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Scones: Sweet, Savory, Delicious

January 24, 2019

By Peter McDermott

Blueberry Scones. NICOLE FRANTZ/DREAMTIME

 

Recipes / By Margaret M. Johnson

Believed to have originated in Scotland in the early 1500s, scones were originally triangular in shape and cooked on a griddle. They remain one of the most popular of all baked goods, and today they come in different shapes and sizes, can be sweet or savory, and are even called by other names: soda farls, tattie scones, and griddle scones to name a few. They’re also pronounced differently, depending on where you’re eating them: some prefer a pronunciation that rhymes with “cone,” while others favor one that rhymes with “gone.” Regardless of size, shape, flavor or how you order one, they’re an essential part of afternoon tea, a cream tea, or with a cuppa at any time — butter, jam, clotted cream and lemon curd are optional!

BLUEBERRY SCONES

MAKES 16 SCONES

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In this recipe, the scones are baked in the traditional triangular shape in a cast iron scone pan with fresh blueberries added for a fresh, modern taste.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 

1 1/2 cups cake flour 

1/2 cup sugar 

1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons lemon zest

9 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces

2 large eggs 

3/4 cups heavy cream

1/4 cup buttermilk

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 large egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk

Softened butter, for serving

1. Preheat oven 350° F. Spray a mini cast iron scone pan with cooking oil spray.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest. With two knives, a pastry cutter, or your fingers, cut or work in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, and buttermilk. Stir into flour mixture until combined; do not over mix. Fold in blueberries.

4. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Whisk together egg and milk and brush over each scone. Bake for 30 to 32 minutes, or until tops are golden. Serve spread with butter.

BALLYMALOE SCONES

MAKES 18 TO 20

This recipe comes from Darina Allen, legendary founder of Ballymaloe Cookery School in County Cork. She said, “When my mother made these for us as children, they were always tender and delicious — but adding a few golden raisins was as adventurous as we got. These days, we teach numerous twists on the original (variations follow).”

7 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
3 heaping teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar 

12 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
3 large eggs
2 cups milk
1 large egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk

Sugar, for topping

Butter and jam, for serving

1. Preheat oven to 475°F. In a large bowl, sift flour, salt and baking powder; stir in sugar. With two knives, a pastry cutter, or your fingers, cut or work in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Stir into flour mixture and mix to a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and shape into a round. Roll out to a 1-inch-thick round, and with a biscuit cutter, cut into rounds. Reroll scraps and repeat with remaining dough.

3. Transfer scones to an ungreased baking sheet. Whisk together egg and milk and brush over tops; sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until scones are golden. Serve spread with butter and jam.

Variations: After butter has been rubbed in, add these ingredients to basic mixture: 3/4 cup golden raisins; 3/4 cup Muscatel raisins and 1 tablespoon of chopped rosemary; 1 cup quartered candied or dried cherries; 1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger (or drained and chopped stem ginger); or 3/4 cup candied orange and lemon peel.

An Avoca Throw. MARGARET M. JOHNSON

 

AVOCA SCONES

MAKES 8 TO 12

Avoca is an Irish family-run business established in County Wicklow in 1723. The company spans one of the world’s oldest surviving manufacturing companies, originally known for its colorful, beautifully woven woolen blankets and throws. It’s now equally famous for its shops, food markets and cafés; these scones are always on offer.

8 cups self-rising flour
Pinch of baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup raisins (optional) 

1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk, plus more if needed
1 large egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk

Softened butter, for serving

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt; stir in sugar. With two knives, a pastry cutter, or your fingers, cut or work in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; add raisins, if using.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together egg, cream and enough milk to moisten. Mix to a soft dough.

4. With floured hands, form dough into a ball. Turn out onto a floured surface, and then roll to 1-inch-thick round. With a biscuit cutter, cut out rounds; transfer to prepared pan. Whisk together egg and milk and brush over tops. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until scones are golden. Serve spread with butter.

 

Thick Scones. MARGARET M. JOHNSON

 

OATMEAL-RAISIN SCONES

MAKES ABOUT 30

These scones are a bit less sweet than traditional one and are perfect with a bowl of soup or chowder.

1 1/2 cups flour

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

6 tablespoons sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 large egg, beaten

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup raisins

1 large egg yolk, for brushing tops

Softened butter, for serving

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

2. Combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a food processor. Pulse 3 to 4 times, or until oats are coarsely ground. Add butter and pulse 8 to 10 times, or until mixture resembles coarse meal; transfer to large bowl.

3. Add egg and buttermilk; stir to incorporate. Mix in raisins. Turn dough out onto floured surface. With floured hands, shape dough into an 8-inch round. With a biscuit cutter, cut out rounds. Gather scraps, reshape, and cut out more.

4. Transfer to prepared pan and brush tops with egg yolk. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until scones are golden. Serve spread with butter.

Margaret M. Johnson’s “Favorite Flavors of Ireland” is a “labor of love and tribute to her thirty years of travel there. It offers more than 100 best-loved recipes from her previous ten cookbooks and celebrates the special flavors of each Irish season: Spring/An t-Earrach, Summer/An Samhradh, Autum/An Fómhar, Winter/An Geimhreadh.” For ordering details, visit www.irishcook.com.

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