Thursday, April 19, 2012

ChezCindy: Reach for another Scone....

I was at the local grocery store and got drawn in to buying fresh strawberries in April.  Pleasantly surprised when I brought them home, they were actually quite good.  Not as sweet as summer, but good.  It is amazing the quality of produce we can enjoy when shipped from so far away.  After having strawberries and yogurt for a few days, I really wanted to make something more indulgent, like strawberry shortcake.  Which leads me back to my scone recipe. 

I have used scones for the base of my strawberry shortcakes for the last few years.  Lemon scones are a delicious contribution to balance the sweetness of the sugared berries, topped with fresh made whipped cream, lightly sweetened.  Adding the zest of one large lemon to the dry ingredients, and the juice of one half lemon to the wet ingredients will complete the basic scone recipe to make lemon scones. 

Basic Scones
 2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup flour for kneading
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream

To make lemon scones:  add the zest of one large lemon to the dry ingredients, and the juice of one half lemon to the wet ingredients. 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line 2 large sheet pans with parchment paper.
In the bowl for an electric mixer, add the 2 cups of flour, sugar (if using), baking powder and salt.  Gently combine.  Take the butter from the refrigerator, (you want the butter to be as cold as possible) dice into tiny peices-1/2 inch cubes.  Add to the flour mixture, mix at low speed until the butter is the size of small peas.  The key to a great scone is that the  butter will not be completely combined into the flour.  In a separate large measuring cup for liquids, measure out the cream.  Add the eggs, slightly mix the cream and eggs together.  With the mixer on low speed, add the cream-egg mixture to the flour.  Mix just until blended.  The dough will not be fully pulled together at this point.  Remove the mixing bowl from the mixer.  Add in your optional ingredients.  Using a wooden spoon or spatula, mix in the optional ingredients, just until somewhat incorporated.

Working on a clean counter surface or a work-board, sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of flour onto the surface.  Dump the scone dough directly onto the floured surface.  Using your hands, finish combining the add-in ingredients with the additional flour until well combined and the dough has come together, using a kneading technique.  You should still see bits of butter in the dough.  Shape the dough into a flat disc.  Flour a rolling pin to roll out the dough to a 1 inch thickness.  You may need to sprinkle more flour onto your work surface.  Using a biscuit cutter, cut out the scones, place onto the prepared sheet tray.  Collect the scraps, roll out the dough, cut more scones.  Brush the tops with an egg-wash (beaten egg and 1 tablespoon of water).  For the sweet scones, sprinkle the tops with sugar; savory-sprinkle with a bit more shredded cheese.
Bake in the hot oven for 20 minutes, rotating the pans half way through cooking time.  Remove from the oven, the tops should be slightly browned, slide the parchment paper off with the scones in place, directly onto your counter to cool.  I drizzle my sweet scones with a powdered sugar glaze.  Combine 1/2 cup powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon liquid - could be juice, milk or water.

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