Friday, June 25, 2010

Cravin' Some Craisin Scones

When the buttermilk in the fridge is nearing its expiration date, it's time to make scones. 

I stumbled upon this recipe a few months ago and the family really liked it.  I throw in craisins instead of raisins. You could probably use any dried fruit and get the same satisfying results.  Many scone recipes contain eggs and cream, but I was searching for one that was less indulgent.

Scones and biscuits are simple once you get a feel for the dough.  The trick, which I learned through painful trial and error (loathing alert!), is not overworking the dough, handling it gently. 

When I lived in Georgia, I asked my sweet neighbor Angela, an outstanding cook in a neighborhood full of good cooks, for some biscuit advice.  She said her mother could whip up a batch of biscuits in minutes and all she used was the recipe on the Martha White Flour bag. Well, boy howdy (as they say in the South), that's what I did and it was the first batch of biscuits I ever made that couldn't be used as hockey pucks.  Her other useful tip was to pat the dough with your hands instead of rolling it out.  I apply that same advice to scones.  Angela, if you ever read this, thanks. 

Hot Raisin Scones
(from Southern Living Christmas Cookbook)

2 C all-purpose flour
2 T baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 T sugar
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 C cold butter or margarine (I use unsalted butter)
1/2 C raisins (craisins, dried cranberries or other dried fruit; I use a bit more)
3/4 C buttermilk

Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl.  Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly, using a pastry blender.  Add raisins, tossing lightly.  Add buttermilk, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly 6 times.  Divide dough in half.  Shape each portion into a 7-inch circle on an ungreased baking sheet; cut each circle into six wedges. 

Bake at 425 degrees 10-15 minutes.  In my oven, they are golden, with a slight brown tinge, at 12 minutes.  Cool on wire racks.  Scones are best when eaten fresh, but these are fine the next day if zapped in the microwave for a few seconds.  From start to finish, you will be enjoying these scones within 25 minutes.

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