Welcome back. I hope everyone had a good holiday and spent some of that Boxing Day budget on things for the kitchen. Okay, I don't really expect that you did. But I did.
It's time to get back in the kitchen, and this issue I've chosen to give you a bit more difficult task. You made it through last term, so hopefully you have gained enough confidence and skill to handle this.
These are called Lady Scones for the lady I picked the recipe up from. Don't be deterred by the seemingly long instructions, the result is well worth it. Enjoy!
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface and hands (just keep the bag out while you work)
- 2 tablespoons granulated (the kind you put in your coffee) sugar
- 2 tablespoons baking powder (NOT baking soda)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda (NOT baking powder)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut into 1/2-inch pieces (You can also use margarine, but either way it should be chilled or your scones will be very heavy, not light and fluffy and delightful.)
- 1 cup dried cranberries (Look in the fruit section of the grocery store.)
- 2 1/4 cups whipping cream, plus more if needed
- 1 large egg yolk**
- granulated sugar
- elbow grease
- Mix together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender (aka, a fork and the elbow grease), cut in butter until mixture forms coarse crumbs with a few large clumps. Basically this means to mix the butter in. It's easiest with a fork, as chilled butter is rather hard. Mix in cranberries.
- Make a well in center of flour mixture (You know, the way you used to make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes so you could pour gravy lava down the sides. Oh come on, I know you did. Some of you still do, admit it). pour in just 2 cups of the cream. Using your hands, as I promised, draw dry ingredients over cream, gradually gathering and combining the dough until it just comes together. It should clump but not be overly sticky. If it becomes sticky, add a small amount of flour. However, it should not get sticky if you followed instructions. If it is too dry, add more cream, 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface. I suggest a clean and dry cutting board. With lightly floured hands (again as promised!), gently pat dough into a 9-inch circle, about 1 inch thick. This is about the diameter of a dinnerplate, or a bit smaller. Regardless, the important thing is the thickness. 1 inch, folks! Using a sharp knife, cut the circle into 16 triangles. (Isn't this a wonderful recipe for mathies?)
- Transfer triangles to baking sheets, either lightly greased or non-stick; cover with plastic wrap and freeze until very firm, at least 2 hours or overnight. For the extremely impatient, the freezing is not essential, but your scones will be lighter and more delightful if you do.
- Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly beat egg yolk with a fork with remaining 1/4 cup cream in a small bowl; brush over tops of scones. Sprinkle generously with the extra granulated sugar. Bake until golden and flecked with brown spots, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer scones to a wire rack, if you have one. Serve warm or at room temperature. Scones are best eaten the day they are baked, yum yum.
** About that egg yolk. It's time you learned how to separate an egg. Crack the egg as close to the middle as you can, and as cleanly as possible. Have a small bowl nearby for the white. When you crack open the egg, do it carefully and slowly, trying to catch the whole yolk in one half. Let the white drop into the bowl. Pass the yolk back and forth between the halves (see why a clean break is better?) until there is little to no white left with the yolk.