Thursday, January 20, 2011

Scones

And I use the term loosely.

I've made all sorts of scones over the years.  The rather dry ones that you pat in a circle, score in triangles and bake.  The not-very-sweet ones cut into round shapes.  I've sweetened, mixed-in, topped, and experimented.

The Sassy Family likes our scones on the sweeter side.  We also break a cardinal rule and add an EGG to the mixture.  Ours are sort of like a hybrid scone-muffin-baking powder biscuit.  And we LOVE them!  Moist and sweet.  Yep.

Scones are good for snacks, breakfast, dessert, late night hunger pangs, and of course, tea parties.  You can make them tiny and bite-sized, round like a biscuit, or traditional triangles.  For us, though, it's about what goes INTO the scones that make all the difference.

I'll give you the basic scone recipe from which to build upon.  The basic recipe is plenty tasty all by itself!  Once you have a batch of the dry mixture ready, you can launch into varieties like Maple-Spice, Cranberry-Orange, Almond-Poppyseed, Chocolate Chip, Lemon, Currant, and whatever else your imagination can conjure and your family craves!

The basic recipe makes one dozen scones.  C'mon, a dozen?  Gimme a few dozen.  Take an afternoon and make several dozen - they freeze beautifully!

Basic Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour (you can substitute 1 cup of whole wheat if you're feeling healthy)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons COLD butter

1 egg, plus buttermilk or sour milk or plain milk to make 2/3 cup

1 egg, beaten
sugar for sprinkling

In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Cut butter into dry ingredients until coarse crumbs form.  Stir in egg/milk mixture until dough just comes together.  Pat into a ball, roll out on floured surface.  Cut into circles with a biscuit cutter, or the open end of a drinking glass, about 2 inches in diameter.  Place on parchment-lined baking sheets, brush the tops with the beaten egg and sprinkle with a bit of sugar. Bake in a 425 oven for 12-14 minutes, until tops are golden.  Cool on a wire rack.

Now for the GOOD stuff :)

*Note:  Any ingredients "added to dry ingredients" should be added AFTER the butter is cut into the flour mixture.

Cranberry-Orange
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup orange juice to replace 1/3 cup of the milk

Stir orange peel and cranberries into dry ingredients.  Use 1/3 cup orange juice, one egg and the rest milk as wet ingredients.  Proceed as above.


Almond-Poppyseed
1 tablespoon poppyseeds
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 dozen whole almonds, or a handful of sliced almonds

Stir poppyseeds into dry ingredients.  Add the almond extract to the wet ingredients.  Brush tops of scones with egg, sprinkle with sugar, and press one whole almond or a few almond slices into the top of the scones.  Proceed as above.


Maple-Spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
cinnamon sugar, for sprinkling

Stir spices into dry ingredients.  Replace some of the milk with the maple syrup and vanilla.  Brush tops with egg and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar.


Chocolate Chip
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Stir chocolate chips into dry ingredients.  Use egg and sugar on tops as above.


Lemon
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Stir lemon peel into dry ingredients.  Replace some of the milk with the lemon juice.  Proceed as above.


Currant
3/4 cup currants
cinnamon sugar for sprinkling

Stir currants into dry ingredients.  Brush with egg and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.  Proceed as above.




Almond poppyseed on the left (was out of almonds!) and currant on the right.  They are disappearing quickly!

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