That chill air of Fall creeping in and edging out the warmth of Summer was a call to my inner baker to get in the kitchen and fire up the oven. One thing I love to make is scones. They are quick, easy and there is nothing more delicious than a piping hot scone fresh from the oven.
Over the years there are a few lessons I have learned when making scones. The first one is to never overwork the dough. Overworking the dough gets rid of the all important pockets of fat that are essential for creating that fluffy texture, if you mix the ingredients too much you end up with edible doorstops.
The next lesson of importance is to not over-bake your scones. This leads to the scone drying out, because as it sits on the breakfast or brunch table cooling off… it is still baking. I tend to pull my scones out of the oven 2 or 3 minutes before the actual time stated, keeping an eye on the browning on the top and bottom. Once it get a light brown color it is time to pull them out. I also remove the scones from the baking sheet while they are warm. Keeping them on the baking sheet to cool will cause them to continue baking and you will end up with tough bottoms to your scones.
Batter should be mixed with your hands and a wooden spoon for the perfect texture. Using a food processor or electric mixer will overwork your ingredients. If you think you can manage a light hand with the electric gadgets then go for it, otherwise get old fashioned and work with those hands.
So with all these scone tips, I’m going to pass along my favorite recipe for making scones that has the addition of hazelnuts and currants, they give a nice little crunch and fruity chew to your scone. If you don’t have them, this recipe works beautifully without for a classic scone that is perfect with a little clotted cream and jam.
Hazelnut Currant Scones
- 2 cups Flour
- 1/4 cup White Sugar
- 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1/3 cup Cold Butter (cut into chunks)
- 1 large Egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup Whole Milk
- 1/4 cup dried Zante Currants
- 1/4 cup crushed Hazelnuts
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or lightly grease it if you do not have parchment paper handy.
Combine the dry ingredients into one bowl. Add in the butter and with your hands sort of “pinch” the butter into the flour mix. You are not looking to fully incorporate the butter into the flour and you will want small to medium size chunks of butter between the size of a pea and shelled almond.
Combine the milk and egg in a small bowl and whisk it together. Drizzle it over the flour and butter mixture. Using a wooden spoon, stir the milk and egg into the flour mixtures. Do not over mix, the dough will be lumpy and it will be sticky, you are mixing just enough for the flour mixture to get moist.
Divide the dough into 3 equal portion. Take one portion out and put it onto a well floured board. You are going to knead it about 5 or 6 times. The trick is when you press your dough flat, flip it over then fold, then press flat again. Repeat that procedure 4 or 5 times. What you are doing is folding the floured side together, this along with those butter chunks is what makes those lovely flakey layers you are after.
Now make that kneaded dough into a little mound about 5 inches in diameter. The center of your little mound should be slightly higher than the outside rim, so it’s kind of like a dome. Now take a big knife and cut it into half and then half again so you have 4 equal pieces.
I like to brush the tops of my scones with milk then sprinkle a pinch of turbinado sugar onto them. You don’t have to do this, you can leave them plain if you want.
Stick them on your cookie sheet and bake them for about 10-12 minutes until they are golden brown. Top them with butter, clotted cream or marscapone cheese with fruit preserves. NOM!
Full disclosure: I have received no compensation from any business or organization mentioned in this article.
Images by Kelly Cline ©2010 All Rights Reserved
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