Scones Take Two

After the scone massacre a few days ago I decided to start this next batch with some research. About.com has a nice How To Make Scones guide that can basically be summarized as such: Do not overmix.

If it looks halfassed, you're on the right track.

Seems simple, but when cutting butter into a pile of dry ingredients it can be hard to resist just smashing all of it together until it looks a little more like something you might want to eat. This, I’m sure, was my problem the first time since I’m inclined to mix the shit out of everything that I make like I’m competing on Iron Chef.

As far as the flavor the basic scone recipe calls for currants, which sound entirely too expensive for me to have on hand. So, I took a risk and used some concrete hard raisins from the back of the pantry and a handful of offbrand Vanilla Wafers I had frozen from a previous (failed) cheesecake experiment. I tossed these additions in with the dry ingredients and butter and added the cream/egg mix and only sent the spoon around the bowl three or four times before turning it out on a floured surface. The dough was incredibly sticky and quite unappealing, but rolled out easily with a dusting of flour.

I cut the dough into triangles, because I felt like it, and brushed them with an egg-white /vanilla/cinnamon wash (which I might regret later) before putting them in the oven.

Fresh from the oven.

The scones came out looking like a million bucks after 20 minutes, a little longer than the recipe calls for. The exterior was baked well (an important scone characteristic) and the center was just flaky enough without being too gooey or chewy.

As far as the taste, I would say that they could use a bit more vanilla flavor (the wafers kind of got lost in the jumble, I think) so I might add vanilla to the egg/cream mix next time I make these. The raisins, though, made a comeback that rivals Mel Gibson’s new role as a depressed, puppet toting family man by transforming from tooth chipping dried fruit to the moist centerpiece of this scone. Nicely done, raisins, didn’t know you had it in you.

Basic Scone Recipe (with my additions in italics)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, unsifted
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp salt (table salt, not Kosher)
  • 4 Tbsp butter (½ stick)
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup dried currants  raisins
  • handful of crushed Vanilla Wafers that you’re trying to get rid of
Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 400°F
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
3. Cut butter into the flour until the mixture resembles crumbs. Do not overmix.
4. In a separate bowl, beat two eggs and stir in the cream. Then stir the egg-cream mixture into the dry ingredients. Do not overmix. 
5. Stir in currants, which no one actually has. Use old cookies (graham crackers might be tasty) and some raisins instead. 
6. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and press it together into a single lump. If it doesn’t hold together yet, add water (you could use milk, too, or more cream) a tablespoon at a time, until it does. Don’t overwork the dough, though. << See what I mean?
7. Roll dough out to a thickness of 1 inch. Cut into rounds with fluted pastry cutter. Or just cut them into triangles, or the shape of Texas, whatever. 
8. Place scones on greased or floured baking sheet.
9.Separate the third egg and beat the egg white adding a splash of vanilla extract and a pinch of cinnamon. Then brush the tops of the scones with the egg white.
10. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden.
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