Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Scones and Tea!

On Friday we had a nice visit with J and I had wanted to make something to go with tea for an afternoon visit. Naturally, scones came to mind. I wanted to make them a bit different, just for a change, so into one batch I put golden raisins, dried apricots and fresh orange zest, and the other batch got sharp aged cheddar and cracked black pepper. After tasting the two I couldn't decide which I preferred they were both pretty yummy! We served them with some of our summer preserves, grape, rhubarb vanilla and spiced apple cider jelly from my Mom's friend (which I intend to make this year, it is so good!).

Scones are the easiest dough to make in my opinion. The golden rule is not to overwork the dough. I use my hands to make scones, I know some people prefer to use the food processor, do it whichever way suits you best.
We had some left over and I will admit (somewhat ashamedly) to eating about 6 throughout the day. I couldn't let them go to waste, and they just don't keep well, so they had to be eaten that day!
Happy baking and even happier eating!

My Scones

2 cups plain flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine salt
1/4 cup cold butter
3/4 cup cold milk

Preheat oven to 375 F.
Measure the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl and give it a whisk to combine. Cut the cold butter into small pieces and drop into the bowl. Working with your fingers, rub the butter into the flour, quickly, until the mixture looks like lumpy sand, you want to keep some bits of butter a bit bigger than others. At this point gradually add your milk while stirring with a wooden spoon. If you have added all the milk and there is still flour in the bowl, add a little bit more. When the dough comes together and there is no flour at the bottom of the bowl, turn it out onto a lightly floured, clean counter and turn it over once or twice. Do not Knead. Shape it into a flat, round disc with your hands and cut into 8 wedges. Place them on a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper and bake for about 20 minutes or until they are puffy and golden. 
Be creative with this recipe. If you want sweet scones, brush them with milk or cream and sprinkle sugar on top before they go in the oven. You can add lemon or orange zest, raisins, currants, dried cranberries, walnuts, pecans, cheddar cheese, dried herbs, grainy mustard, anything you like really. Add fruit and nuts to flour mixture just before adding the milk, as for things like grainy mustard, mix it into the milk before adding. When I make cheese scones I always sprinkle grated cheese on top of the scones before baking. Have fun with these and be creative!

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