Tuesday, May 21, 2013

exploring scones

I'm fascinated with the concept of scones.  Maybe it's my ancestry from the British Isles.  Mom’s mother was mostly Scotch-Irish, my mother's dad was of Welsh origin.  My dad is of English origin. 

I have watched a boatload of you-tube videos and read at least a cookbook's worth of recipes.  I have read that making good scones can be difficult.  Hubby says his ex-bride made ones that would break teeth and the ones he has had elsewhere weren't much better.  As I was watching the you-tube videos, scone making looks to me to be about the same process as biscuit making.  And we all know that with biscuits if you aren't careful you can end up with hardtack!

I watched a you-tube video of a unique process that really intrigued me put out by the American Test Kitchen.  Then I searched for the recipe and direction; finding it here about half-way down on the page.  Here's what I did to their recipe.

ATK Blueberry Scones

8 TBSP unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda (Ha! I used too much! Didn't affect the taste though.)
I forgot the salt! It calls for a 1/2 tsp.
1/2 tsp. of lemon extract. (The recipe calls for lemon zest, I didn't have any lemons.)
2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of whole milk (I used 2% cause that's what I have.)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups of frozen blueberries

I set the oven to preheat at 425 degrees.  I thought I would be slick, pull a stick of butter out of the fridge and use my food processor to grate the butter.  LOL, what a mess!  Freeze the butter!

Time to punt!  I decided to cream the butter and sugar together in the food processor.

Okay, that doesn't look too bad!  Then, I added the baking powder, baking soda and lemon extract giving it a whiz.  Scraped everything down; added the flour and gave it another whiz until I had bread crumb consistency.

Hey, I may be able to salvage this!  Next, I added the milk and sour cream and whizzed it until it just barely came together.  I then scarped a very sticky dough onto a heavily floured piece of parchment paper.

At this point, I should have stuck the whole sticky mess into the freezer and firmed up the dough but I didn't.  I tried to work the dough like she did in the video.  I finally put the dough in the freezer.  I went to switch the laundry over and came back.

I retrieved the dough from the freezer and proceeded to press the dough out to a 12-inch square. I sprinkled the frozen blueberries on, while lightly pressing the blueberries into the dough.  Then I scraped and folded the dough in thirds.  I patted the dough out to about 4 maybe 5 inches wide.  I cut the dough into quarters and then again into triangles to make 8 servings.  I moved the wedges to my parchment lined baking pan and baked them for 18 minutes in the 425-degree oven.

A few things I didn't do!  I didn't brush the tops with melted butter and sprinkle sugar across the tops.  They would have looked nicer if I had at least brushed the excess flour off the tops.  Next time I will add the salt to see if it is really needed.  I thought they tasted pretty darn good without it.

The scones had a light lemon under-tone with a great blueberry taste.  The scones also rose/raised??? very well and were very light.  They were not crumbly at all.  And best of all, Hubby and Sister Suzy liked them!  We even discussed what different fruits we thought would taste good in this recipe.  I'm thinking frozen cherries next! 

I think next time when I get to the bread crumb stage I will turn the flour mixture into a bowl and incorporate the liquids in the bowl to cut down on the mess in the food processor.  It would make chilling the dough easier before working it into its final shape.  The other thing I think I'm going to do is add an extra 1/4 cup of flour instead of trying to handle such a sticky mess on a floured surface.  Something else I would do is divide the dough into 10 maybe 12 servings instead of the 8 as I thought they were almost to big; if you can believe that!

Stay tuned!  I want to try a French Apple Walnut Scone recipe and look at some recipes that have the traditional oats in them.

Have a good day!