Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Precision and ovens and whatnot

I knew this would happen, eventually.

There I was, professing my love for all things savory, declaring I hated to bake. Then, naturally, I brought you a cake recipe. It was a birthday, true, but deep down I still slightly despised baking; all the precision and the ovens and whatnot. To wit, the cake came out wonderfully. But I promise you, it was all a lie – maybe I even got lucky with that one.

This, my friends, is why in a game of picking teams, I would leave baking until the very last, leaning against a wall, being the undependable teammate it is:

On Sunday, in my boredom, I set out to try scones. My boyfriend had brought one really delicious looking, puffy biscuit home from the local co-op and it looked deceivingly simple to recreate. So I tried. Except I only had milk instead of the called-for cream, and slivered almonds instead of the called-for currants. I did a little on-the-fly substitution, thinking that if the dough looked edible, the final product wouldn’t be too disappointing. (In cooking, of course, these maneuvers would have worked just fine; how spiteful baking is.) Boy, was I wrong. This is what I got.

I ended up with a sad, cakey, brown triangle instead of what I’d hoped for: the distinctive large crumb with a slight swirl of cinnamon, just like the scone of that morning. Well there you go, this is what I meant before – don’t let that birthday cake fool you. Baking and I just don’t mix well.

I'm going to include the recipe anyway; maybe a few of you can try it and report back on how it really is supposed to be done. Perhaps you'll get sub-par results too, and then we can dismiss this one as a bad egg. That would make me feel much better. But more likely, I just botched the whole thing.

Cinnamon and Slivered Almond (Sob) Scones
(Adapted from Epicurious.com)


1/4 cup heavy cream plus additional for brushing the scones (this is where my fatal milk mistake happened, I'm sure)
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar plus additional for sprinkling the scones
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1/3 cup slivered almonds, plus more for the tops

In a small bowl whisk together 1/4 cup of the cream, the egg yolk, and the vanilla. Into a bowl sift together the flour, 3 tablespoons of the sugar, the salt, the baking powder, the baking soda, and the cinnamon, add the butter, and blend the mixture until it resembles coarse meal.

Stir in the almonds, the currants, add the cream mixture with a fork until the mixture forms a sticky but manageable dough. Knead the dough gently on a lightly floured surface for 30 seconds, pat it into a 3/4-inch-thick round, and cut it into 6 wedges. (I made 8 wedges, then adjusted the baking time; the smaller pieces bake much quicker.)

Transfer the wedges to a lightly greased baking sheet, brush them with the additional cream, and sprinkle them with the additional sugar and slivered almonds. Bake the scones in the middle of a preheated 400°F. oven for 15 to 18 minutes, or until they are golden.

Good Luck.

Note: I put this picture in sepia because sepia tone, to me, just says depression. And if these scones were anything at all, they were depressing.

1 comment:

Lauri said...

Cathryn Siver-smith has scones nailed! Ask her for her sausage feta sage scone recipe with sage infused butter! Devine!