SCINTILLATING SCONES by Jen Krom
yield: 24 scones (don’t worry, you can freeze the raw dough!)
(This recipe is easy. I am simply wordy. And would rather over-describe than leave you scratching your head in confusion.)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter
4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream
1 cup add-ins (currants, chopped candied ginger, nuts, chocolate chips, dried cherries, etc.)
* Prep a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil, and set aside.
* Prep an area to roll out the scone dough. It will start out as both crumbly and sticky, and then turn into beautiful dough.
* If you plan to bake some scones immediately, preheat your oven to 400 F.
* In a medium bowl, quickly whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside.
* In a food processor, scoop roughly 2 cups of your dry mixture into the bowl, add 1 stick of butter (cut into chunks) and pulse a few times until the average piece of butter is now about the size of a pea.
(Don’t stress over this. If you pulse too long, your next batch of butter/flour can compensate for it. Or if you find a huge chunk of butter stuck under the blade, simply pick it out and add it to the next batch of whirring goodness. Also, if you do not have a food processor, a simple pastry cutter or two knives work just as well, only much slower.)
* Dump your butter/flour mixture into a large mixing bowl, checking for any huge lumps of butter. Repeat with the remaining 2 cups of dries and one stick of butter, adding in any butter chunks you found previously.
* When all of your flour and butter is pulsed and in the mixing bowl, stir in whatever add-ins tickle your fancy, and then finally add the heavy cream all at once.
* Stir until combined. You might need a big wooden spoon for this. Be forewarned that you will NOT be able to mix everything together smoothly with just a spoon. You will have lots of dry bits on the bottom and slimy bits stuck to the spoon. If it looks horrible at this point, you have done it correctly!
* Scrape it all out onto a floured work surface and be prepared to get your hands dirty. Now comes the fun part!
* Using your hands, begin to squeeze handfuls of the dough together until it forms one cohesive lump. At this point, you will still have stray dry bits that will stubbornly refuse to join in, kind of like your kids refusing to eat veggies. It will all turn out okay in the end, just like with kids and veggies.
* Shape your dough into a rough rectangle, about the size of a sheet of paper. Then fold the dough onto itself in thirds, EXACTLY as if you were folding a letter. (This step right here is where the magic takes place.) Once again, the dough will not exactly behave, so channel your inner Mrs, Fitz and show that dough who is boss! I have found that using a dough blade or spatula helps me to pick up the dough for folding.
* Using the palms of your hand, shape your dough back into the size and shape of letter paper. I do not use a rolling pin because the dough is so stiff, but feel free to experiment if you have bad wrists.
* Do the letter-folding technique THREE MORE TIMES. This transforms those pea-sized butter chunks into super-thin smears of butter that bake up into flaky layers. Think puff pastry or pie dough. Yummmmm!
* Shape the dough back into a rectangle, about 1 inch to 1.5 inches tall. Cut into 12 squares, then slice each square on the diagonal to make 24 triangles.
* Transfer over to your prepared sheet pan and place as-is in the freezer. When frozen solid, transfer to a freezer bag.
* If baking immediately, one option is to brush with egg wash and then sprinkle raw sugar on top. I rarely bother with that, but it can certainly add a nice touch. Regardless, place them on a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake at 400 F for about 15 minutes. The edges will be nicely golden brown, the tops will feel firm to the touch, and you will smell them before you open the oven door.
* If baking frozen dough, do NOT thaw them! Place frozen scones onto parchment-lined pans and bake the same as above, only adding about 5 extra minutes of cooking time.
Our family favorites, served on Christmas morning, include chopped candied ginger (for me and hubby), and M&M (for the Kromlets). Cool factoid about the M&M scones: the heavy cream dissolves some of the candy coating, so you get a really cool marbled dough!
Let me know when you make some!