Saturday, April 05, 2014

Cream and Current Scones (with variations)

Makes 8 regular wedge-shaped scones (or 16 mini wedge-shaped scones)

The easiest and most reliable approach to mixing the butter into the dry ingredients is to use a food processor fitted with a steel blade.  If you don't have a food processor, freeze the butter and use a box (cheese) grater; you can grate the frozen butter into the flour and achieve almost the same consistency quickly.


2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup currants (optional; can also substitute another dried or chopped frozen fruit; my personal favorite is golden raisins)
1 cup heavy cream, plus 1/4 cup


1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees.

2. In the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, place flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in large bowl and process for a few seconds.

3. Remove cover and distribute butter pieces evenly over dry ingredients. Cover and pulse 12 times, each pulse lasting 1 second. Add currants (or other fruit) and pulse one more time. Transfer dough to large bowl.

4. Stir in heavy cream with rubber spatula or fork until dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.

5. In the bowl, knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, slightly sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. If making regular wedge-shaped scones, press dough lightly into an 8" round cake pan (this will help ensure a perfectly round, evenly thick dough), using a pastry scraper, cut scones into 8 wedges.  Alternatively, if making mini wedge-shaped scones, cut dough in half and press one portion lightly into a 5" round dish (I use a 2 cup round pyrex storage container) and cut into 8 wedges; repeat with the remaining piece.

6.  Place wedges on a parchment-lined baking sheet. (Note: baking sheet can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 hours at this point).

7. Lightly brush tops of scones with remaining 1/4 cup cream.

8. 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.  (Resist the urge to eat the scones hot out of the oven. Letting them cool for at least 10 minutes firms them up and improves their texture)!

Optional:  Make a glaze with 2/3 cup powdered sugar and a few tablespoons whole milk; while hot, use a fork to lightly drizzle glaze over the scones (make sure there is a piece of parchment paper under the rack, which will catch the extra glaze and make clean-up a snap.  The glaze will dry quickly and add a little extra sweetness.

Serve scones with lightly sweetened whipped cream, jam, and/or lemon curd.


Black Forest Ham & Cheese Scones
Omit sugar and currants.  Add 1/2 cup diced black forest ham (or chopped sliced ham), 1/3 cup shredded gruyere cheese, 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese.  Optional: brush with 2-3 tbs dijon mustard mixed with 2 tbs warm water.

Bacon, Gruyere & Green Onion Scones
Omit sugar and currants.  Add 3 strips cooked and crumbled bacon, 1/3 cup shredded gruyere, and 1 green onion (thinly sliced).

Cheddar, Parmesan, & Black Pepper Scones
Omit sugar and currants.  Add 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, and 1/2 tsp ground black pepper.

Fresh Berry Scones
Omit currants.  Add 3/4 cup fresh berries of your choice (whole blackberries, raspberries, blueberries...and/or diced strawberries).

Date Scones (nice with whipped caramel butter - see below)
Omit currents.  Add 1/2 cup chopped dates (if dates are dry/hard, cover dates with hot water or rum) and let stand for a few minutes before using).

Cranberry Orange Scones
Omit currants.  Add 1 tbs orange zest and 1/2 cup dried cranberries.

Blueberry Lemon or Cherry Lemon Scones
Omit currants.  Add 1 tbs lemon zest and 1/2 cup dried blueberries or cherries.

Lemon Poppyseed Scones
Omit currants.  Add 2 tbs lemon zest and 1 tbs poppy seeds.

Pumpkin Scones
Omit currants.  Spread 2/3 cup canned (whole) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) on 2 paper-towels and top with another 2 paper-towels.  Using your hands, press out the water.  Repeat if needed to get a "less-wet" pumpkin mixture.  Stir with cream and add 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice.  Add to scones.

Gingerbread Scones
Omit currants.  Instead of white sugar, use brown sugar (same amount).  Add 3 tsp ginger, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp cloves.  Also stir 2 tbs molasses into the cream.

Cranberry and White Chocolate Chip Scones
Omit currants.  Add 1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries and 1/2 cup white chocolate chips.

Chocolate Chip Scones
Omit currants.  Add 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips.

Pecan Scones
Omit currants.  Instead of white sugar, use brown sugar (same amount).  Add 1/2 cup chopped pecans.

(In case you need to drizzle something over the top for an extra special finish).

Vanilla Glaze
Stir together 1 cup confectioners sugar, 1/4 tsp vanilla, 2 tbs cream, milk, or water.

Lemon or Orange Glaze
Stir together 1 cup confectioners sugar, 2 tbs lemon juice or orange juice.

Strawberry Lemon Glaze
Stir together 1 cup confectioners sugar, 1 tbs strawberry jam, and 1-2 tbs cream.

Chocolate Ganache
Heat 1 cup heavy whipping cream until bubbling.  Pour over 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips.  Stir until melted and cooled a bit.


Whipped Caramel Butter
Mix 1 stick salted room-temperature butter with 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 tsp vanilla.

Strawberry Butter
Mix 1 stick salted room temperature butter with 1 tbs of strawberry jam and 2 tbs confectioners sugar.


Sweetened Whipped Cream
Whip 1 cup heavy cream with 2 tbs sugar (white or brown or powdered).

Lemon Curd Whipped Cream
Whip 1 cup heavy cream with 3-4 tbs jarred lemon curd.

Strawberry Whipped Cream
Whip 1 cup heavy cream with 3-4 tbs strawberry jam.

Kelley's Lemon Pound Cake

If you're looking for a really lemony pound cake with a wonderful texture, this recipe is it!

Makes one 9 by 5-inch loaf (or 9 mini cake loaves)

16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), plus 1 tablespoon, softened, for greasing pan
1 1/2 cups cake flour (6 ounces), plus 1 tablespoon for dusting pan
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar (8 3/4 ounces)
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest plus 2 teaspoons juice from 2 medium lemons
4 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Lemon Glaze
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
1/4 cup lemon juice, from 1 or 2 medium lemons

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9 by 5-inch loaf pan (or mini loaf pan) with 1-2 tablespoons softened butter; dust with 1 tablespoon cake flour, tapping out excess. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

2. In glass measuring cup or microwave-safe bowl, microwave butter, covered with plastic wrap, at full power until melted, 1 to 2 minutes. (Alternatively, melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat.) Whisk melted butter thoroughly to reincorporate any separated milk solids.

3. In food processor, process sugar and zest until combined, about five 1-second pulses. Add lemon juice, eggs, and vanilla; process until combined, about 5 seconds. With machine running, add melted butter through feed tube in steady stream (this should take about 20 seconds). Transfer mixture to large bowl. Sift flour mixture over eggs in three steps, whisking gently after each addition until just combined.

4. Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees and continue to bake until deep golden brown and skewer inserted in center comes out clean, about 35 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn onto wire rack.

5. While cake is cooling in pan, bring sugar and lemon juice to boil in small nonreactive saucepan, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened slightly, about 2 minutes.

6. After turning cake onto wire rack, poke the cake's top and sides with a toothpick and brush on Lemon Glaze (see illustrations below). Cool to room temperature, at least 1 hour.

Notes: (Cooled cake can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 5 days.)

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