delicious scone

 

“Here’s the shirt and the sales receipt. Bring it up to the cashier and ask for a refund.” “My steak is tough, will you tell the waiter and ask for something else?” “Please ring the door bell so I have an excuse to get off the phone with your Aunt Eva.”

Moments like this were common for me when I was a kid. At 8 or 9 years old, I had to return items, sending back food and tell adults it was time to go. Because some adults around me were uncomfortable saying the word “no”, I got a lot of practice saying no for them.

scone on towel

 

I understand that saying no makes a lot of people uncomfortable. One of my closest friends inย graduate school was terrified to say no to anyone. When I asked her why, she said she felt horrible letting others down. Another friend avails herself to everyone, at any hour, no matter how exhausted she is or how inconvenient the request.ย I’ve even heard a few people on Twitter saying how they can’t stand to say no and are exhausted as a result – especially around the holidays.

magnolia
magnolia branch

 

I think saying no is like anything else. It requires practice. Through trial and error, I’ve come up with a few strategies that have been helpful for me. I thought I’d share them here in hopes that you find them helpful as well. Here goes…

I rarely respond to requests in the moment. I typically thank a person for asking me to do something and get back to them after I’ve had time to consider how their request might impact me.

I don’t feel bad about saying no. Saying no to a request simply means saying I’ve decided to say yes to myself. How can that be bad?

I find it’s sometimes better to negotiate instead of saying no. For example, I might say ” Y won’t work for me but I could do “X”. Would that work for you?”

I don’t offer a lot of explanations for why I’m saying no. My reasons are my business and there’s no need to open them up to the scrutiny of others. However, if providing a reason can help me and the other person come to a better solution or outcome, I might give some insight into what I’m thinking so we can come up with a solution together.

I don’t say yes when I mean to say no. This ultimately leads to unpleasant situations.

I respect others feelings and I expect them to respect mine.

That’s what works for me, what works for you?

spoons

scone closeup

 

Of course, every circumstance is different and saying no in one situation can be very different from saying no in another. Given all the stress it causes people, I sometimes wonder if we overestimate the importance of our yes in the eyes of others. What do you think?

magnolia fence
magnolia wall
magnolia trunk
magnolia sun

 

Once again, I’ve gotten carried away with my thoughts. Must be the effect of eating Dark Chocolate Raspberry Scones under a magnificent magnolia tree. And by the way, the scones are delicious.

 

Buttery Goodness
broken scone

 

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Scones

468 g (4 c) all purpose flour
102 g (1/2 c) sugar
20 g (2 tbs) Coconut Palm Sugar
14 g (1 tbs) baking powder
4 g (1/2 tsp) baking soda
a pinch of salt
340 g (1.5 c) unsalted butter, slightly softened and chopped
1 large egg
250 ml (1 c) buttermilk
1 g (1/4 tsp) almond extract
4 g (1 tsp) vanilla extract
160 g (1 c) good quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 pint raspberries (about 20 berries), clean and dry
Buttermilk for brushing tops of scones
Raw sugar and sliced almonds for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (176 c). Line 2 large cookie sheets with silpat or parchment paper.

Place dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add butter and mix on low speed until the butter is incorporated and appears to be the size of small peas.

In a separate bowl mix egg, buttermilk and extracts. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Mix on low speed just until combined. Add dark chocolate and mix until blended.

Sprinkle counter with flour. (I placed a silpat on the counter to minimize sticking.) The dough is quite sticky so be prepared to wash your hands frequently. Remove slightly less than 1/3 of the dough from the mixing bowl. Place on counter and form into an approximately 5×5 inch square. The square should be about 1 inch high. Make six indentations in the dough with your finger. ย Place one raspberry in each indentation. Remove a bit of additional dough from the bowl and use it to make a layer that covers but does not destroy the raspberries. Once covered, pat down the dough a bit to make sure you the piece is unified. Your final block of dough should be about 1.5 inches high.

Using a bench knife, cut the square in half diagonally. Cut the square diagonally again. Cut diagonally again to make 6 triangles. Using an offset spatula, place scones on the prepared baking sheet leaving at least an inch between scones for expansion. Brush each scone with buttermilk, sprinkle with sugar and top with sliced almonds. Repeat with remaining 2/3 of the dough.

Bake approximately 25-30 minutes. Rotate pans front to back and top to bottom after 15 minutes. Cook until lightly golden brown. Cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. The scones taste best when served the same day but can be kept refrigerated in a sealed container for several days. They can also be reheated gently in the oven or for about 20 seconds in a microwave set to a low temperature.

Bon appetit!

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41 Comments
  1. I hate saying no to people. I always apologize and explain myself and feel guilty! ๐Ÿ™ Good ideas though. The scones look delish!

  2. A lot of effort I could use to discuss this issue has been spent wondering how the lace photo in the background is ‘continuous.’ It must be seamed somewhere, I can see it repeating, but I can’t see the seam! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Not to worry, though, I have plenty of effort left to contribute my thoughts. It’s kind of humorous, actually – when I was little, my favorite word was no. Screamed in a shrill voice, preferably! I’ve since grown up a bit, and have done a 180, and I have an extremely hard time saying no to things. However, I don’t think I’ve run up against anything that has done me damage from saying yes to – I’ve been fortunate that the things I’ve agreed to do have all been immensely beneficial to me, my personal development, etc.

