17-11: Scones

Scones have a lot of different methods of preparation, usually depending on varying geographical interpretations. There’s even different pronunciations of the word “scone”–some rhyme it with “tone”, while others rhyme it with “gone.”

Simply Delicious‘ take, 17-11: Scones, seems to most closely adhere to the British version of scones in that they make theirs into round cakes, score them, and then break them apart into triangle shapes after baking. The North American versions tend to be individually-sized, round, and more often than not closely resemble what we refer to as biscuits.

One of my first memorable experiences with scones were at an 18th birthday tea party I attended in the last few months of senior year of high school–we had just come back from a Spring Break trip to England & Ireland, and I came to the tea party prepared with white gloves and pinkies up. They had scones with clotted cream & jam, finger sandwiches, and lots of flowery, delicate pots of tea. ☕️

Wouldn’t have been my choice for an 18th birthday party (I spent a good portion of mine in my freshman dorm room hungover from the Halloween extravaganza the night before), but it was definitely unique.

Lots of suggestions for substitutions in the TIPS section–I went with the second, but ignored the rest. While I appreciate the concern for my health, a whole-wheat scone just doesn’t sound very appetizing to me. I considered the milk/buttermilk swap simply out of laziness (trying to save a trip to the store), but I think that the buttermilk makes a big difference, so I’ll push through and do it right.

I did utilize the egg-wash tip because it gives it that shiny, extra-golden touch to the outside, and I had some turbinado brown sugar that I sprinkled on top. The only other time I’ve attempted making scones were a vegan brown sugar version, similar to this recipe–they were good, but like most vegan things, it’s NOT the same as the real version.

Ingredients. There’s not a lot of them, so let’s talk for a minute about baking powder. In this recipe (and many others), the baking powder (which is baking soda with a few acids in it) replaces the yeast as your leavener–basically, it’s what poofs it during the baking process. Because we’re chemically leavening it instead of using yeast fermentation (much faster and predictable), it’s considered a “quick bread“.

“Double-acting” means that it has a slow-acting AND a fast-acting acid–it will start rising when it reacts with the wet ingredients (fast), and then keep rising in the oven while baking (slow).

Still being lazy, so I’m making the dough in my spaceship/food processor. Dig that blue light!

It’s just so much easier to cut butter in evenly with a food processor and blade. I’m all for authenticity, but it’s 2017 and we have appliances to do EVERYTHING now. If the robots are eventually coming for my job/house/dog/underwear, I might as well get some use out of them while I still have the upper hand.

Added in the buttermilk…looks somewhat NSFW.

When the dough sticks to the side of the bowl in one big blob, it’s usually ready.

Split the dough and roughly rounded/flattened the pieces. I used the old, grungy Silpat instead of greasing the sheet pan–parchment paper works OK as well if you don’t want to grease it.

Sliced the top (probably should use a knife, you’ll have to go deeper than you would with a lame), washed it with egg, and sprinkled the top with the brown sugar crystals.

As I mentioned, you need to go pretty deep with the cuts–it’ll still separate if you don’t go deep enough, but might not break into nice, pretty, even pieces. Don’t go too deep–you’ll mess up the effect if you go all the way through, and probably your Silpat too if you use one (a lesson I learned the hard way with another Silpat and another recipe).

After baking. I probably could have left it in a few more minutes to get it even darker, but I’m always afraid (especially with my INFERNO oven) that I’ll overdo it. You can see my scores aren’t that deep–I should have gone deeper, and not just scored it like normal bread.

They broke apart okay, but it could have been cleaner. I subsequently froze most of the pieces, and have been pulling them out two at a time for a breakfast or dessert treat. If I made them again, I’d score them deeper and maybe add some sort of fruit or herb to them–they’re good, but somewhat plain on their own.

Grade: A-