Saturday, June 4, 2011

Cream Scones

When I was in sixth grade, I was assigned some sort of informative project – telling the class how to do something that I already knew how to do. Accordingly, I informed my classmates on how to make scones and brought a batch with me to share. Since then, scones have held a special spot in my heart.  While I don’t have that same recipe (which is a crying shame), I do remember a few things about the experience:

First, it took me a long time to make them. Or, at least it seemed like it did. Hours. All day. For-ev-er. Could it be that my eleven year old self had a warped perception of time? I’m willing to entertain that possibility. (Read: YES)
Second, I remember bumbling around my kitchen and knocking things over a few times. Okay, fine – more than a few times. Maybe that is why it took so long…
Last, and most importantly, when I brought them to class, the boy that I had a crush on took two and gushed over how much he liked them. Gushed! Which, in my eleven-year-old world, felt like the functional equivalent of him giving me a lock of his hair and/or a vial of his blood to wear around my neck.
No? Oh, well, like I said, my perception back then might have been a bit off.

But is it any wonder why scones hold a soft spot in my heart?
I also think my fondness for scones relates to them being something special. Unlike muffins and biscuits, scones don’t give off the same air of everyday-ness. Which is a shame, really, because they are so amazing (fond boy memories aside.) Also, they are really easy and quick to make, despite my recollection to the contrary.

So break these out at your next tea party. Or brunch. Or sixth grade presentation. Because they will be a hit, the cute boy will take two, and you will be regarded as generally amazing. Or you could not share with anyone, eat them alone in quiet satisfaction, and regard yourself as the Emperor or Empress of Scones. Either way, totally make them. Whatever you do with them afterwards is your business. We’re all friends here.

Recipe adapted (slightly) from America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook, via Smitten Kitchen

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, preferably a low-protein brand such as Gold Medal or Pillsbury
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/3 cup of chopped raisins (though I can only imagine how delicious dried blueberries would be)
1 cup heavy cream


1. Heat oven to 425 degrees Farenheit.

2. Place flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in large bowl and whisk together.

3. Use a pastry blender, two knives, or your fingertips and quickly cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few slightly larger butter lumps. Stir in raisins.

4. Stir in heavy cream until the mixture begins to form a dough.

5. Transfer dough and all dry, floury bits to countertop and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds.

6. Form scones by pressing the dough into an 8-inch cake pan, then turning the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, cutting the dough into 8 wedges

7. Place wedges on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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