The umami power of seared Ahi tuna, the swift spicy kick of lamb vindaloo, and the sweet Christmas-y smell of Russian tea cakes all conjure images of home, but it’s the taste and smell of freshly baked scones that reminds me of my mother.
While I’m still not sure where she found this recipe, the basic measurements and steps outlined below will reliably yield six soft and slightly crumbly scones. Like all great heirloom recipes, mom’s is simple and endlessly adaptable. The original calls for a tartly sweet mixture of dried cranberries and chocolate chips, but I have experimented with bacon, bourbon, dates, lemon juice, dried apricots, raisins, poppy seeds, herbs, nuts, and an array of fruit preserves. With the possible exception of the bourbon, they’re all worth trying.
Regardless of what you may choose to add, these are true scones; a far cry from the cakey abominations that can be purchased at your local Starbucks.
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 cup mix-ins (dried fruits, nuts, chocolate pieces etc.)
- 8 tbsp butter
- 1 egg
- 1/4-1/3 cup sour cream or half and half
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Pulse dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar) in a food processor.
- Add mix-ins (roughly 1 cup) and pulse again. While I recommend dried cranberries and chocolate chips for the full experience, I used dried apricots, walnuts, and thyme for this particular batch.
- Place cubed butter on top of dry ingredients and process in bursts until incorporated.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and “milk product”. There’s some flexibility here too. While the recipe tends to turn out best with sour cream or half-and-half, I’ve used yoghurt, buttermilk, and heavy cream to great effect.
- Add wet mixture and process in bursts. Don’t overmix! You’re looking for a crumbly mess, not a dough.
- Dump the mixture onto a baking sheet covered with a silpat (or parchment paper) and gently press into a 3/4″-1” thick disc.
- Cut into wedges with a damp knife or bench scraper.
- Bake for about 15 minutes.
Hello! If you’re reading this, you’ve stumbled upon new blogging adventure. While I’ve dabbled in the narcissistic world of Tumblr and WordPress for several years, I feel it’s time to start something a bit more ”mature” and “focused.” This latest venture will take the form of a food blog (yes, I know, try not to laugh) centered on those recipes that I have tested and carefully adjusted over the last few years. Since food and family memories are, at least in my case, inextricably linked, I’ll provide some stories to accompany each recipe. While I can appreciate that few people will find these posts entertaining (there are, after all, thousands of great food blogs already well established), I hope that these humble offerings will provide yet more inspiration for your culinary endeavors.
Before we get started, I think it’s important to go over a few important notes and guiding principles.
- I am not an expert. On rare occasion, I’ve referred to myself as a “culinary hobbyist,” but I am a far cry from a trained chef (you should see my knife skills!). Since I lack formal training, I often adapt recipes from cookbooks and other blogs (particularly those found here and here). As a trained historian, it is in my nature to provide accurate attribution wherever and whenever possible, but if I make a mistake, please send me a message!
- My stepfather (an actual chef) once told me that a good chef tries a recipe three times before they pass it along to others. The first attempt is a precise replication of the recipe as written, the second attempt–an experimental phase–allows for the adjustment of cooking temperatures and ratios, and the third attempt formalizes any changes that were made during the experimental phase. I stand by this principle and, with rare exception, the recipes featured here will have run that gauntlet.
- There are a panoply of kitchen gadgets available to chefs and hobbyists the world over, but many of them are unnecessary. The New York Times recently outlined a “no-frills kitchen” and I support many of their suggestions. That being said, if you like to bake as much as I do, a KitchenAid standing mixer will save you an awful lot of time and frustration. While I can’t speak for other brands, the KitchenAid version is legendarily sturdy. My mother has had the same mixer for over 20 years and it still whips egg whites and mixes cookie batter like a champ. On a related note, I highly recommend a Cuisinart food processor. It dices, slices, chops, whips, blends, and it will save you time and a. In the last week, I’ve used mine to make latkes, carrot cake, pesto, and a sauce for a salmon filet.
- I’m a firm believer in cleaning while you cook. Wherever possible, I’ll include a few cleaning steps (and tips) with each recipe.
- If you’re like me, you’ll need a soundtrack for your gastronomic adventures. I’ll periodically update this spotify playlist with my current favorites.