Monday, May 10, 2010

Scones of my dreams...

I dreamed about making scones the other night. In the moments before I woke up, I have vivid memory of dreaming about cutting butter into cubes, re-wrapping it, and storing it in the freezer until I was ready for it. In the dream, the butter was being cut for scones--what else?

Because yesterday was Mother's Day, and I had not yet gotten my mother a gift, I interpreted the dream to mean I should make my mother scones. And so I did.

She was gifted with two varieties, both adapted from Nick Malgieri's The Modern Baker, and excellent, excellent baking book (I can't say that about just any book). I made two batches of scones out of one recipe. See below.

The key for scones, in my experience, is to *really, really* not handle them too much so that the butter stays relatively solid, the ingredients mixed until *just* incorporated and no more, until baked. This truly makes all the difference. These scones have the penultimate texture and taste, and I cannot decide which I like more. Try them for yourself!

1 1/2 c flour
1/2 T baking powder
2 T sugar
pinch salt
1/2 t ginger powder
3 T butter, cut into 9 cubes and kept very cold until use
1/2 c crystallized ginger, minced
1/3 c milk
1 egg

Topping: mix 1 T egg white with blanched, slivered almonds, 3 T sugar, 1 T cinnamon.
To make cranberry orange scones instead, halve the amount of ginger powder, and add cranberries instead of crystallized ginger. Add zest of 1 orange to milk mixture.
Mix flour, bp, sugar, salt, ginger in food processor. Add butter. Pulse until mixed, but still heterogeneous mixture. Add ginger. Pulse a couple of times. Beat milk and egg in bowl. Add to food processor. Pulse literally 3 or 4 times, until dough is wet in most spots. DO NOT OVERMIX!!!
Dump dough out onto floured board.
Fold a few times, to mix a bit more. DO NOT OVERHANDLE!! Shape dough into 6-8" circle. With benchscraper or knife, cut into 8 wedges. Top with almond/sugar. Place on silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake on 400 for 14-15 minutes.

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