Thursday, October 6, 2011

Scones Are God's Gift to Mankind

Ben Franklin is supposed to have said (though I have it on good authority that this is a misquote) that "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."

Whether or not Mr. Franklin actually said this, I would like to adjust this statement and say, "Scones are proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." And then I would add, "Dear America, Scones aren't just for the British. They are amazing and wonderful and delicious."

I love scones. I was first introduced to them while I was studying at the Contemporary Music Center, then located on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. Whoever made the scones was amazing. The scones were perfectly sized for a serving, shaped in perfect little triangles, and downright delicious.

If at this point, you're thinking, "Leah, what the heck is a scone?!?", allow me to point you to this Wikipedia page, which should give you a general idea. If your links are broken, a scone is a biscuit of sorts, usually with either sweet or savory flavoring. Some scones are shaped and cut into triangles; others look like big inflated cookies (these are called "drop scones"). Scones can be baked or fried on a griddle. And they are generally delicious.

I have recently come across a few books of scone recipes and so far I have tried 3 of these recipes. I will share all of these recipes because I loved them, but this week we'll go for the Blueberry Coffeecake Scones.

As with most recipes, make sure you have all the ingredients before you start. This is especially important with scones, because they tend to ask for more random or less ubiquitous ingredients than say, cookies.

So, without further ado:

Blueberry Coffeecake Scones
2-1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, chilled
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp grated lemon peel
1-1/2 cup blueberries

3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, chilled

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter an 11" diameter circle on a baking sheet.

In a bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut butter in until it resembles coarse crumbs.

In another bowl, stir together eggs, milk, vanilla, and lemon peel. Add the egg mix to the flour mix and stir to combine. Dough will be sticky.

With lightly floured hands, gently knead in blueberries.

With lightly floured hands, pat the dough into a 9" diameter circle on the baking sheet (inside the 11" butter circle).

Mix together flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon, then cut in butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle evenly over the dough to cover it. Press in lightly. With a serrated knife, cut circle into 8 wedges.

Bake for 30-35 min, until top is lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean.

Remove the whole pan to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Then, using a spatula, transfer the scones to the wire rack to cool. Recut, if necessary.


So there you have it. Blueberry Coffeecake Scones. They were astonishingly delicious, but I have a few suggestions, tips, and tricks.

1. I was disappointed that this only made 8. Not to mention they were really big scones! I mean, it was great for breakfast; one filled me up. But for dessert it was a bit much. Each one was the size of a generous slice of pie. I think next time, I'll split the dough into 2 sections and make 2 smaller circles. This may change the baking time.
2. I used frozen blueberries. Frozen fruit really works just as well as fresh fruit in baking. We had picked them in the summer and then had them in the freezer. Just make sure you remove any ice chunks.
3. You will get messy. "Lightly kneading in blueberries" is way messier than it sounds. My hands were completely purple by the time I was done! The dough is really sticky. Making scones is messy! I don't care how "lightly floured" your hands are; you will get dough stuck to you.
4. When you add the butter, it's best if you first cut it into 1/2" cubes before you "cut it in". If you don't know what it means to "cut in butter", don't worry. I didn't either. You can use a hand blender, or if you're not great with one (like me), take two knifes and cut them towards each other, like a pair of scissors. This will start mixing and get the butter into smaller chunks. At some point, I just began using my fingers to smish and smash it all together. Like I said, it's messy!
5. I used a ruler. I can't see what an 11" diameter circle looks like without one!
6. Keep the circle together when you bake it; the cut edges are much nicer this way.
7. The whole cooling process really is necessary.

Happy Baking!

Love and Scones,

P.S. We bought bacon this week, so I might try my first savory scone recipe: Potato Bacon scones!

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