Monday, August 3, 2015

Cooking is Cheaper than Therapy: Cream Scones

In America, we tend to see scones served more during the breakfast hours, but in the United Kingdom, such as in England or Scotland, scones are used in the late afternoon during "tea time." Afternoon tea is the time to relax with a cup of tea, a spot of sherry, and an assortment of light tea sandwiches, pastries, and especially scones. 

This is my favorite scone recipe, Cream Scones. The ingredients are simple and usually in my cupboard. They come together very quickly, and I can have them warm and ready in a short time. Another thing I enjoy about this recipe is that the final scone is simple, yet a perfect vehicle to enhance strawberry preserves, even raspberry or blackberry, unsalted butter or clotted cream (recipe to come later). 


Fond memories of easier times when I would bake scones on a Saturday afternoon on a rainy day, and serve scones with a cup of tea in front of a roaring fire. 


I would recommend when mixing the dough to be as hands and utensil free as possible. This dough comes together easy, so the less touching of the dough, the better bringing tender and flaky results. 



Cream Scones

3 cups all-purpose flower
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1/3 cup granulated sugar, to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 to 1 1/2 cups heavy or whipping cream (keeping some additional heavy cream, for brushing on top of scones
Coarse white sparkling sugar, for topping (regular granulated sugar will also work). 

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Sprinkle the vanilla over the dry ingredients, then drizzle in the cream, tossing and stirring gently all the while and adding just enough to make a cohesive dough. There shouldn't be any dry flour in the bottom of the bowl, but the dough shouldn't be particularly sticky, either. Once again, I cannot stress do not overwork the dough. 

Lightly flour a clean work surface. Divide the dough in half, and gently pat each half into a 5 1/2" circle about 3/4" thick if you will be cutting each circle into six wedges. Place the two circles of dough on the baking sheet, and cut each into 6 wedges. If possible line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or not; it helps with cleanup, but isn't necessary to prevent sticking). Pull the wedges apart a bit, leaving them in a circular pattern with about 1" space between each wedge. Or; 

You may leave one large circle on the floured surface. Leaving the dough 3/4" thick,  a large biscuit cutter may be used for 8 - 12 round shaped scones. This is often what I enjoy  - especially to find an opportunity to use my old biscuit cutter. 


Brush each scone with heavy cream, and sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar, if desired. Now, set the pan of completed scones aside to rise before baking. For best rising, place the pan of scones into the freezer for 15 minutes (No room in freezer? The fridge will do until scones are cold), while you preheat your oven to 425°F.
Bake the chilled scones for 14 to 15 minutes, until they're starting to brown, and baked all the way through. Remove the scones from the oven. Serve warm, split and spread with a lots of fruit preserves, sweet butter or clotted cream.
The scones store well in a airtight container for several days; freeze for longer storage. To refresh, microwave individual scones very briefly; or place scones on a baking sheet, tent with aluminum foil, and reheat in a 350°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until heated through. But, why are you going to have any scones left?  Enjoy!  

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