Sunday, July 1, 2012

Scones-Scotland's Answer To The Ordinary Biscuit

One thing I always get when I go to Starbucks (other than the café mocha, that is) is a scone. A scone is a Scottish pastry that is similar to a biscuit, with a few added ingredients for flavor. They are often served at tea parties, but also make great breakfast or dessert pastries. They are usually pretty thick and flaky, so you might want to have a napkin under you to catch the crumbs! Here is the recipe for one of my favorites:

Cranberry Orange Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup dried cranberries
1 teaspoon grated orange zest (rind)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon sugar (separate)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sour cream

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix together flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Using the larger holes of a box grater, grate the frozen butter into the bowl. Knead the butter into the flour with your hands and stir in the cranberries and orange zest. The mixture should resemble a coarse 'meal'.

In a second bowl, stir the sour cream and egg with a whisk until it is smooth. Then, stir this mixture into the other bowl with a fork to create large clumps of dough. With your hands, press the dough into the side of the bowl to make a ball. Now, cover a flat surface lightly with flour and pat dough into a circle about ¾ of an inch thick. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sugar over the dough and cut into 8 triangles. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper (recommended) and place the triangles about an inch apart. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 15 to 17 minutes until golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes and serve.

One really good thing about this recipe is that it is easily adaptable. For instance, if you don't like cranberries, you can substitute raisins or dried cherries. Better yet, use cherry-tinged Craisins! If you don't like the orange zest, you can substitute lemon zest or vanilla extract. I wonder what they would taste like with white or dark chocolate chips? Hmmm...

If you'd rather not use your hands, you can use a food processor. I just mentioned 'hands' because that's something we (hopefully) all have!

If you want to add even more flavor to those scones:

Raspberry Currant Sauce
1 10-oz package of fresh unsweetened raspberries
1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
½ cup red currant jelly
1 tablespoon cold water

Using medium heat, combine the jelly and raspberries in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Now, add the cornstarch and cold water. Bring this to a boil for about one minute, stirring continuously. After it cools, press through a sieve to remove the seeds. Serve chilled. You can also use frozen raspberries or cranberries.

Either of these recipes can make for an excellent anytime treat. Enjoy!

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