Sunday, August 8, 2010
Whole-wheat cherry scones
I don't have a whole lot of experience with baking. I live in one of those households where if I bake it, I'll probably be the only one eating it, and the easiest way to not eat a whole pan of brownies is to not make it in the first place.
However, I do like whipping up a batch of baked goods on Sunday for easy workday breakfasts. The easiest trick to pull out is my favorite muffin recipe, but even though I've experimented with dozens of different ingredients, sometimes you just get sick of muffins.
I stumbled upon the recipe for these scones a few months ago on Orangette and found the antidote to my muffin boredom. The original recipe calls for using diced dried apricots but I've found you can use any dried fruit you like - blueberries, mixed berries, cranberries and orange zest, and so on. They're definitely not as healthy as my muffins so I wouldn't make them every week, but they certainly are a nice tasty change every once in a while. They'd also make a lovely housewarming gift or addition to a brunch buffet.
A word of caution: these became a lot more difficult to make when the temperatures got into the 80's (and 90's and 100's, for those of us in Texas) because the butter gets too warm. I've found I need to stick the bowl back into the fridge to re-solidify before kneading or it turns into a sticky mess.
Also, we finally invested in a new camera so it's going to be considerably less cumbersome to blog meals - our poor ol' little point-and-shoot required rebooting about 8 times between shots. I'm obviously still figuring this one out, but so far so good I think! It's a Canon Rebel XS, any tips and tricks are welcome.
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (I've made it with regular whole wheat flour and it was fine, pastry flour is just ground finer)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp butter (we like salted), diced
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup dried cherries, diced
1/2 cup half and half
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and work it into the flour mixture using your fingertips until the butter lumps are nice and small (bakers always say "pea sized", but the lumps are never round, so how the hell are you supposed to compare them to peas?). Stir in the sugar and cherries. This is the point at which I've got to put it back in the fridge for an hour or so (I'm sure the freezer for a few minutes would work fine too), but I didn't have to back in March, so I think it all depends on the weather where you are.
Whisk together the egg and half and half with a fork and stir it into the flour mixture until generally moistened. Turn the shaggy mess out onto a board and knead and gather until it just comes together - no more than 5 or 6 good kneads, or it'll get tough. Pat the dough out into a circle, and cut into 8 wedges (I like using my dough scraper for this). Transfer the wedges to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and paint the tops with a little additional half and half, which will make them brown up beautifully.
Bake about 15 minutes, or until golden and delicious.