So Scones. Who knew this crumble, craggly, sweet and delectable pastry confounds so many people. It has an elusive aspect, which most at home bakers will find counter-intuitive. Athough most people are used to the concept of not overworking a batter, the traditional scone relies on a barely incorporated batter to create the varience in the consistency of the treat. I only just made my first batch 8 days ago, and I have no regrets! I watched several videos on youtube, and looked up a few different recipes and of course asked actual practiced scone bakers. Their 2 key points were as follows:
- DON’T OVERWORK THE BATTER. The issue lies in the nature of a scone, and an even properly incorporated batter will yield a cakey, muffin-like confection, where a traditional scone is crusty, crumbly, and utterly delicious.
- KEEP YOUR BUTTER COLD. The butter is the main fat, and if it is not properly cooled beforehand it will melt before it can be absorbed into the body of the scone, yielding a dry, flat pastry. To achieve success, I recommend you take your butter, flash freeze it for 20-30 minutes, then grate it on a cheese grater for uniform small bits, while maintaining the low temperature.
Below you will find the recipe we assembled from several others available at the time, which I have refined into a fantastic base recipe which you can modify to whatever flavor you so desire. I will show you a specific recipe, and then the generic filling portions which you can use to create whatever flavor you like.
2 c A.P. Flour
1/3 c White Sugar
1 tbsp Baking Powder
1 tsp salt
3 large eggs (2 for batter, one for egg wash)
1/2 c Half And Half OR Heavy Cream (you may use milk for a lower fat scone)
8 tbsp cold riced butter
_____ Generic Ratios (Extract 1 1/2 tsp, Nuts 1/2 c, Fruit 1 – 1 1/2 c diced) – USE THIS INSTEAD OF THE FOLLOWING TO CREATE NEW AND DIFFERENT FLAVOR COMBOS
VARIATION NUMBER ONE
1 1/2 tsp orange extract
1/2 c cranberries, dried and sweetened
1 c diced apples, 3/8″ cut (Gala, Braeburn, etc.)
VARIATION NUMBER TWO
2 tbsp dark cherry extract
1 c diced apples, 3/8″ cut
Mix dry ingredients, toss. In separate bowl mix cream, eggs, extract. Add chilled riced butter to flour, and gently incorporate into flour with hands, do not work it too hard or it will melt. Dry ingredients and butter should resemble almond meal. Add nuts and fruit to dry mix, toss gently. Add wet ingredients to dry, fold in gently DO NOT OVERWORK. You only want it incorporated enough to hold together, if it looks consistent you’ve gone too far and will end up with a muffin-like consistency. Gently form into a round shape with a relatively flat top. Cut with a cold knife or dough scraper into 8 pieces and place on a cookie sheet. The batter is so wet and sticky that most material will adhere and start to rip it, so proactively chilling a knife will make this job ten times easier.
Put in freezer for 15 minutes to help it set, this will yield a much better formed end product. Remove from freezer, egg wash and light coating of big grain sugar. In a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven, bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown and set. If you like you may make an icing/glaze out of confectioners sugar.
Serve warm and enjoy! Or split it in half, top with your favorite ice cream or fruit topping, and go to town!
Don’t forget that you can get these every weekend at Element Brewing Company in Millers Falls, MA! And now you can hang out, have a beer and get some old school Nintendo going on our new retro SNES package!