Tuesday, March 16, 2010

St. Patrick's day and comforting scones...

Tomorrow is St. Patrick's day and it got me thinking about those warm and cozy quick breads that are made by the Scots and Irish. Scones and Irish soda breads are great comfort foods on cold days... or heck, warm days too! 
I am thinking that tonight as my class finishes their chocolate, caramel bombe, I will wander off in a totally different direction and make my fab Irish soda bread with oats, whole wheat flour and raisins... they called that the spotted dog! 
But in the meantime I thought I would give to you my favorite scone recipe that I developed back in the 80's for my little bakery. They are rich and creamy and the flavor bits in them can be changed to suit your tastes! The photo has them with crispy bacon and chives. But the original recipe was a sweet lemon currant scone. A bit more traditional, however I have made them with cheese or blueberries, or dried fruits such as apricot or cherries. Have fun with them and have sit down relax, have a cuppacoffee or a nice tea and let your memory float back to simpler times when we didn't have to constantly run off to somewhere to do something... so important that we forget to smell the roses or in this case taste the scones!  

Chef Stephany’s scone recipe

3 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 ½ Tbl. Baking powder
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt

4 oz. (one stick) unsalted butter cold
4 oz. (1/2 package) thick style cream cheese

3 eggs
2 Tablespoons buttermilk or heavy cream

1 cup dried currants
zest from one lemon

Place the first four ingredients in a mixing bowl.
Cut the butter and cream cheese into pieces and place in the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients.
Rub the butter/cream cheese into the dry ingredients using either the paddle on a stand mixer or a pastry cutter by hand. If you are using a food processor then pulse 5 or 6 times until you see chunks of butter and cream cheese remaining.
Do not over mix at this point leave larger chunks of the butter/cream cheese in the mix. You should have pieces the size of grapes left in the flour mix.
Then mix together the eggs and buttermilk or cream in a separate container.
Pour it into the dry butter mix and lightly toss by hand until the dough begins to come together but is still dry. Add the zest and currants (or whatever you like!)  and continue to toss together.
At this point you should have a dry mix that needs a bit more kneading. So dump your mix onto a lightly dusted table and pull it together by hand giving folds as you are kneading. This should take only three or four folds and now you have a dough that can be formed into a round and cut into triangles or use a biscuit cutter to cut out your scones.
Brush with cream and bake in a hot over 425°F for about 15-18 minutes depending on the sizes you have cut.
You should get about 16 -18 scones…unless you like small ones…then more.


Dea Evans said...
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Vanilla Queen said...

The scones look great. I'd be willing to try YOUR soda bread given I know your baking skills. In the 1960s I lived down the street from an Irish family who were great fun and always cooking up something. She served me some soda bread that would have broken my foot If I'd dropped it. Since then it's something I'd eat if that's the ONLY food available. ;)