Someone just made my day! Amanda, of My Finds Online, has listed me #2 of her Top 25 Recipe Blogs of 2009! Wow! I’ve gotten some cool awards, but I gotta admit this one is really exciting! Thanks, Amanda!
As you all know, I hosted playgroup for the first time this week. And promptly freaked out about the state of my house–and spent so much time on it I nearly forgot food. So instead of any glorious bundt cakes, I whipped up these scones the day before and froze them cut and ready to bake. It worked out well, although I hope another time to spend a little more time thinking about food. After all, I love baking for people and entertaining, so I might as well take the time to appreciate the opportunity.
These scones are taken from Marion Cunningham’s contribution to Baking With Julia. They are buttermilk scones, which means they are made by cutting butter into the flour and then adding buttermilk (and sometimes egg). I wanted to make 2 different flavors and so I doubled the recipe and learned a lesson. If you double a scone recipe but then cut it in half to add slightly different flavoring, be sure to add a little less liquid to the dough until you see how much you need. One of the doughs was a bit dry, and like a dunce I attributed this to the weather and added extra buttermilk to the second dough as well–and ended up with a very wet, very sticky, nearly unworkable scone dough. Those scones were decent, whereas the first scones were excellent. I thought both flavor pairings were nice: dried blueberries with lemon zest and dried cranberries with lime and orange zest (I subbed orange oil for the latter since I had no oranges).
3 cups AP flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
3/4 t salt
1 1/2 sticks (6 oz, 12 T) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
approximately 1 cup cold buttermilk (see comments above)
1 T grated zest of choice (see comments above)
1/2 – 3/4 cup dried fruit of choice (see comments above)
1/2 stick (2 oz, 4 T) unsalted butter, melted, for brushing onto scones before baking (I skipped this and used water because my dough was too buttery from being too wet but I would do this next time)
coarse sugar, for sprinkling
If you will be baking these when you make them, preheat the oven to 425 F and place the cooking racks into the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using either a fork, your fingertips, a pastry blender (my choice) or the food processor (be careful to not over-process–use the pulse button), cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Pea sized lumps of butter are just fine–they will smoosh into flaky layers as the scones bake. Toss the dried fruit and zest into this mixture.
Add the buttermilk–starting out with slightly less if it is humid. Toss with 2 forks until it is evenly moistened. Dump the dough onto a clean, very lightly floured work surface and fold/knead it 2-3 times to form a more cohesive dough. At this point you can either divide it in half and pat out 2 1/2-inch thick (7-inch diameter) circles or roll out the dough 1/2-inch thick and use a shaped cutter. If you choose the circles, slice the dough into 6-8 equal sized triangles. I chose to roll out the dough as I could geta larger number of smaller scones–more appropriate for a large gathering, especially one with small children. I used a heart shaped cutter since Valentine’s Day is approaching. I re-rolled the scraps once, and then patted out and cut the remaining dough to avoid re-rolling too many times.
At this point you could also freeze your scones to bake at a later time. Either way, when you do bake them, brush their tops withy melted butter and then sprinkle the tops with coarse sugar. Place them on a cookie sheet with about 1 inch between them (they will poof a little as they bake). Bake at 425 F for 10-12 minutes, or until the tops and bottoms are golden. If you bake 2 sheets at once (which you will need to do if you bake them all at once), rotate top to bottom and front to back halfway through.