When is a scone not just a scone?
I might not have mentioned this here before, but I am currently in the process of opening a crêperie (Parisian-style, not the béchamel-soaked-retro-American style) . A few months ago, while I began to contemplate leaving real estate for work that wouldn’t eat my soul from the inside out, I sat down with a friend who owned and operated my favorite coffee house.
I was hoping to get some advice about starting up a food venture, but I emerged from the conversation with a companion in an expansion venture. It turned out that he was adding square footage, and was struggling to come up with food offerings. Ever since I lived in Paris and bought my first crepe pans I’ve been unable to understand why these wonderful foodstuffs weren’t more broadly available in the U.S.. The crêperie concept also had the additional benefit of being operable out of the very limited kitchen space we would have available to us.
The build-out is taking a lot longer than we initially expected, but then again, I expect everything to happen immediately and with no delays, so it is possible that I had unrealistic expectations. In the meanwhile, we have this beautiful pastry case to fill. The owner has been ordering wholesale from a local bakery, but recently we’ve been exploring the possibility of doing our own baking. That means that I have begun developing and testing recipes, and boy is it fun. I’m also becoming wildly popular, because I am foisting off large quantities of baked goods on everyone in sight.
These are the scones that I baked this week. I think the fact that I will one day get to sell them to people for money made them especially good. If you aren’t going to start charging your family for them they might be significantly less delicious, but you’ll have to let me know.
The buttermilk scones are in good shape, but the gingerbread scones are still a bit dry and cakey for my taste. (Although only one other person who has eaten them agreed with me, and even he didn’t stop eating it. My husband likes the texture better, so it may be a personal taste issue.) These recipes were both have at their core recipes from Epicurious, but they have undergone substantial tweaking (perhaps they are all tweaked out?).
DRIED CHERRY-ALMOND BUTTERMILK SCONES
1/2 cup buttermilk plus some for brushing the scones
1 large egg
¼ cup loosely packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ tsp pure almond extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (not self-rising)
1 tablespoon double-acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1/2 cup dried sour cherries
½ cup sliced toasted almonds, skin on
granulated sugar for sprinkling
In a bowl whisk together 1/2 cup of the buttermilk, the egg, the brown sugar, and the vanilla until the mixture is combined well. In another bowl stir together the flour, the baking powder, the baking soda, and the salt and blend in the butter using a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the cherries and the buttermilk mixture with a fork until the mixture just forms a sticky but manageable dough. Knead the dough gently for 30 seconds on a lightly floured surface, pat it into a 3/4-inch-thick round, and cut it into 8 wedges. On an ungreased baking sheet brush the wedges with the remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk and sprinkle them with the granulated sugar. Bake the scones in the middle of a preheated 400°F. oven for 15 to 18 minutes, or until they are golden.
Makes 8 scones.
Adapted from Gourmet
2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
8 tablespoons (1 stick) chilled butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup butter milk
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
¼ cup unsulfured molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease baking sheet. Blend first 6 ingredients in large mixing bowl. Add butter combine with a pastry cutter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Beat milk, egg, molasses and vanilla to blend in a small bowl. Add to flour mixture and raisins; stir gently until dough forms. Gather dough into ball. On lightly floured surface, press dough into 1-inch-thick round. Cut round into 8 wedges. Place on prepared baking sheet.
Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 15-19 minutes.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
adapted from Bon Appétit
Heidi Dalzell: Bensalem, Pennsylvania