Saturday, October 17, 2009

My Favorite Scones

Years ago on a long plane ride back from my first (and only) trip overseas, I came across a delicious scone recipe in Bon Appetit as I entertained myself with magazines. At the time, I had never made scones, and the idea of making what seemed like a "fancy" pastry from scratch was intimidating. I'm not a "fancy" kind of girl. It's the little things that impress me. Give me a $1.99 coffee mug, and you'd think I had just been given a diamond ring.

This recipe was different though. There was no "fancy" scone pan I had to purchase, and the ingredient list was made of things I normally have in my pantry, and relatively short at that. So, I thought, "How hard can this be?" Here goes: butterscotch drop scones.

The process was ridiculously easy, and the end result tasted of one that had slaved all day in the kitchen, churning the butter, whipping the cream, and fluffing the dough with hands of angels (ok, that's a bit dramatic, but you get the point). They were divine. Just enough sweetness, a bit of saltiness and a crumbly, buttery texture that just makes you want to sit and eat them forever.

Over the years, I've made them for brunches, lunches, birthdays, celebrations, and those "just because" moments when we all want something sinfully delicious. What's extra nice about the recipe is that it's so adaptable too. If you don't have butterscotch, use anything you like: chocolate chips, dried fruit, fresh herbs, cheese.

Since October always puts me in the mood for all things autumn, last week, I made them with cranberries and orange zest, which turned out terrifically. The sweetness of the cranberries mixed with the freshness of the citrus explodes in your mouth, and you just can't help but smile.

Sometimes I wonder if it's normal to get this excited about food.

Cranberry Orange Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
⅓ cups brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoons salt
½ cups chilled butter, diced
1 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon orange zest
½ cups chilled whipping cream, or more
1 large egg


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl.

Add chilled butter, and using fingertips or a pastry cutter, mix together until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Mix in cranberries and orange zest.

Whisk cream and egg in a small bowl until blended.

Gradually add cream mixture to the flour mixture and toss with a fork until dough comes together in moist clumps. (Add more cream as needed if dough is too dry.)

Drop by 1/4 cupfuls onto a baking stone or baking dish lined with parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown on top (toothpick will come out clean).

Sprinkle with sugar when scones come out of oven.


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