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A Princely Idea

December 9, 2010 By:
Eileen Goltz, JE Feature
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 If you're into all things British (Hello, the engagement of Prince William!), then you need to know about the scone. The scone is the British version of quick bread, and is said to be of Scottish origin.
 
This pastry is a cousin to the Scottish griddle cake known as a bannock. In the beginning, scones were made from oats and flour, and were a staple of everyday life, much like bread. The scone has evolved into a more sophisticated quick bread that can be served at breakfast, as a snack or for a late-night treat.
 
A perfect scone is not only a thing of beauty, it also tastes not too sweet, not too bland, and is made from flour, butter, sugar, milk or cream, and baking powder. A not-so-perfect scone (too much flour, or not enough sugar or flavoring) can taste like cardboard and crumble all over you.
 
The typically classic English scone is made with currants and represents a tea-time staple, typically served with clotted cream, as well as butter and jam. In the colonies, we tend to throw everything but the kitchen sink into the mix -- and enjoy the results.
 
A classic scone is triangular-shaped because scone dough is usually rolled out into a circle and then cut into eighths (I use my pizza cutter). Scones can be prepared on a griddle, though most of us prefer making them in the oven.
 
I like using a specially made pan that's perfect for scones or corn bread. Once you assemble the ingredients, scones can be whipped up in about 10 minutes.
 
They typically cook at a high temperature, and are done in 15 to 20 minutes. They do taste best when eaten right out of the oven, but will stay fresh for a few days. You can always give them a quick zap in the microwave to warm and/or soften them.
 
Simple Classic Scones
(Dairy or Pareve)
    2 cups flour
    1 tsp. cream of tartar
    1/2 tsp. baking soda
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1/4 cup margarine or butter
    1/8 cup sugar
    1/2 cup milk or cream or nondairy substitute
    2 Tbsps. milk or nondairy substitute for glazing
 
Preheat oven to 425°.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a bowl, sift together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles tiny pebbles.
Stir in the sugar and milk, and mix to form a soft dough. You may need to add a little more flour or milk to get right consistency; still, don't overmix dough.
Turn dough onto a floured surface, knead gently and roll it out to 1-inch thick. You can cut it into 8 triangle wedges or cut it into 2-inch rounds, then place on the prepared baking sheet.
Reroll the remaining dough and cut the remaining scones. Brush tops of scones with milk to glaze. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.
Makes 8 to 12.
Note: You can add chocolate chips, nuts or chopped dried fruit to the mix, if you like.
 
Cornmeal-Pecan Scones
(Dairy)
    2 cups flour
    1 cup cornmeal
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 Tbsp. baking powder
    1/2 tsp. baking soda
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    3/4 cup cold butter
    1 cup buttermilk, plus 2 Tbsps.
    1 cup chopped pecans
 
Preheat oven to 425°.
In a bowl, combine the flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.
Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles tiny pebbles
Add the buttermilk and pecans. Mix to combine. The dough will be somewhat soft.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough until it's about 1 inch thick. Cut into 2- to 3-inch rounds. Reroll leftover dough and cut out the rest of the scones.
Place on an ungreased baking sheet and brush the top with the 2 tablespoons of buttermilk.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the top is a light golden.
Makes 12.
 
Orange-Cranberry Scones
(Dairy or Pareve)
    1 cup flour
    1 tsp. baking powder
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1 Tbsp. sugar
    1/4 cup butter or margarine, chilled, cut into small pieces
    1/4 cup fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped or 1/2 cup dried cranberries
    5-6 Tbsps. orange juice
    2 tsps. orange zest
    2 Tbsps. milk or nondairy substitute
    sugar
 
Preheat oven to 400°.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar, and mix together. Cut in the butter until the flour mixture resembles tiny pebbles.
Stir in the cranberries. Add 5 tablespoons of orange juice and zest. If dough doesn't form a ball, add more juice.
Dump dough onto a floured surface. Using floured hands, knead it three or four times to form a ball. Flatten the ball into a disk about 3/4- to 1-inch thick, then cut like a pie into 8 wedges.
Place the scones on to the baking sheet. Brush tops lightly with milk and sprinkle the tops lightly with sugar.
Bake 16 to 18 minutes, or until the scones are golden-brown.
Makes 8.
 
Chocolate-Hazelnut Scones
(Dairy)
    2 cups flour
    1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
    1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped
    1 egg
    6 Tbsps. cold butter
    1/2 cup buttermilk
    1/2 tsp. baking soda
    11/2 tsps. baking powder
    11/2 tsps, almond extract
    1/4 tsp. salt
 
Preheat oven to 400.°
Grease a cookie sheet.
In a bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt; combine.
Cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles small pebbles or breadcrumbs.
Stir in the egg, buttermilk, almond extract and mix until just combined.
Add in the chocolate chips and hazelnuts; mix to combine. The dough will be slightly sticky.
Dump dough onto a floured surface. Using floured hands, knead it three or four times to form a ball. Flatten the ball into a disk about 3/4- to 1-inch thick, then cut like a pie into 8 wedges.
Place scones on baking sheet and bake 18 to 20 minutes, or until golden-brown.
Makes 8.
 
White-Chocolate Raspberry Scones
(Dairy)
     13/4 cups flour
    11/4 tsps. baking powder
    2 Tbsps. sugar
    1/2 tsp. salt
    4 Tbsps. cold butter
    2 large eggs
    1/3 cup whipping cream
    1/2 cup white-chocolate chips
    1/2 cup frozen raspberries
    2 Tbsps. milk
    coarse sugar
 
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
Cut in the butter using two knives.
Stir in chocolate chips and raspberries. Set dough aside.
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and cream until combined.
Make a well in the center of the dry mix and pour the egg mixture in. Use a rubber spatula to gently stir until just combined. It will be dry and crumbly, and won't hold together well.
Place dough onto a floured surface. Using well-floured hands, pat the dough into an 8-inch circle, about 3/4-inch thick. Use a pizza cutter and cut the dough into eight wedges.
Brush tops of scones with the milk, then sprinkle with sugar.
Transfer the wedges to the prepared cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Makes 8.

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