Friday, September 30, 2011

Scones for What Ails You

Do you ever wake up with a heartsick feeling for no apparent reason?  Yesterday was one of those days for me.  I spent the morning like I remember feeling as a homesick ten-year-old at sleep-away camp for the first time; a little sad, a little lonely, and like something heavy was sitting in my heart and gut and wouldn't budge.  A double latte didn't help.  A hard run didn't help.  So, I turned to my go-to comfort activity, baking.
Perhaps it was the rain, but I was in a scone-ish mood.  I felt like kneading, but not like participating in anything as complex and scientific as bread baking.  I felt like something sweet, but nothing as cloying as cookies or blondies.  Also, we are visiting friends this weekend, and I wanted to bring something lovely, homemade, and a little out of the ordinary to them, and so these scones were born.  Sure enough, after clobbering some dough and letting their sweet aroma fill the house, I felt much better.  Standing mixer + oven= therapy.  With a rainy weekend in the forecast around here, try these to cure whatever may ail you!
SMJ's Cure-What-Ails-You Currant Scones
Makes 8 scones
2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup dried currants
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter or Earth Balance, cut in about 10 pieces
1/2 cup cold milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons sanding sugar, pearl sugar, or granulated sugar
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and currants until combined.
3) Scatter the chopped butter over the top of the dry ingredient mixture and beat on low speed until the butter is pebbly in the flour, with some small stone sized butter lumps remaining.
4) In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, sour cream and whole egg until combined.
5) Pour the wet mixture into the flour mixture and beat just until the dough comes together.
6) With your hands, lift the dough from the bowl and start turning it over to collect the flour in the bottom of the bowl.  Turn the dough again and again until all the remaining flour is mixed in.
7) Turn the dough out onto a baking sheet and pat it into an 8-inch circle about 1-inch thick. Brush the egg yolk evenly over the entire top of the dough circle. Sprinkle the sugar evenly across the top, then cut the circle into 8 wedges. (At this point, the unbaked scones can be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 week. Proceed as directed, baking directly from the freezer and adding 5 to 10 minutes to the baking time.)
8) Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the entire circle is golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes, then cut into the pre-scored wedges and serve.  Scones will keep well for up to three days.  Store in an air-tight container at room temperature.

1) This recipe is an amalgam of several scone recipes I found, with a nod to what I had in the fridge and my personal preference in flavors, but the primary inspiration was Joanne Chang's Currant Scone recipe from her Flour cookbook.  Flour is a phenomenal Boston bakery that you must visit if you are in town.  Wear elastic-waist pants when you go.
2) I used whole milk because that is what we keep on hand for the little dude, and low-fat sour cream because that is what we had on hand from our black bean extravaganza. Feel free to try the recipe with whatever percentage-of-fat dairy you have in the house,  I'd just advise that one or the other NOT be low-fat.  This is baking, after all.  Let's live a little.
3) It goes without saying, but take off any rings before hand-mixing sticky doughs!  Doughy bling is not a good look.  
Have a beautiful weekend!

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad the baking helped shift your blues away. I just made Apple Oatmeal scones the other day and ate three of them. I would like to try a slice of one of yours! We could swap.