Scones are one of those pastries that I always reserve for special occasions, you know, like Saturday morning. It's perfection in pastry form, and I love baking them almost as much as eating them.
These sweet biscuit delights are best served warm, and can bring together beautiful combinations of sweet and savory flavors.
There are a few rules, however, I highly recommend for minimizing your fail-factor and producing super-amazing scones.
Make sure to use the right flour. Pastry flour, which is lower protein flour, will make your scones softer and flakier. Higher protein or high gluten flour (like bread flour) will create tougher, heavier scones.
Keep it cold
Make sure you keep your ingredients chilled. Always use the coldest butter and keep liquids refrigerated until ready to use. You can also chill your mixing bowl for better results.
What's the deal with the chill?
When your butter is kept cold, the butter will be distributed through your dough in tiny chunks. Once in the oven, the butter will melt, leaving tiny pockets throughout the dough. Voila! Moist, buttery layers!
Don't over do it
Kneading converts the proteins in the flour to gluten – even with low protein flour. The more kneading, the tougher and chewier your scones will become. Only mix the ingredients until they just come together, like when making biscuits or piedough.
Try to watch your scones and not fall victim to overbaking. Set a timer, but keep an eye on the oven. You'll want to pull them out just as they brown and slide them immediately onto a wire rack to cool.
Candied Orange and Ginger Scones
- 2 ¼ cups pastry flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tbs. baking powder
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- ¼ tsp. vanilla
- ¾ cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- ½ cup finely diced crystallized ginger
- ½ cup finely diced candied orange peel
- 2 tbs. heavy cream for brushing on top of scones before baking
- 2 tbs. sugar for sprinkling scones before baking
Preheat oven to 400˚F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Blend dry ingredients in your mixer with the paddle attachment on low speed.
Add butter in small batches until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Add the 3/4 cup cream and vanilla, mixing on low until just moist. If the dough seems dry, add the extra tablespoon of heavy cream.
Mix in the crystallized ginger and orange peel.
Pour out dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead until smooth – less than 10 turns.
Gently pat down your dough about 1" thick and cut into shapes of your choice
I suggest using a large jar lid or cutting your scone dough into wedges.
Trying to keep your fingertips off the dough because it will melt the butter.
Place your scones onto your pan and brush the tops with the remaining heavy cream, then lightly sprinkle the sugar.
Bake scones until light brown, about 18-20 minutes.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Twinkle VanWinkle was born in a small town in Mississippi. A life-long lover of music, media and food, she grew up following those three things along her path. She has almost 20 years of professional cooking under her apron strings, feeding thousands of friends, family and other folks while working in restaurants and bakeries in Oxford, Miss. She baked apple pies for the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and appeared on Food Network's "The Best Of..." in the same year. Along with producing dynamic lifestyle content for LIN Media, she is a mother, musician and social media fanatic.
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