Thursday, June 16, 2011

Scones: Not for the Faint of Heart

Here is another recipe that got buried in the depths of my iPhoto. THIS one dates way back to when I decided that the most appropriate food for watching the Royal Wedding was clearly English Scones (I'll note, I watched the wedding on DVR the next night, not having the stamina to stay up until 3am on the actual day) . I found a recipe on the internet (over at Delicious Days), and promptly realized I didn't have half the ingredients. Not one to let that stand in the way, I persevered.

Unfortunately, perseverance does not always pay off. At the Royal Wedding, Kate Middleton looked fresh, sophisticated, and absolutely beautiful.

At the time I watched the Royal Wedding, my scones looked and tasted like deformed, flat, burnt, rock hard cow patties (with a lovely decorative sliced almond topping).

I decided that kind of turn of events was best coped with by drinking a large glass of wine and settling in for hours of dress ogling, which I'm still pretty sure was the right decision. But I woke up in the morning bound to set things right. And oh, I did. This was batch number two. So good!

First I'll give you the good recipe, then let you know where I went astray.

What you need:

200g WHITE all-purpose flour, plus more for when you deal with the dough
1.5 tsp baking powder
2.5 tbsp white sugar
.5 tsp  salt
60g cold butter (yes, butter)
140-150g milk (I used almond milk)
some kind of fruit- raisins, cranberries, (I used dried cherries).

You'll notice that these measurements are in grams, which isn't normal for me, but that's how the recipe I found was, and part of going astray was not just sticking with it. So, I used my trusty food scale and did things right.

What to do with it:
Preheat your oven to 425, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. I used my food processor for this, but if you go back to the original site, there are directions for doing it by hand.

Put in the flour, the baking powder, the sugar and the salt and pulse briefly until well mixed. Make sure your butter is really cold, and cut it in to small pieces. Pulse that in with the dry ingredients until it forms a crumbly mixture with no large chunks of butter. Toss in whatever fruit you decide to use, pulse some more until it's chopped up and mixed. Distribute the chopped dried fruits and pulse once or twice, then add the milk of your choice and pulse again. Do this just until the dough comes together and the flour is incorporated- don't over mix. It can be a little wet, but you can always add a little more flour.

Dump out the dough onto  a well floured board. Sprinkle with more flour and knead it with your hands a bit, just enough for it to come together into a real dough. Now, smush/lightly roll the entire thing out so it is about 1.5 inches thick. You need something round to cut them- I just used a juice glass, but probably a cookie cutter is what's called for. Put each piece on the tray. Bake 13-15 minutes until golden brown.

Mine were delicious with butter and jam, but do with them whatever you like! They kept well in a ziplock baggie for about a week.

NOW... where did this all go so sadly wrong. My mistakes were:
1. wax paper can NOT (not not not!) be swapped out for parchment paper. Don't even try it. If I wasn't desperate for scones and already in my pajamas, I wouldn't have done it either.
2. apparently in this recipe, wheat flour is not a good thing. it just made it too dense- the difference in how well they rose in the wheat and white versions was remarkable. If you have some major baking mojo and know other ways to adapt this recipe around the wheat flour (I did add a bit more milk), it might work.
3. apparently, also in this recipe, Earth Balance (my butter substitute of choice) is vastly inferior to good old butter. (Julia Child would be proud)
4. I didn't trust the dough, and added too much flour. Then, I decided not do bother with using a cookie cutter or anything, and just cut them into triangles, which involved a little sawing, which apparently interferes with even rising.

What is the take home message? Basically, when baking, you have less leeway. Also, when something like Royal Wedding treats are on the line, just follow the recipe! Best of luck to you, may you learn from my mistakes!

1 comment:

meh said...

I hate scones and somehow you made them look good. Genius.


Related Posts with Thumbnails