Monday, January 7, 2013

Buttermilk Cinnamon Scones

Learning to Make Scones

Over the weekend, we took a great class at King Arthur Flour education center in Norwich, Vermont called Basic Bread 101.

During our class we learned to properly knead bread which I will share later, but we also learned some tips for making good scones.
  • The first is to use two sizes of butter: small bits for tenderness, and larger flat pieces for flakiness. You slide the larger pieces between your thumb and your first finger, and leave the "shavings" as is, in the dough.
  • The second was to mix it with your hands just until it comes together, then pat it out into a round, i.e, mix the dough as little as possible to avoid making them tough.
  • The third is to carefully measure your flour by weight. Too much flour makes them tough and dry.
  • Finally, save back some of the liquid in case you don't need it. In the summer when it is humid, you won't need it all. In winter, when it is dry, you will.
Maybe you knew all of these tips, but we didn't and now we are excited to have the skills to make tender scones compared to the hockey pucks in our past.

Buttermilk Cinnamon Scones
(King Arthur Flour recipe)

 2 1/4 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
6 T. (3 ounces) unsalted butter, chilled
1/4 cup cinnamon chips
1/4 cup currants
2 t. sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
3/4 cup (6 ounces) buttermilk
Coarse sugar for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.
Cut chilled butter in small pieces and blend quickly and lightly into the flour, using your fingertips or a pastry cutter.
Stir in the sugar and the chips and currants.
Separate the egg and place the yolk in a liquid measure, adding buttermilk to reach 3/4 cup. Reserve the white for brushing on top of scones.
Lightly stir the buttermilk into the dry ingredients until just mixed.
Pat into a nice flat round on parchment paper on a baking sheet.
Cut into 8 triangles and pull apart slightly to allow airflow. Beat the egg white and brush over scones.
Sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until lightly browned.

Variations: Substitute anything for the currants and chips. Butter can be increased or decreased by 2 T. cream or milk can be substituted for the buttermilk but you should replace the 1/2 t. of soda with baking powder. Pumpkin can be substituted for the buttermilk, molasses for the sugar. Whole wheat or cornmeal can be substituted for half the flour.


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