Friday, January 29, 2010

you're welcome in advance (scone recipe)

a couple of weeks ago, i had a small gathering of women at my house:

Tea, Scones, and Bridget Jones

i was very excited about this - the movies, the crumpets, the devonshire cream, the lemon curd, the tea, and (of course) the scones!

my only problem was that i had never actually made scones before and here they were, right in the title of my shindig. typically, i don't really hesitate when it comes to cooking new things - i just do it and it usually turns out fine. cooking isn't rocket science and i usually don't set my sights on anything "advanced." anyway, from what i had heard from the respected chefs in my life, scones could be a bit tricky to get right.

tricky scones+my first time+scones in the title of my shindig=a wee bit of anxiety

to make a short story very's the recipe that i found/altered/enslaved. for those of you who were concerned for me and my scone party, you can relax. the scones came out perfect and a good time was had by all. that's why i'm posting the recipe.

  • 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons baking powder (weird, i know)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar (or brown sugar. see below)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk (or kahlua. see below)
  • however much of whatever "filling" you want to use (see below)
this is what i used for two different types of scones:

darkberry scones (made-up name, pictured above):
  • a little less than one bag of ghirardelli dark chocolate chips (we got hungry before it was time)
  • one small package of fresh raspberries
kahlua spice scones (made-up name):
  • 3 tablespoons and one teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tablespoons of kahlua (to replace milk above)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (to replace white sugar above)
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
now, in my limited experience, this recipe lends itself well to different types of ingredients, so whatever kind of scone you think would be delicious (and fun to name), go for it.

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (fahrenheit. this is america).
  2. Sift (or just make unclumpy) the flour, baking powder, sugar (brown sugar for kahlua spice scones) and salt into a large bowl.
  3. This next part is kind of annoying, so bear with me.
  4. Dice all of the butter into small cubes - about the size of a pea - and add to the dry mixture.
  5. Mix the butter cubes into the dry mixture with your hands - some of them will clump together. Rub any clumps between your hands until none of the butter balls are bigger than a pea.
  6. At this point, if you're going to add any fruit or chocolate (here i added the dark chocolate and raspberries for the darkberry scones) or anything like that, do it, and mix it all together (dry mix, butter balls, fruit or whatever) with your hands until everything is sufficiently coated with the dry mix.
  7. Mix together 1 cup of milk and the sour cream in a measuring cup. Pour all at once into the dry ingredients, and mix gently with your hands until well blended. Pretend your putting clothes on a baby or defusing a bomb or something. If you overwork the dough, I am told, your scones with have the density and appeal of a foot.
  8. The dough will be sticky and in clumps - it will not end up in one neat ball like bread dough or something. It will be somewhere between bread dough and cookie dough. Just make sure that all of the dry ingredients have been absorbed into the stickiness.
  9. It was at this point that I (for the kahlua spice scones) added 3 tablespoons (though, it was more like "shake, shake, shake, that looks good, right?") of pumpkin pie spice to the dough and just mixed it a little bit more - until it looked evenly swirly and nice.
  10. Here, you might want to wash your sticky hands, dry them, and flour them.
  11. Arrange the dough on a greased cookie sheet in little mounds about 3 inches in diameter. They can be pretty close together - almost touching, even.
  12. Whisk (or fork) together the eggs and 2 tablespoons of milk (if you're making kahlua spice scones - replace the milk with kahlua and also add one teaspoon pumpkin pie spice and one teaspoon brown sugar). Brush the tops of the scones with the egg wash (try to use it all) and let them chill out for about 10 minutes.
  13. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the tops start brown a bit.
  14. Take them out of the oven and use oven mits, for crying out loud. (see how i avoided a lawsuit there?)
  15. Top with whatever you would like and enjoy (the scones and all of the accolades). I recommend devonshire cream, some kind of jam and/or lemon curd. All good things - the British will be proud.
there you have it. please post success/failure stories or scone tips for those of us who plan on making many more scones in the future.

special thanks goes to cristin campo, who was my scone-making partner. we did it, kid. we did it.

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