Scones (Daring Baker Challenge Jan 2012)

Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!

I really enjoyed the simplicity of this month’s challenge, perfect remedy from all the complicated cooking I’ve been up to in the lead up to Christmas and New Year.  I’ve made scones before but with little success – flat, heavy, dry and sappy from too much bicarbonate of soda. One thing that I learnt from this challenge is that cows milk is mandatory for a good rise – my soya milk scones came out flat & solid. Fortunately my boyfriend drinks cows milk so I used that instead. I only used 1 tsp of baking soda in my scones as 2tsp was too overpowering.  I also have to admit I’m a bit lazy when it comes to sifting flour (possibly as I’m a speed-baker on a multi-tasking mission) But for this challenge I sifted my flour – what a difference it made!

My scones:

Duck-fat and zaatar scone – I used left over fat from Christmas dinner instead of the butter. This resulted in an extremely crumbly scone with flavours of rosemary, orange & duck. The zaatar added an extra herby-ness to these scones.

Cinnamon hearts – these rose amazingly! I used a combination of grated butter & duck fat, all lovingly patted together into these tasty scones.

Olive scones – I added chopped black olives, scones served with melted mozzarella and tomato, a lovely accompaniment to a hearty bowl of soup.

Gooseberry scones – I added a tablespoon of Eswatini gooseberry jam – fair trade jam made in Swaziland. The dough was very wet so I made one large scone.

Blueberry cinnamon scone – fresh blueberries were added to this mix, which burst in the oven, yum!

I wondered what would happen if I used milky tea and coffee in place of the milk.

Earl-grey date scones – soaked the dates in the tea for a few hours before incorporating into the scone mix. The scones were lightly fragranced with bergamot aromas. Served with peanut butter & dark tahini.

Lapsang seed scones – this was subtly robust & smoky, added texture of seeds worked well. Served with cream cheese & gooseberry jam

Coffee mocha scone with pecans – this was very nice, especially served with fair-trade chocolate spread & mulberry jam, absolutely delicious!

Scones straight out of the oven

Scones

For tips & science behind making the perfect scone, please visit Audax’s Webite

Recipe Source: The challenge scone (biscuit) recipe has been especially formulated by Audax Artifex after a large amount of research and experimentation. It is designed to help you master the techniques involved in making scones (biscuits) exactly the way you like them.

Preparation time: Scones: Preparation time less than 10 minutes. Baking time about 10 minutes.

Equipment required:
Large mixing bowl
Baking dish
Measuring cups and spoons (optional)
Flour Sifter (optional)
Board (optional)
Scone (biscuit) cutter (optional) or knife (optional)
Dough scraper (optional)
Spatula (optional)
Weighing scale (optional)
Cooling rack (optional)
Pastry brush (optional)

Basic Scones (a.k.a. Basic Biscuits)
Servings: about eight 2-inch (5 cm) scones or five 3-inch (7½ cm) scones
Recipe can be doubled

Ingredients:
1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm/5 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (10 gm) (⅓ oz) fresh baking powder
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) salt
2 tablespoons (30 gm/1 oz) frozen grated butter (or a combination of lard and butter)
approximately ½ cup (120 ml) cold milk
optional 1 tablespoon milk, for glazing the tops of the scones

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to very hot 475°F/240°C/gas mark 9.
2. Triple sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. (If your room temperature is very hot refrigerate the sifted ingredients until cold.)
3. Rub the frozen grated butter (or combination of fats) into the dry ingredients until it resembles very coarse bread crumbs with some pea-sized pieces if you want flaky scones or until it resembles coarse beach sand if you want tender scones.
4. Add nearly all of the liquid at once into the rubbed-in flour/fat mixture and mix until it just forms a sticky dough (add the remaining liquid if needed). The wetter the dough the lighter the scones (biscuits) will be!
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top of the dough. To achieve an even homogeneous crumb to your scones knead very gently about 4 or 5 times (do not press too firmly) the dough until it is smooth. To achieve a layered effect in your scones knead very gently once (do not press too firmly) then fold and turn the kneaded dough about 3 or 4 times until the dough has formed a smooth texture. (Use a floured plastic scraper to help you knead and/or fold and turn the dough if you wish.)
6. Pat or roll out the dough into a 6 inch by 4 inch rectangle by about ¾ inch thick (15¼ cm by 10 cm by 2 cm thick). Using a well-floured 2-inch (5 cm) scone cutter (biscuit cutter), stamp out without twisting six 2-inch (5 cm) rounds, gently reform the scraps into another ¾ inch (2 cm) layer and cut two more scones (these two scones will not raise as well as the others since the extra handling will slightly toughen the dough). Or use a well-floured sharp knife to form squares or wedges as you desire.
7. Place the rounds just touching on a baking dish if you wish to have soft-sided scones or place the rounds spaced widely apart on the baking dish if you wish to have crisp-sided scones. Glaze the tops with milk if you want a golden colour on your scones or lightly flour if you want a more traditional look to your scones.
8. Bake in the preheated very hot oven for about 10 minutes (check at 8 minutes since home ovens at these high temperatures are very unreliable) until the scones are well risen and are lightly coloured on the tops. The scones are ready when the sides are set.
9. Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process, serve while still warm.

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3 responses to “Scones (Daring Baker Challenge Jan 2012)

  1. I’ve been in scone heaven recently. Scone after scone has been been placed in front of me, in myriad colors, forms and flavors, for my enjoyment. I’m glad that my preference for cows milk has helped the baker achieve perfection. Special mention should go to the coffee mocha scone with pecans and the olive scones. Actually they were all excellent and I’m looking forward to more in the near future!

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