Even since I learned how to make scones last year, I always keep an extra batch of scone dough in the freezer. It's something handy to have, especially for Saturday morning when we don't feel like eating pancakes (our weekend breakfast ritual).All we have to do, is simply to heat the oven to 425F and transfer the scone dough from freezer straight to the oven. It's our sort of "fast food".
This recipe which I adopted from Bon Appetit made the scones baking process even faster and simpler than my favorite standby recipe. I like to make a batch of the dough and bake it fresh whenever the scone craving hits.
While scone isn't exactly the hardest pastry to make, please allow me to share with you my experience in making scones, on what works for me, for the benefit of others who haven't chartered into the scones territory. Yes friends,I am talking about you!
Oh, one more good news to get you started: you don't need a mixer or even a food processor to make scones! All you need is a mixer bowl and a pastry cutter. IF you are not willing to invest $3 for that, you can use 2 forks to stand in for the cutter too.
Here goes my very rough guide of scone making:
Start with everything COLD. You want to be able to cut the butter into the flour, to the size of coarsemeal.So that when they bake, all the butter will melt and form multiple pockets in the scones, and give them the flaky texture.
Handle the dough with TLC and as little as possible. Obviously you want your scones to be tender and crumbly and not rock-like. So, minimum handling helps to do just that.
Freeze the dough for at least half an hour before baking. Remember the dough is handled minimally? It will tend to crumble and fall apart if you attempt to bake it immediately. What works for me, is to freezer the dough after I formed it into a circle. After it firms up, I will simply cut them into equal parts of triangle. Of course you can cut it with round cookie cutter, but I am too lazy to wash one more item.
In this batch of scones, I used dried cranberries,raspberries chocolate chips and lemon zest. The original recipe used meyer lemon zest and dried blueberries. I figured this recipe is so flexible that you can use any citrus zests and other dried fruits with great result. If dried fruit is not your cup of tea, replace it with chocolate chips. A trick which works for the finicky eater in my household.
Because this recipe makes a lot of scones for just the two of us, I always halve the recipe.
Lemon and Dried Cranberries Scones with Raspberry Chocolate Chips
adapted from Dec 2006 Bon Appetit
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 cup dried cranberries
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk
1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated lemon peel
1/2 cup raspberry chocolate chips ( or semisweet/bittersweet chocolate chips)
Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk self-rising flour and 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl. Using pastry cutter or 2 forks (or use your fingers) to cut the chilled butter until pieces are size of small peas. Add dried cranberries and raspbeey chocolate chips 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. Freeze the dough for at least half and hour or up to a month.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425F and like baking sheet with parchment paper. Take the dough out from freezer and 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: Before I succumbed to the temptation of buying self rising flour, (which I don't use very often other than making these scones) I used all purpose flour to make half of the recipe. In place of 1.5 cups of self-rising flour,I used 1.5 cup of all purpose flour+ 2 tsp baking powder + approximately 1/2tsp baking soda + 1/4tsp salt.