Happy Sunday Bread Heads! This weeks post we will be finishing the recipes what went into massive “new baby” basket for our friends. While I have written about scones before there are two more kinds that were a special request form the new mommy (though this being her third child she is hardly new at it, but that is how she talks).
Many scones has fruit but our friend K. is from Florida and really likes tropical fruit. So I doctored up an old cornmeal scone recipe and found another in the Zuni Café Cookbook by the proprietor of that fabulous restaurant Judy Rodgers. So this week you get both – Cornmeal Cherry Scones and Orange Cranberry Scones.
Cornmeal Cherry Scones
When I was making these I had a lemon hanging around the house, so I added some lemon zest, it really perked up the flavor and gave the kitchen a lovely lemony smell as they baked.
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal (I like to use stone ground cornmeal but any kind will do)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon backing powder (if you are baking at an altitude above 5000 feet, reduce this by half)
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup dried sour cherry’s
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (not vanilla flavor for the love of the FSM!)
1 baking sheet lined with parchment paper
We’ve made scones before, but all the caveats apply, take your time, do it by hand and do it in the morning when it is cooler so the butter does not melt before it is worked into the flour.
Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees and set the racks so you have one in the middle of the oven.
In a large bowl combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut your butter in 10 roughly even pieces and rub into the dry ingredients. Take your time, this will take about 5 minutes or so, don’t rush, just keep gently rubbing the flour onto the pieces of butter. When you are finished the whole thing will look like cornmeal (I know there is cornmeal in it but you will be able to tell the by the way the is no longer so fine you can’t tell the grains apart). Add the cherry’s and mix with your hands.
Whisk together the egg, milk zest and vanilla. Pour over the flour/butter mixture and mix with a fork until it forms a smooth dough. As will all scones there is just enough liquid to hold it together, you might have to uses your hands to get the last of the flour incorporated. Just gently knead the dough in the bowl, turning to bring a more moist side in contact with any flour in the bottom of the bowl.
Divide the dough into 3 even pieces and with your palms from then into about a 5 inch disc. With a sharp knife cut each disc into 4 pieces and position the pieces on your baking sheet.
Slip into the oven for 10 -15 minutes (mine took 14 minutes this time) or until they are firm but not dry. You do not want these to color too deeply so the first time check every minute or two after the first 10 minutes for doneness after all every oven varies somewhat.
Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. These freeze quite well, so if you don’t want to eat them all the same day, just put them in a plastic zip top bag and freeze for up to three months. To revive them, take them out of the freezer and let thaw in a single layer under some plastic wrap. Then heat in a 350 degree oven for about five minutes. They will be as good as the day they were baked.
Orange Cranberry Scones
I was given the Zuni Café Cookbook on my fortieth birthday. I have been slowly working my way through it for the last three years but I had not cracked the section on desserts and pastries until this recipe. I am now doomed, there is a ton of fabulous sweet stuff to be made, but we will just do the scones here.
This recipe calls for currents, but I hate currents, so I substituted dried cranberries instead. They give a less sweet taste than the currents would have, but I think they go great with the subtle orange flavor.
3 cups all purpose flour
½ cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder (again and always if you are above 5,000 feet, cut this in half)
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter
½ cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 large egg
½ cup whole milk
2 Baking sheets lined with parchment paper
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Cut the butter into 15 pieces and rub with the flour until the whole think looks like coarse cornmeal. This recipe has a lot more butter than the other scones I have given you, but the same rules apply, just keep going until it is all evenly distributed.
Whisk the egg and milk together and pour over the flour/butter mixture. Using a wooden spoon, then your hands, work the flour and the liquid together until it is all one mass.
Divide into two roughly even pieces and shape into balls. Pat each one into a 7 inch disc and using a sharp knife cut into six pieces (cut it in half then cut an X with the lines of the X crossing at the middle of the first cut).
Place the pieces on the two baking sheets and slip into the hot oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until firm but not dry. If your oven is like mine be sure to move the baking sheet on the lower rack to the top after about 15 minutes. This will assure that they are all the same level of doneness.
Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for about five minutes before serving. The same steps apply for freezing and reviving these scones as the ones above.
So there we are, a less sweet and more fruity variation on making scones. I highly encourage everyone to make their own scones, it takes an hour or so and there is very little the world as satisfying as a freshly baked scone and a mug of tea.
Next week we’ll be going back to bread, with Italian Batter bread! Get your forearms warmed up this bread is beaten for 25 minutes!
The flour is yours.