Any proper tea will have lovely scones (rhymes with “cons”) which are similar to biscuits, but “shorter”. This is a reference to texture, not stature. When you hear the term “short”, it usually applies to non-yeast baked goods that have a high ratio of butter to flour. They tend to be very rich, crumbly, and tender, and they tend toward crispness rather than chewy. That describes these lovelies to a “tea”… The Goddess loves puns; the pun is underrated, as is sarcasm. Anyway, this recipe has come my way via The Austrian Sweet Tooth, who is a long-time friend, a fine cook and a fellow art lover.
Perfect Anytime Scones
- 2 cups all-purpose flour*
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup cold butter or margarine
- 1/3 cup currants
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 large eggs, well beaten
*You may use 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat, if you wish
Preheat oven to 375ºF degrees.
In a large bowl, combine the first 4 ingredients. Cut in the cold butter until very coarse cornmeal consistency. Stir in the currants.
Combine the milk and eggs. Add all at once and stir just until combined. DO NOT OVERMIX.
Turn out onto a floured surface. Shape into a ball, handling gently and as little as possible. Flatten into a disc about 1-inch thick. Cut into 8 pie-shaped wedges and arrange on an ungreased baking sheet, about 1-inch apart. Bake for 12 to 18 minutes or until the top begin to color.
Remove from oven; serve immediately, later today or tomorrow…they’re good no matter when you want them and you will want them. Excellent served with good black currant jam or honey.
The Sweet Tooth uses milk, I use buttermilk instead. Scones (remember, rhymes with “cons”) are traditionally made with currants, but today I made them with dried cranberries and a dusting of Vietnamese cinnamon when they came out of the oven. I have made these with lavender and lemon, poppy seeds and lemon, chives and cheddar cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and basil, bits of bacon and chives…you get the idea. The thing to remember when adding flavors, is to use lower moisture ingredients and keep it to about 1/3-1/2 cup total.
When blending the butter into the flour, I use my finger tips. The aren’t as warm as my hands, so the butter will remain cold. Also, over the years, I’ve learned to make “discs” of butter, rather than pea-sized pieces. The discs seem to make a flakier biscuit; which is what scones really are. We’ll do biscuits another time….
When the dough just comes together (remember do NOT over-mix!), dump the dough on the counter and pat it out into a rectangle (if making the smaller ones like I did) or circle (if making the larger pieces)
I tend to cut these into smaller wedges and they take about 15 minutes to cook.
The scones will be light brown on the bottoms with almost no color on the tops.
I always brush to tops with heavy cream, and for sweet varieties,
I sprinkle the tops with coarse sugar. But, they are also delicious without the sugar.
You might want to wait until they are just-out-of-the-oven hot, cut them in half and smear a good bit of butter on and a good drizzle of honey…are you with me yet, or have you passed out from hunger and the possibilities? That’s one of the things that’s so great about cooking…the possibilities!