Happy Sunday Dread Heads! This week we’re starting to work our way through the gift basket for Jesse William’s parents (just a side note, you put my name (Bill) on one of your kids, you get a much more decadent bakery basket, just saying). Scones are the order of the day, two types, Cinnamon and Chocolate Chip.
Scones in their basic form are really just Scottish biscuits. Since I like a strong difference between sweet bread and non-sweet bread and I have the perfect recipe for biscuits, I only make sweet scones. The Cinnamon scones are less sweet since than the Chocolate Chip ones, as they just have a glaze on the top. You can also skip the glaze on the Chocolate Chip scones, if you want, but I think you would be making a big mistake.
There are a lot of different ways to make scones, with milk or with cream, but I find for just the right texture and moistness nothing beats sour cream. The base recipe for both of these scones are the same, so I will just provide the differences in the recipe instead of both recipes.
Sour Cream Scones – Yields 12 scones
Baking pans – 1 baking sheet, covered in parchment paper (you really need the paper for this recipe, don’t scrimp or you will be sorry!)
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
¾ cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder (if you live over 5000 feet cut this in half)
½ teaspoon backing soda (if you live over 5000 feet cut this in half)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup sour cream
3 tablespoons cream or buttermilk
3 tablespoon sugar
For Chocolate Chip scones: ½ cup mini chocolate chips
For Cinnamon scones 4 teaspoons cinnamon
This recipe goes fast so start by setting your oven rack in the middle of the oven. If you have a cheap oven like I do, which has four slots instead of three, use the second one from the bottom, you don’t want your scones to brown too much.
Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut the cold butter into 10 relatively even pieces. Place them in the bowl and then, using your hands, rub the butter with the flour.
You don’t need to press hard or anything like that, just keep rubbing flour onto the butter pieces. Relax and take your time, there is no way to do this in less than 5 minutes so just keep going. The goal here is to get tiny granules of butter coated with flour. This is what gives the scone its nice flaky texture. Be sure to dig down to the bottom of the bowl from time to time so you get flour that does not already have butter in it.
You are done when you can’t find any pieces of butter and the mixture looks a little like corn meal. Since that is a vague description there is a picture below of what it should look like. If you are making the Chocolate Chip scones, add the chips now and mix with your hands until they are evenly distributed.
In another bowl, beat the eggs, then add the sour cream and whisk to combine. When this mixture is smooth make a well in the flour mixture and pour the sour cream mixture into it. Using a fork mix the wet and dry ingredients until just combined. There is almost always a little bit of flour that does not quite get mixed in. Just leave it. It is better to have a little less flour than it is to over-mix your scones.
Turn the mixture out onto a floured work surface and divide into three roughly equal balls. If the dough has picked up all the flour on the work surface, lightly re-flour it, you don’t want them to stick to the work surface. Press each ball into a 5 inch circle. Lightly flour a sharp knife and cut each circle into four quarters.
Slip your pan into the hot oven and bake for 10 minutes. Test for doneness by pressing a couple of them with the tip of one finger. They should be firm but not dry. If they are not firm enough give them a couple of minutes and try again. You do not want your scones to brown very much at all. They should be mostly pale with just a hint of light golden brownness.
Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for at least ten minutes. Scones freeze very well. Double wrap them in plastic, and freeze for up to 2 months. To revive them, let the scones defrost at room temperature in under plastic wrap in a single layer for an hour. Reheat for 5 minutes at 350 degrees to bring them back to perfection.
The flour is yours.