate into two halves.
- Roughly round each half into a 6” or so circle about ¾” thick.
- Using a sharp knife, cut each circle into 6 slices, separating them so there is about a half inch or so between each.
- Allow to rise uncovered in the freezer for 30 minutes. They will puff up, so don’t put them too close to a rack or drawer above.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
- When you take the tray out of the freezer, sprinkle each scone with a bit of brown sugar
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, but keep an eye on them. They should bake until they’re cooked on the sides, but they can brown quickly.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.
If you’re interested in trying to make your own candied ginger, you’ll need a pound of fresh ginger. I peeled mine a bit, but for the most part, just got what I could off, and left the skin on where it was tough to get at. Didn’t seem to cause any trouble at all. Enjoy!
I hope you give this recipe a try. If you do, let me know how it comes out. I’d also love to have you follow my blog. Just share your email below.
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