Monday, October 29, 2012

Scones that even I can't screw up

In our home, Sunday morning always finds me in the kitchen with a cup of tea, enjoying the task of whipping up breakfast from whatever I can find in the pantry. Usually we end up with pancakes (the Lemon Pancakes from the Joy of Cooking are one of my all-time favorites), waffles, or crepes with fresh fruit. What do these recipes have in common? Well, for starters, they don't involve my oven.

The jury is still out as to whether it's my fault or the oven's fault that I can't bake, but suffice it to say that the last time I made a pie there was fire involved. However, in a flury of energy one Sunday morning, I decided I would throw caution to the wind (though not the fire extinguisher) and try my hand at scones.

Like pancakes or waffles, you probably have everything you need in your pantry and fridge to make a batch of scones. I came across the following recipe after Googling 'best scones' and I must admit, it lives up to the search criteria. I think the secret is the sour cream - well, I know so as I tried it once with yogurt and it just wasn't the same. You can make them your own by throwing in dried cranberries, grated lemon peel and poppy seeds, currants, or whatever suits your fancy!

Easy-Peasy Scones (adapted from this recipe)

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup dried currants, raisins, or cranberries
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Cut in butter using a pastry blender or rubbing between your fingers until it is in pea sized lumps. (Or, use your food processor to mix in the butter. If its frozen, you'll need to use the blade. Make sure to pulse gently and not over mix.) Stir in the currants (or other addition). Mix together 1/2 cup milk and sour cream in a measuring cup. Pour all at once into the dry ingredients, and stir gently until well blended (or, pulse gently in food processor). Overworking the dough results in terrible scones!

With floured hands, pat scone dough into balls 2 to 3 inches across, depending on what size you want. Place onto a greased baking sheet, and flatten lightly. Let the scones barely touch each other. Whisk together the egg and 1 tablespoon of milk. Brush the tops of the scones with the egg wash. Let them rest for about 10 minutes.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until the tops are golden brown, not deep brown. Break each scone apart, or slice in half. Serve with butter or clotted cream and a selection of jams - or even plain.