    Beautiful magnolia!

  3. I had to chuckle the content of your post caused some internal huffiness but I was swayed back to calm by the beautiful pictures of blushing magnolias. I’m still working on saying ‘no’. I am awful at it, but I like your suggestions of taking time to think about it, and keeping in mind that your reasons are your business. I wish I had read and reread this post decades ago.

    Those scones look quite delectable, I love the combination of dark chocolate and raspberries!

  4. El, this is a great list. I think I’m too blunt. Have to work on it but saying no makes me nervous. I love your scones too!

  5. Emma – I think there’s no seam because the photo is uniform all the way around. There’s no one area on the edge that is lighter or darker than any other area. I guess I got lucky.

  6. This is something I cannot say no to…
    I learned something really true upon reading your blog, that saying no is never bad, because it is just saying yes to yourself, being true and honest that I need my time or effort to myself too, how can that be bad? You are a genius!

  7. I am one of those people who has trouble saying no. I’m getting better, but sometimes when people are insistent even after I’ve said no, I end up saying yes… baby steps!

    I’ve been contemplating making scones all week, and I love the flavor combination of your recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I’m much comfortable at saying no now that I am older. I used to have a hard time with it because I thought I was supposed to please my family and friends all the time. I’m so glad that is part of my past now. It’s such a relief.

    These scones look amazing! I love raspberry and chocolate together, such a killer flavor combo!

  9. Starting with the scones–I want one!

    Saying no: I’m terrible at it (but don’t need to go into that). My husband, who is a negotiation consultant, ALWAYS recommends waiting to give an answer. I tend to be compulsive, with a need to answer right away, so this has been the cornerstone of my ability to set boundaries and to feel okay about not taking care of everyone else. Love this post!

  10. I have a terrible time saying no. I think it comes from having a few people give negative reactions to me in the past. The more I think about people are probably asking me to do things to be polite. I don’t get angry when people say no to me.

    I love scones for weekend breakfast. I plan to try them soon.

  11. Hmm, interesting points you make. For me saying no is not a problem unless I know that my ‘no’ will really hurt the other person. I guess it depends to whom I’m saying no to.
    It’s never easy to disappoint others but it is much worse to disappoint myself. I try to acknowledge and recognize my own needs and I don’t force myself to please others.

    I love the fact that whenever I visit your blog, I leave with something more than a recipe.
    Thank you, El, for being who you are and for sharing that with all of us.
    Magda

  12. I often find it hard to say no to people too, but it’s important to develop strategies so you’re not simply walked over. On the other hand, I could never say no to these scones, they look gorgeous!

  13. No.

    There, I did it! So much easier typing it than saying it ๐Ÿ™‚ I am at ease saying no to strangers. With friends and family, it’s so much harder!

    I would have no trouble saying no to those scones, though. They look amazing!

  14. El, I love your posts more than I can say. ๐Ÿ™‚ Your thought rambles always leave me a better, wiser person, especially because you are strong in the areas I’m weak. Like saying no. ๐Ÿ™‚ Like saying YES to myself. ๐Ÿ™‚ You can’t imagine how timely this reminder was for me. I feel a great weight rolled off me and I shall press on with joy, and with renewed commitment to WAIT before pledging myself. It is always the best policy. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. I don’t have any issue saying no to people. Your suggestions are excellent. People have to take care of themselves after all! Yummy, beautiful scones! Il love the floral tree too!!

  16. Wow, the scones look great and so tasty with dark chocolate and fresh raspberries. The magnolia pictures are awesome…
    I too have hard time saying NO to people around me, especially my son ๐Ÿ™‚
    Thanks for this nice post El and hope you are having a wonderful week!

  17. El, this is awesome. I always look forward to coming here and finding something useful. I’m going to give some of these ideas a try. I’m going to give the scones a try too!

  18. turning 50 was a whole new world for me. and saying no, and being okay with it, was an epiphany. love these scones and the use of coconut sugar. is there really anything better than the combo of raspberry and chocolate? lovely photos, El!

  19. As a post script, I think some of us get better at the ‘no’ word as we get older. It took me some 46 years before I was able to stand up for myself. I always feel so bad, but there comes a time when you just need to put yourself ahead of others, and be firm (but kind, depending on the situation). El, your hints are very useful, especially the one about not responding with an answer immediately. Could I say no to your scones with a cup of tea under the branches of those beautiful flowering trees? I think not. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  20. When I had my third child, no became a lot easier to say to adults, and yes became much more fun to say to my kids.
    Love the scones
    Mimi

  21. Beautiful photos! It took me a long time to learn how to say the word no. I still have issues saying it to some but it does feel good when I do say it. It empowers you to know that you are doing what you want.

  22. I find the scones distracting too. They look delicious! If pressed for answer, however, I have to admit saying no is hard. I hate it, but I just drafted an email with a big fat NO in it and it was sort of liberating. Practice, as you say.. xoxo

  23. Thank you. As always, I very much enjoy your photography and recipes. I appreciated though, your thoughts this time. My favorite of your suggestions is the one about taking a little time to and not feeling like you have to answer yes or no right away. Cheers!

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