Sunday, November 23, 2008

Best Scones in the World, in My Opinion

If you ever bake one thing I post on this blog, make it these scones. These are the single most worthy use of flour, butter, and sugar I have ever offered up here. These scones are the perfect combination of tart and sweet and they are SO light and moist, especially for scones which tend to be a little on the dry side. You don't even need clotted cream or jam or butter or whatever else it is you normally put on your scones if you eat these when they are fresh out of the oven. I made one batch (which only yielded about 8 scones), and then decided I better make another, they are that good.

I made these this weekend and flash freezed them on the baking sheet (before baking), then put them in ziploc bags to store in the freezer until Friday morning. I actually picked this recipe because there was a note that said you could bake the scones right out of the freezer, which sounded like about the right amount of work for the Friday morning after Thanksgiving.

Then I spent the rest of my Sunday in the kitchen making turkey stock and snacks for book club tomorrow. (Why host one dinner a week when you can host two?) Neither the stock nor the snacks were as inspiring as the scones, although I did remember why I hate making mini-anything--it is 20X more work than making the normal size. Pumpkin pie from a can? Easy. Mini-pumpkin pies from a can? %$*&$%#

Back to the scones. Make them. Technically you can substitute dried cranberries, but I really don't think they would be the same. Also the original recipe called for lemon zest, but by batch number two all my lemons were bald already, so I used orange zest and it worked just as well.

Cranberry Scones

From SmittenKitchen, which adapted from Gourmet
Yield 8 scones

2 tbs. lemon or orange zest (from about 2 large lemons; or 1 navel orange)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar plus 3 tbs. additional if using fresh cranberries
1 tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 stick (6 tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 1/4 cups fresh cranberries, chopped coarse (approx. in quarters)
... or 1 1/4 cups dried cranberries (but it won't be as good!)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup heavy cream

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees if baking immediately.
-Peel the lemons or orange with a vegetable peeler, then finely, finely chop the zest.
-Combines the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles a course meal. The easiest way to do this, without a food processor which would really be the easiest way, is to dice the butter very small and make sure each piece is separated before you add them into the flour. The flour will keep them from sticking back together so shake the bowl before adding in more pieces. Then use two knifes to cut the butter pieces even finer.
-In a small bowl combine the chopped cranberries and the sugar, then fold these into the flour mixture. (Don't add sugar if you use dry cranberries, just fold them directly into the flour.)
-In another small bowl beat the eggs and the cream.
-Mix the liquid mixture into the dry mixture, just until combined.
-On a lightly flour surface, dump the dough out and press it into a 1 inch thick circle with your hands. Using the top of a glass that has been dusted with flour, or a circular cookie/biscuit cutter, cut out scones and place them on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Gather the scraps and reform into 1 inch thick circle as needed until all the scones are formed.
-If baking immediately, bake in 400 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until a pale golden color.
-If freezing, place baking sheet in the freezer for at least one hour or until the scones are hard and frozen. Place the scones in a freezer bag until ready to bake. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until a pale golden color.
-Serve as soon as they are cool enough to handle.

EDIT NOTE 11/28: Baking these straight from the freezer didn't work that well. I would defrost them on the cookie sheet the night before. Otherwise the outside is browned before the inside is cooked.


Twin Tables said...

These look so good. I might make some tonight!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE scones! these look fabulous!

Blythe Moran said...

I made these this morning and they were gone in no time-everyone loved them. I think I will have to make more tomorrow!

How did Thanksgiving go? I can't wait to try the cider turkey.. I had to work today so we are eating turkey tomorrow. Post soon-hopefully this year didn't trump last year!