Now that the weather has cooled down I started baking a little more. It’s nice to have something homemade available with a hot cup of coffee in the morning or offer to a friend who happens to drop by. Scones are not a uniform concept. They can be round, triangular, even square, large or small, taller or flat, sweet or savoury, cake-like or crumbly, made with flour or oatmeal and include raisin, currants, berries or left plain. There is also the distinction between a scone and a biscuit, the latter apparently always includes cold butter. There is a long history of this culinary gem that originated from Scotland, Ireland and Britain. I am not even going into the pronunciation of the word, there is a debate about that as well. At this point I will leave you to research the history on your own if you are interested. I generally like to know the story of food but there is a limit. Personally, I love the giant, cakey-crumbly semi-moist scones with white chocolate and berries that you can buy at Good Earth Cafe. If I go there I can’t resist the temptation. As Oscar Wilde says: “The best way to resist temptation is to yield to it”. His ability to observe and comment on human behaviour is still in my opinion unsurpassed.
So this is a very simple and easy scone recipe that I can whip up in minutes. It is adapted from a scone recipe in a book by DeDe Lahman and Neil Kleinberg “Clinton Street Baking Company Cookbook”. The two are husband-wife chef team and proprietors of the new york restaurant Clinton Street Baking company and Restaurant. The restaurant is especially known for it biscuits that they serve for breakfast instead of bagels or croissants. Their biscuits are made with buttermilk, butter and vegetable shortening. The scones however only call for cream, since it already contains butterfat. The way I prepare it, it only requires one bowl so you don’t have to pull out the mixer and make a big mess in the kitchen. It has minimal basic ingredients and no eggs or butter. I list a couple of optional ingredients, like orange zest and cinnamon, and even the berries and chocolate are optional although I like them in these scones. You can make it plain, and I sometimes do as you can see in the images below.
Once the dough is mixed, turn it onto a large piece of parchment paper instead of directly on your counter. This way the sticky dough is contained on the paper and when you finish the job just crunch the parchment and discard. No countertop to scrape clean. See? I look after you. In terms of shape, I press the dough together (it’s sticky but crumbly) and spread it with my hands into a circle about an inch thick. I then cut it into rounds with a round cookie cutter or use an appropriate size glass (the stemless Riedel white wine glass works for me). You will have to gather the dough a couple of time to use it all. Alternatively you can cut it into squares or rectangles if you wish. The shape and size do not have to be regular or uniform. Their beauty is in the irregular free form. To bake the scones I place them on parchment lined baking sheet with a silicon liner underneath to prevent the bottom form browning too fast. If you like to bake and don’t have a silicon mat I suggest you get one or two. They really protect the bottom of whatever it is you are baking.
Note: if you bake this plain without the berries use 2 cups flour with 1 cup cream, adding a tablespoon or two of cream if there is dry flour left after mixing. The berries break down and add water to the dough.
Well, that’s about all I have to say about this. Really simple and delicious. Go for it.
Yields 12 scones.
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 cup sugar + 1 teaspoon cinnamon (reserve 2 tablespoons for sprinkling over the scones before baking)
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1/2 cup white chocolate chunks or good quality chips
1 small basket blackberries or raspberries, or mixed (about 1 cup)
1 cup whipping cream
Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon and zest in a medium size bowl and mix.
Add berries and chocolate. If the blackberries are too large I cut some of them in half. Mix to coat the berries with the flour.
Add the cream all at once and mix with a spatula but do not over mix. The dough will be chunky and not necessarily hold together in one piece.
Set a large piece of parchment on your counter and scrape the dough onto it.
With clean hands pat the dough together into a rough circle about an inch thick.
Cut it into rounds with a round cookie cutter about 2.5 inch in diameter or another size.
Place the scones on a parchment lined baking sheet (see note above about a silicon mat). They will spread a bit so space them about 2 inch apart.
Re-press the remaining dough into a circle and keep cutting into rounds until you used up all the dough. I get about 12 from this recipe.
Place the sheet in a pre-heated 350℉ oven and bake for about 20 minutes until just beginning to turn golden.
Let cool on wire rack before serving.