Thursday, November 09, 2006

Experiment with a new scone recipe

I am perfectly happy with the scone recipe I found in Martha Stewart Baking Handbook. In fact, it's the recipe I always go back to whenever I need to make scones. There are other recipes that I have tried with satisfactory result, but they were too rich for my lifestyle. You see, heavy cream is used in the traditional scone. Though they are tender, sweet and everything that a good scone should be, I feel a bit guilty to eat them on a regular basis. Martha's version on the other hand, uses buttermilk. It gives the scone an equally tender and light texture, which I like, plus something more. A little something that you can't pinpoint, but leaves you going "Hmm..."(in a good way, of course). In short, I am contented with my reliable recipe. So why risk my previous ingredients to try another new recipe?

Because this recipe uses buttermilk too! You know, "great minds think alike"! I believe whoever this person is, she must be thinking the same thing as Martha, and me! (ahem) And that is to cut down on the calories of the scones. It's a recipe for Meyer Lemon and dried blueberry scones. I love anything with lemon! I love it in cake, I love it in cookies, but how could I not think of adding it to my scones?! Clearly, it showed that I am not a creative person. Anyhow, I knew I got to do make the scones immediately. Eventhough I didn't have any dried blueberry on hand. Luckily, we were on our way out, so I managed to grab a bag of it from Trader Joes!

But there's still another problem. The recipe used self rising flour. I know there's a substition for it using all purpose flour and baking powder. But the buttermilk is an acidic ingredient, which it required something alkaline to neutralise it. Or the scones may tasted very sour-y. So I shall add some baking soda. In that case, some salt too. It's a chemistry thing, which I shall spare you the detail. In a gist, I need to make sure that the scones will rise beautifully, and taste right.

The recipe doesn't require any egg which I find weird. So I added one egg in my modified recipe. I get more and more confused with the use of ingredients in this recipe the more I think about it. It's like the kind of organic chemistry exam questions I got in Uni days. At the first glance, you thought the question was pretty straightforward, but when you started to answer the question, it just doesn't seem right.

Anyway, I baked the scones adopting Bon Appetit concept with many modification. The scones tasted a bit bland. Although the perfume of lemon filled my apartment while the scones were baking, I could hardly taste it in the final products. The concept of putting lemon and dried blueberry in scone is excellent, but the recipe definitely needs more adjustment.

Yesterday, after baking a batch of orange chocolate oatmeal cookies, I have some orange zest leftover. So it gave me a perfect excuse to try another version of the lemon and dried blueberry scone. This time, I used orange zest with dried cranberries, and added in some chocolate chips. Since I was experimenting with the recipe, i decided to omit the egg, as the recipe advised and decreased the amount of baking soda.

This time, it is much nicer. Although the orange flavor isn't obvious enough to be detected. That is a simpler problem to solve. I will either add more zest or add a tablespoon of orange juice next time.

left: lemon and dried blueberry scone; right: orange,dried cranberry and chocolate chips scone

I know this is a boring entry for anyone who isn't in the mood to make scones. But in case any of you, my friends want to know what I have been up to lately, this is the kind of stuff that's is going on in my mind right now. Of course, I am also thinking of what to bake for OCT's lab meeting tomorrow. And what's for dinner later!

Meyer Lemon and Dried Blueberry Scones
adapted from Dec 2006 Bon Appetite

3 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups dried wild blueberries (about 10 ounces)
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk
1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated Meyer lemon peel or regular lemon peel

Position rack in top third of oven and preheat to 425°F. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk self-rising flour and 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl. Using fingertips, rub in chilled butter until pieces are size of small peas. Add dried wild blueberries and toss to coat. Mix 1 cup buttermilk and finely grated lemon peel in glass measuring cup. Pour buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients and stir until dough begins to form (some of flour will not be incorporated). Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and gather together. Knead dough briefly, about 5 turns. Divide dough in half. Form each dough half into ball and flatten into 1-inch-thick disk. Cut each disk into 6 wedges.

Transfer scones to prepared baking sheet, spacing 1 inch apart. Brush tops with remaining 1 tablespoon buttermilk and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until scones are golden brown on top and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

Makes 12 servings.

Note: I halved the recipe, and used 1.5 cup of all purpose flour+ 2 tsp baking powder + approximately 1/2tsp baking soda + 1/4tsp salt in place of self-rising flour.Added 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and 1 tbsp orange peel in the second attempt.

1 comment:

Kitchen Corner said...

Finally I found someone who is loving scones as much as myself. My family doesn't like scones but I really crazy about it. It's nice to have someone enjoying the same food as me. I normally use skim milk if I couldn't get buttermilk. It works well too. But, surely buttermilk will always give better texture.

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