Monday, November 8, 2010

Scones, Not Stones

Scones are a misunderstood, much abused pastry. I don't know how some bakeries and coffee shops are making them, but most commercial scones I've encountered could break teeth. So, if you saw the title of the post and are hoping to find a recipe for scones that won't leave you with dentures, your wish has been granted. These scones are tender, with a delicate crumb, and are delicious for breakfast or an afternoon snack. They are also, fairly fast and easy, leaving you with fresh from the oven scones in about 30 minutes. Here is a recipe I adapted from Joy of Cooking for Apple Ginger Spice Scones.

You will need:

2 cups Flour

1/3 cup Sugar

1 Tbsp. Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Cinnamon

1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger

1/4 tsp. Allspice

6 Tbsp. (¾ stick) cold, Unsalted Butter, cut into pieces

1/4 cup Dried Apple, chopped

2 Tbsp. Candied Ginger, chopped

1 Egg

1/2 cup Heavy Cream

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

2 to 3 tsp. More Heavy Cream

More Sugar

Mixing Bowl

Pastry Blender

Baking Sheet
Preheat the over to 425 degrees.
Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, and allspice together in a fairly large mixing bowl. Drop in the 6 tablespoons of cold butter in 1 tablespoon pats, and coat them with flour before you begin "cutting" them in (see picture).

Cut in the butter with 2 knives or a pastry blender (I recommend the pastry blender, because it will produce a finer texture) and separate them as you work, until the largest pieces are the size of peas and the rest resemble breadcrumbs (see picture). Do not allow the butter to melt or form a paste with the flour.

Whisk the 1/2 cup heavy cream with the egg and vanilla in a separate bowl, and then add to the flour mixture, mixing with a spoon until the dry ingredients are moistened.
Then gather the dough into a ball and knead it gently against the sides and bottom of the bowl until it all loose pieces are incorporated and the bowl is fairly clean. Separate the dough into two equal balls, and pat each ball of dough into a 6-inch round about ¾ inch thick and cut each into 8 wedges and place at least ½ inch apart on the baking sheet (see picture).

Brush the tops with the extra heavy cream, and liberally sprinkle them with sugar. Bake for 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown (see picture).

Let cool on a rack or serve warm. I highly recommend enjoying them with a cup of tea.

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