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APR. 30, 2013

Hannah’s Scones & Eggs: A Breakfast Tradition

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OA Scones and Eggs

“I still think about them every Wednesday…..not exaggerating. One of the best breakfasts of my life.”
~Eliza, Semester 33

For eight semesters I have been making scones and eggs for breakfast at The Outdoor Academy. This simple breakfast tradition has taught me a bit about community and human nature and also allowed me to try out some creative culinary ideas.

One day, near the beginning of this semester, a student asked me, “Hannah, what happens on Wednesday mornings at breakfast? A friend of mine from last semester said something magical happens, but she wouldn’t tell me what it was.” I smiled and said, “You’ll just have to wait and see.” Still it takes a few weeks for the magic to sink in.

At the beginning of each semester, I watch as the students timidly file into the dining room of the Sun Lodge and look at this breakfast as if there is nothing impressive about it in the least. I smile to myself because I now know their reaction will change in a few weeks. It is predictable at this point.

But it eventually does, and by the end of the semester scones and eggs day is eagerly awaited each week. Here is what some current OA students of Semester 36 have to say about Scones and Eggs:

We all wake up on Wednesday morning with smiles on our faces because we know what day it is – Scones and Eggs!!!” ~ Hannah R.

Scones and Eggs day is so good that I journal about what flavor scone we have every Wednesday.” ~ Kate G.

In my hardest moments, I think of scones and eggs on Wednesdays and it gets me through.” ~Annie J.

It is so comforting to expect this every Wednesday. Back home, I’d be eating cereal.” ~ Emma B.

Every Wednesday is original, with different flavors of scones and eggs, and it shows how you can start each day differently.” ~ Ethan G.

Scone day is like heaven!” ~ Grace R.

I love to cook, and especially I love to cook for our community. I believe in eating well, and eating food that tastes good. In my book, a key ingredient in food tasting good is love. One of the aspects of scones and eggs day, I hope, is that everyone attending breakfast receives some love when they break their fast in the morning.

Some students have wanted to receive more than is healthy, and after a semester where some students (teenage boys with underdeveloped self-control! – I love you all!) ate between seven and ten scones each morning and had me scrambling to crank out more and more scones each week, I decided there could be a healthy limit put on scone consumption. For the last six semesters, students have had the limit of 3 scones. This seems to work well for everyone.

“Scones and eggs day is definitely one of the best breakfast days, if not the best, at The Outdoor Academy! You can always look forward to awesome flavored scones (like golden raisin and pumpkin seed/sunflower seeds and potatoes..Mmmmmm) and the eggs are delish! When you get back, carry on the tradition. Its a very sad day when you wake up on random Wednesdays thinking you’re getting those and then you realize you’re not there anymore….ENJOY THEM THEY ARE THE MOST AWESOME EVER!!” – Liza, Semester 33

I try to make a different kind of scones and eggs each week, inspired by what we have available in the kitchen. For the scones, I usually use a fruit and nut combination to provide a balance of fiber, protein, and carbohydrates and get our students off to a great start in their day. Here are some of my favorite flavor combinations: apricot cashew, carrot raisin pumpkin seed, sweet potato chocolate chip, apple almond, banana walnut, blueberry sunflower seed, and pumpkin date cashew. For the eggs, I try to make tasty combinations of eggs scrambled with vegetables like kale, onion, broccoli and peas. Sometimes I give them a little Central American flare and go the eggs with rice and beans route.

Scones and Eggs are an Outdoor Academy institution! Its always a fun surprise to guess what yummy flavor the scones will be or which veggies will be in the eggs! Scones and Eggs day provides a great start to the middle day of the week and is certainly a highlight of residential life.”
-Josh Rosenstein, OA Faculty Member/Scone Enthusiast

Making scones and eggs for 30 people has gotten easier over the years. I put the dry ingredients for scones in the mixer and crack all the eggs the night before, so in the morning starting at 7am I can easily make golden scones and egg scramble, ready to be served in an hour. I make drop scones instead of rolling them out and cutting them into the traditional triangles. Our newly acquired convection oven makes the scones golden and evenly baked.

My first semester at OA, one of our students was vegan, so I started making vegan scones – using oil instead of butter, and orange juice instead of milk. They turned out wonderfully and I haven’t gone back. Thus, four years later, the scones are still vegan. And this semester, I have been inspired by a student who is gluten-free to make a gluten-free scone option each Wednesday too. Catering to my audience of eaters has helped me expand my knowledge of cooking and working with various dietary needs.

Oh man! Your scones were sooooo difficult for me to live up to with my breakfast the following day. . . Constantly trying to equal the glory of the scones. Also, I was absolutely in awe of your ability to convince 15 year-olds that Kale in eggs is a fantastic idea (which, of course, it is).”

As I prepare to bid farewell to OA at the end of this semester, I am keenly aware of many things I will miss. Making scones and eggs is certainly on that list. I have so many great memories of early mornings in the Sun Lodge kitchen and serving scones and eggs to appreciative, hungry students and staff, semester after semester. This is a simple way I have been able to give to this community and it has in turn allowed us all to leave with memories of this certain OA breakfast that I, for one, will treasure for a long time to come. Give Thanks!

Here is a downsized version of my Scones recipe:
2 cups flour (I use 1.5 All purpose, and .5 whole wheat)
pinch of salt
1/4 c. oil 
1/4 c. sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. ground cloves
1 T. baking powder
1/3 c. milk
1/2 cup creative additions (fruit, nuts, choc chips, etc.)

Combine all dry ingredients, add wet ingredients and stir until combined (adjust your liquid amounts depending on what the moisture content is of your fruit)
Add creative additions and let the dough sit for 10 minutes
Bake at 350 degrees until they are golden brown