The concept of Scones was an alien one to me before I came to US, and my first encounter with this British pastry was at none other than Starbucks! The delicious Blueberry scone screamed out to me from behind the counter, and I couldn’t resist. It was like Love at first Bite! A perfectly made Scone is supposed to be tender, with a dark-gold outer crust, and a light-gold, moist inner crumb. it will definitely have a buttery taste, and should not be too sweet, so it can be enjoyed with your Tea or Coffee.
This delicious Cranberry & Almond scone recipe, adapted from the King Arthur blog, is a classic recipe on how to make a perfect scone. Take this basic recipe and add your favorite tidbits to it – dried fruits, nuts, chocolate chips, are all great additions. Just make sure you maintain the solid-liquid ratio correctly, and you can enjoy a different variety of scone each time – moist, flaky, and perfectly baked, just like the one at Starbucks!
Basic Scones Recipe
Prep time: 12 mins
Bake time: 25 mins
2 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup cold butter
1.5 cups chopped dried fruit, chocolate or other flavored chips and/or nuts
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or the flavoring of your choice
1/2 cup to 2/3 cup milk
Note: Start with less milk, and add more ONLY if required, to make the dough of the correct consistency. you might need more milk in dry winter months, as flour soaks up all the moisture quite easily, hence you may need a bit more liquid.
2 teaspoons milk
2 tablespoons white sugar or cinnamon sugar, optional
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.
Work in the butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly; it’s OK for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated.
Stir in the fruit, chips, and/or nuts, if you’re using them.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla or other flavor, and half and half or milk.
Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together.
Line a baking sheet with parchment; if you don’t have parchment, just use it without greasing it. Sprinkle a bit of flour atop the parchment or pan.
Scrape the dough onto the floured parchment or pan, and divide it in half. Round each half into a 5″ circle (if you haven’t incorporated any add-ins); or a 6″ circle (if you’ve added fruit, nuts, etc.). The circles should be about 3/4″ thick.
Brush each circle with milk, and sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar or cinnamon sugar, if desired.
Using a knife or bench knife that you’ve run under cold water, slice each circle into 6 wedges.
Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them just a bit; there should be about 1/2″ space between them, at their outer edges.
For best texture and highest rise, place the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered. This step is critical to getting a flaky yet tender texture for the scones. While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425°F.
Bake the scones for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they’re golden brown. When you pull one away from the others, it should look baked all the say through; the edge shouldn’t look wet or unbaked.
Remove the scones from the oven, and cool briefly on the pan. Serve warm. When they’re completely cool, wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to several days.
These Scones are a perfect treat to enjoy with your tea or coffee. I like mine with a dollop of butter or jam, alongwith my Indian Chai – they have a nice sweet, tart taste which lingers for a long time. Next time, I’m going to try to make these with whole-grain flour, for a healthier twist!