Thursday, February 11, 2010


The ideal scone should be crisp outside and flaky inside; it should not be cake-like in texture. Scones are made from a few simple, basic ingredients, but it’s the way those ingredients are worked together that separates the ordinary from the exceptional scone.  The key to flaky scones is to mix the dough as little as possible, keeping the butter in large chunks.  Using cold butter helps to keep it from blending too much with the flour, thus allowing it to melt and bubble its way through the dough once put into a hot oven.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/2 cup dried currants (optional)*
3 oz. (6 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
For finishing:
small bowl of extra cream to brush on before baking
small bowl of sugar to sprinkle on before baking

* a note about currants:
In class today, we discussed currants.  Many children were not yet familiar with them.  They are the traditional scone filling, but we talked about other possibilities such as dried cherries, chocolate chips, craisins.  The currants you will find in the store are actually dried "Black Corinth" grapes, smaller than raisins, and NOT the currants which are the berry of bushes right here in Washington.

To make the scones:
Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Line a heavy baking sheet with parchment. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the currants, if using, tossing until evenly distributed and coated with flour.

Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two table knives until the largest pieces of butter are about the size of peas.

In a small bowl, stir the cream and egg yolks just to blend. Add this all at once to the flour mixture.

 Stir with a fork to begin combining the wet and dry ingredients and then use your hands to gently knead the mixture together until all the dry ingredients are absorbed into the dough and it can be gathered into a moist, shaggy ball.

Don’t overknead: This dough is sticky but benefits from minimal handling. Set the rough ball in the center of the prepared baking sheet and use lightly floured fingers to gently pat the dough into a disk about 1 inch thick and 7 inches in diameter. Do not worry if the dough doesn't look smooth- a rough, lumpy dough means tender, flaky scones.  Don’t be tempted to make the round any flatter.

With a sharp knife or a pastry scraper, cut the round into eight wedges; separate the wedges. Triangles are the traditional shape for scones, but you can shape the dough any way you please.  Use a heart-shaped biscuit cutter to make your valentine scones!

Brush the scones with the extra cream and sprinkle with the sugar.

 Bake until the scones are deep golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of a wedge comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes. Slide the parchment onto a rack and let the scones cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

1 comment:

  1. Thank-you for letting us make these... they were sooo good!!! and they were very flakey!!! so thank-you!