Traverse City Record-Eagle

August 22, 2013

Debunking the scone, easy-peasy

BY CHERYL GROSS Special to the Record-Eagle
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — A scone is a special thing. You can find them in bakery displays and in coffee shops. Buy one to treat yourself with a cup of coffee or tea. We may even think of scones in the same way we think of dainty finger sandwiches. But wait. Let us debunk that idea. A scone is a dressed-up biscuit, really.

Unlike a yeast dough, they are quick and easy to make.

Beginning with the base, you can decide whether to make it sweet or savory. You may decided to knead or not. Getting the hang of making a basic scone recipe is one of those beginner baking skills everyone should have. With practice and experimentation you can have fresh hot scones for breakfast, lunch or dinner and wow your guests.

Basic scone

2 c. Flour, all-purpose

1 T. Baking Powder

2 t. Sugar

¼ t. Salt

3 T. Butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

3/4 c. Buttermilk

1 Egg (can use two egg whites)

Measure dry ingredients precisely. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut butter into flour with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Incorporate buttermilk and egg with a whisk in a separate bowl. Insert scone additions at this time. Add liquids to flour mixture and fold together until just moist.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead gently a few times adding flour as needed. Pat into about an eight-inch round on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Score the round by cutting half way through the depth into the final desired shapes. Eight triangles for larger servings or 12 “squares” for smaller servings.

Bake in a 400° oven for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.

That is it. The base of the basic, easy scone. No personality (or taste), however. Next, decide what kind of scone you wish it to become.

Savory scones can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Add a fruit at breakfast or a green salad for lunch or a soup and salad for dinner.

Ham and cheese scone

1/8 t. ground Cayenne pepper to the dry ingredients

3/4 c. Ham, finely chopped, and 3/4 c. good, sharp cheddar cheese, grated, to the flour-butter mixture before the liquids. Stir to separate the ham and cheese and coat with flour. Add liquids and finish.

Sausage and onion scone

3/4 c. cooked, loose sweet Italian, breakfast or soy sausages and 3/4 c. diced caramelized onion to the flour and butter mixture before the liquids. Stir to separate the sausage and onion and coat with flour. Add liquids and finish.

Cheese and onion scone:

3/4 c. shredded swiss cheese and 3/4 c. diced caramelized onion to flour-butter mixture before the liquids. Stir to separate the cheese and onion and coat with flour. Add liquids and finish.

Sweet scones are the treat we have with coffee or tea. They make a lovely side to an egg dish for breakfast. Add a scoop of vanilla ice ream and fresh berries for dessert. To make the basic scone recipe sweet, increase the sugar in the basic recipe to 1/3 c.

Michigan cherry scone:

3/4 c. dried Michigan tart cherries, (you may wish to chop the cherries to ensure one in every bite). and 1/2 C chopped Walnuts or sliced Almonds to to flour-butter mixture before the liquids. Stir to separate the cherries and nuts and coat with flour. Add liquids and finish. Sprinkle turbino sugar crystals on the top of the scone before baking.

Blueberry and currant scone

1/2 c. dried blueberries and 1/2 c. dried currants to flour and butter mixture before liquids. Stir to separate the fruits and coat with flour. Add liquids and finish. Sprinkle turbino sugar crystals on the top of the scone before baking.

Dropped scones

Skip kneading and drop dough onto baking sheet. Reduce baking time to 15-20 minutes, depending upon size of each scone.