Tuesday, March 23, 2010
You're probably really sick of me talking about breakfast, so I'll move on. Who wants to talk about brunch? I know, I know, I didn't get far from the breakfast topic, but brunch is my favorite time to have people over. Well, brunch and just because. The day is just starting, the food can be comforting and no one is falling asleep at the table. You can pour out cups and cups of coffee, play games, or just chat, and if you happen to have gone a bit overboard with the menu, that just means your guests will stay longer. It's hard to leave when you can't even stand up.
One more recipe has recently entered my "must make for brunch" repertoire, and that is this one for the best scones ever. If you only know scones from those hard lumps they sell at Starbucks, you will be pleasantly surprised. These are tender, crumbly, and just a little sweet, so they go great with a bit of butter or a slick of your favorite jam.
They're enormously easy to make, and you can probably try them with any kind of fruit or even mini chocolate chips, which gives me an idea for what to try next. But the first time you make these, I'd recommend using the original recipe. It's wonderful and will make a great addition to your breakfast, brunch or any time table.
Dreamy Cream Scones
America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook via Smitten Kitchen
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup currants (I used dried cranberries, and chopped them into smaller bits)
1 cup heavy cream
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425°F.
2. Place flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in large bowl or work bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Whisk together or pulse six times.
3. If making by hand, use two knives, a pastry blender or your fingertips and quickly cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few slightly larger butter lumps. Stir in currants. If using food processor, remove cover and distribute butter evenly over dry ingredients. Cover and pulse 12 times, each pulse lasting 1 second. Add currants and pulse one more time. Transfer dough to large bowl.
4. Stir in heavy cream with a rubber spatula or fork until dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.
5. Transfer dough and all dry, floury bits to countertop and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. Form scones by either a) pressing the dough into an 8-inch cake pan, then turning the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, cutting the dough into 8 wedges with either a knife or bench scraper (the book’s suggestion and what I did) or b) patting the dough onto a lightly floured work surface into a 3/4-inch thick circle, cutting pieces with a biscuit cutter, and pressing remaining scraps back into another piece and cutting until dough has been used up. (Be warned if you use this latter method, the scones that are made from the remaining scraps will be much lumpier and less pretty, but taste fine.)
6. Place rounds or wedges on ungreased baking sheet and 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.