Scones…Scones Will Make Them Eat!

This recipe comes from one of the first bread baking books I ever bought about thirty years ago (through some book club or another): Carol Cutler’s Great Fast Breads. I had to buy it a second time a few years ago because my original copy was falling apart. I’ll admit that I still haven’t gone through every recipe but the ones I have tried have all been excellent. If you want a copy, you’ll have to hit the used book stores, or a site such as abebooks.com. Trust me; it’s worth having on your shelf. I’ll definitely be writing about some of the other recipes I love in this book.

THE RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

Makes between twelve and eighteen 2-inch scones

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature, cut into pieces (You’re going to want to cut the chilled butter into cubes about 1/4″ square – more or less. – then let it come to room temperature.)

1 – 1 1/2 cups of dried cranberries, soaked in warm water to re-hydrate, then pat dried in a paper towel
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups buttermilk

THE METHOD

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees

1. Stir all dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter pieces and rub them in. (In the past I’ve used a pastry blender for this but these days, I do it by hand. Work quickly but gently, rubbing the flour and butter together until the mixture resembles sand and there are no large pieces of butter remaining.) Mix in the cranberries. Beat the eggs in a small bowl, add the buttermilk, and pour this liquid over the flour mixture. Stir with a fork then lightly knead in the bowl for a few seconds. (You’re trying to hydrate all the flour.) The dough will be soft; let it rest for 5 minutes. (If there’s still dry flour in the bowl, feel free to add a bit more buttermilk and lightly stir the mixture with a fork.)

2. In a small bowl, pour about 1/4 cup of flour. You’ll use this to lightly flour your hands as you shape the scones. Lightly flour  your hands. Break off pieces of dough about the size of a large egg, roll into a ball between your palms, put down on a baking sheet. (The recipe calls for the baking dish to be greased but I’ve found that the scones don’t stick to the baking sheets I’ve used. Do as you will.) Leave at least 1 inch of space between the scones.

3. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the scones lave puffed and turned a light golden color. (Depending on your oven, this could take longer. Just keep an eye on things.) Serve hot

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