Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Were it not for Smitten Kitchen, I might be before you today recounting the epic journey it took to find the perfect recipe for light, tender scones. Luckily for us all, Deb already completed this "scone quest" and returned with a jewel of a recipe, generously shared on her blog. So let me simply tell you how I switched up the add-ins to suit my fancy and (hopefully) send you off to do the same.
This soon after Thanksgiving, I was predictably cranberried out (fruits are verbs too, didn't ya know?). What I was in the mood for was ginger. But this spicy sister wanted some company for these long cold nights... The sunny hues of dried apricots caught my eye at the store not long after. It had to be a sign...
And what a lovely pair these two made. Each bite of these scones contained wonderful little bursts of flavor, from the modest sweetness of the apricots to the bolder heat of the crystallized ginger. I actually craved even more fruit, so I've upped the amount in the recipe below. Despite using a little less butter than the original recipe, the texture remained so tender (must be all that cream...). These scones aren't very sweet, so they'd be lovely with a dollop of your favorite jam. Now I'd really love for you to share your favorite scone flavors with me. Won't you please?
Apricot Ginger Scones [Printable Recipe]
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook via Smitten Kitchen
Makes about 8 to 12 scones
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, preferably a low-protein brand such as Gold Medal or Pillsbury and not King Arthur
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2/3 cup moist dried apricots, chopped into about 8 pieces per apricot
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, roughly chopped
1 cup heavy cream
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees F.
Place flour, baking powder, sugar, ground ginger, and salt in large bowl or work bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Whisk together or pulse six times.
If making by hand: use two knives, a pastry blender or your fingertips and quickly cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few slightly larger butter lumps. Stir in apricots and crystallized ginger.
If using food processor: remove cover and distribute butter evenly over dry ingredients. Cover and pulse 12 times, each pulse lasting 1 second. Add apricots and crystallized ginger and pulse one more time. Transfer dough to large bowl.
Stir in heavy cream with a rubber spatula or fork until dough begins to form, about 30 seconds. Transfer dough and all dry, floury bits to countertop and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. Form scones by either a) pressing the dough into an 8-inch cake pan, then turning the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, cutting the dough into 8 wedges with either a knife or bench scraper (the book’s suggestion) or b) patting the dough onto a lightly floured work surface into a 3/4-inch thick circle, cutting pieces with a biscuit cutter, and pressing remaining scraps back into another piece (what Deb did) and cutting until dough has been used up. (Be warned if you use this latter method, the scones that are made from the remaining scraps will be much lumpier and less pretty, but taste fine.)
Place rounds or wedges on ungreased baking sheet. This step is optional, but freeze the cut-out scone dough in their baking pan for 8 to 12 minutes to help them hold their shape better AND to help them rise higher. Now bake until scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.