Posts tagged ‘work’

Stress Free Scones

It has been a stressful week in my department at work, so I decided that there needed to be scones this morning.  I pop all the ingredients in a bag and bring them with me and then make them up once I am here.  Scones are wonderful and are best fresh.  The last time I made scones for work I did orange cranberry.  They were gone in a matter of minutes and my boss said I could make those any time.

Today I opted for currant scones, as I didn’t have any fresh oranges.  Several people asked for the recipe, so I wrote it up from memory for them and wanted to share it with you here.  This recipe is from The New Best Recipe cookbook put out by Cooks Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchen, but rewritten by me as I don’t have the book at work.  The original recipe is for the single mix, not the double presented here.

Sadly, no pictures.  I have got to fix the picture problem soon.

Stress Free Cream Scones

(with rewritten instructions to the recipe from The New Best Recipe)

4 cups Flour (all purpose, low gluten, e.g. gold medal)
6 Tablespoons Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
10 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (very cold, cut into half inch cubes)
1 cup Currants
2 cups Heavy Cream

This recipe makes 16 scones, like I did today.  Halve all the amounts to do a smaller home sized recipe.  These don’t keep very well.  They are at least still edible the next morning, but not nearly as good as they are fresh.

1. Put all flour, sugar, salt, baking powder in food processor (or a large bowl).  Pulse several times to mix well (if using a bowl, whisk together dry ingredients).  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Sprinkle the chunks of butter across the processor/bowl.  Pulse around ten times to combine (use a pastry blender or two knives to combine butter in a bowl).  Butter should be in pea size chunks.

3. Add the currants and pulse 2 – 3 times to mix (blend a bit more if using a bowl).

4. At this point, transfer mixture from the processor to a bowl.  Add heavy cream.

5. Using a rubber spatula gently mix a few strokes, perhaps about 10, until the dough just begins to stick together.  I largely use a scraping motion around the edge of the bowl.  You don’t want any visible free running cream, but as soon as you don’t see any of that you are probably fine.  Do not over mix.

6. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  These do better on an insulated cookie sheet (e.g. airbake or similarly constructed cookie sheet).  Alternatively, stack two jelly roll pans together and use that.  If you are doing the 16 scone recipe you will want a full sheet pan or you won’t have enough room to spread them all out.

7. Dump the contents of the bowl out onto the parchment covered cookie sheet.  There will be a wide variety of textures coming out of the bowl, including a bunch of dry stuff – that’s actually the desired state.

8. Pat all that stuff into a recognizable shape using your hands and corralling any stray bits that have run away to the side of the dough.  If doing the smaller recipe, make a round.  For the larger recipe, make a large rectangle.  It should be about 3/4 – 1 inch thick.  I would advise against making it thicker as they may not cook as well in the center.  You aren’t trying to make the pile into a cohesive dough, just trying to keep all of it together in the same space.  The chunks will bake together in the oven.

9. Take a large knife and cut the scones.  It will stick some to the knife, just wipe the bits off and stick them back on top of the scone you were cutting.  You want to gently separate all the scones by an  inch and an half or so, as they will spread out some.  I have found that with the rectangular configuration you can cut and use the knife to slide that block over and it is helpful.  I cut strips, moving each away from the others as I go, and then repeat the process which each strip so that you have rectangular scones of equal size.  With the round, cut it like a pizza and then carefully pull it apart so that you have individual wedges.  You will likely end up patting all the scones a tiny bit to shape them as pieces will fall off when you shift them over.

10. Bake for roughly 10 – 15 minutes.  Keep an eye on them after the 10 minute mark.  Most likely they will take between 12 and 15.  You want them to be starting to turn lightly golden on top.  Don’t overdo it, or you will likely have an overcooked bottom crust develop and these should be tender and soft throughout.  Know your oven – if things tend to be done slightly early for you, it probably runs hot and you will likely have the same thing happen here.  If you have an oven thermometer you can check for temperature variance.  Making sure you use an insulated cookie sheet will also minimize chances of having an overcooked bottom.

11. Take them out and let them cool!  I usually put out a cooling rack and then just pull the parchment with all the scones off onto the cooling rack, which is easy and non-messy.  These will want 10 – 15 minutes to cool.  At ten they will probably still be a bit warm, but you will be able to handle them and they should retain their integrity at that point for picking up.

For an orange and cranberry variation:
When you add the butter, also add roughly 2 Tablespoons of orange zest  (add more or less, depending on your preference for subtlety or zing) and pulse like normal.  Instead of 1 cup currants, put in 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries.  The cranberries take up slightly more space in a cup due to their shape, so you want the larger measure.

October 23, 2009 at 4:25 pm Leave a comment