Thursday, April 23, 2015

Cream Scones

What is the difference between biscuits and scones? I really don't know the official answer. But in my mind, biscuits are more buttery (re: fatty), flaky, and often made with buttermilk whereas scones are a bit lighter, more cake-like, and are usually made with double cream. Biscuits also tend to be a savory bread whilst scones can go either savory or sweet. Honestly, both are made with incredibly similar ingredients and I think the major difference is that when you're enjoying afternoon tea in the UK, you will never be served biscuits (unless you're talking about English biscuits, i.e. cookies).

There's also some debate on how the word "scone" is pronounced. In the States, everyone pretty much says it so it rhymes with "own" but across the pond, some people say it so it rhymes with "gone." Potato, po-tah-to, right?
Ingredients [yields 6 to 8 scones]:
1¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, cold
⅓ cup cream
+ cream
+ dried currants (or other dried fruit or mix-ins, e.g. chocolate chips)

One thing to note: I wanted to eat one batch of scones and then share one batch so I made a double batch. So, the quantities in the ingredients list above have been doubled in the photos below.

Start by combining flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cream of tartar, and salt in a big bowl.
Cube up some cold butter and cut into the flour using a pastry cutter or a fork.
Stop when the mixture resembles a coarse sand with small pebbles of butter.
Drizzle in the cream, stirring the entire time to evenly distribute the liquid.
Empty the contents of the bowl onto a working surface and gently press the dough together. The dough should feel pretty moist and slightly sticky but not so wet that it's difficult to work with.
Flour the board and dough and roll out to 1-inch thick and then use a 1½ to 2 inch round to cut out the scones. Use a fluted cutter, if you have one.
Place the scones on a parchment-lined sheet pan and brush the tops with cream. Bake at 350F for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the scones are golden brown.

Serve the scones with clotted cream and jam. They're deliciously fluffy and light and enjoyably buttery without being heavy. And, when it's been generously spread with clotted cream and jam, it'll make you feel like you're a true Brit.

I brought some of these to work and I received enough praise that I feel like I can really sell them to you. One person in particular told me that she expected the scones to be dry and sawdusty, just based on how they looked, but was pleasantly surprised to find that they were actually pretty moist. Obviously, these aren't fluffy little cakes; they're meant to be somewhat denser and buttery, but the point is that they aren't going to turn your mouth into a parched desert. The scones are delicious, that's all there is to it.
Here's the recipe page:

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