Monday, January 7, 2013

Buttermilk Scones, trial 1 (aka the Quest for the Perfect Buttermilk Scone)

I'm guessing most people resolve to bake less when the year is new, but not this gal!  I've decided that 2013 is the year I perfect my buttermilk scones.  Why, you ask?  Because scones are really delicious and I drink a lot of coffee and tea!  And because why not?

So this is trial 1.  This recipe was adapted from Beth Dunn's Proper British Scones.  While it is apparently more English to make your scones by rolling out the dough and cutting them like biscuits, I still prefer molding my dough into disks and cutting the scones into wedges.  Good scones can only come from dough that is handled properly and I find myself far less likely to over-handle the dough if I form it rather than roll it out.  I also have the compulsive need to sprinkle raw demerara sugar on my scones and that's probably not properly English, either.  But no matter!  The goal is not to make authentic English scones, but to make my best version of a buttermilk scone.  I will insist, however, that  you serve these with clotted cream, which can be found at Marczyk's for all you Denver-Dwellers, or even crème fraîche if you can't find the clotted stuff (I know that might sound weird to all you Americans out there that are used to buttering your scones... but trust me on this!).  Lemon curd is always a delicious choice when talking about scone accoutrements.  Also, serve these scones with the best-quality jam that you can get your hands on!  Preferably some made by a local artisan, like Dagstani & Sons, or perhaps just the adorable little old lady down the street.  

Buttermilk Scones, trial 1
makes 12 small scones

2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 lb. butter, diced and chilled
2/3 cup 2% buttermilk (cream top, if available)
1 egg
demerara sugar, for sprinkling

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  Add butter and work with your fingers until mixture resembles fine crumbs.  Add buttermilk and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough just comes together (just a few swift motions should do it - be sure not to over-work your dough).

Turn the dough onto a lightly-floured work surface.  Divide into two and gently knead the first batch until the dough becomes just-smooth.  Form into a disk.  Repeat with second batch and place disks on a silpat (or parchment paper) lined baking sheet.  Using a knife or dough scraper, cut disks into 6 wedges.

In a small bowl, whisk 1 egg with a splash of buttermilk.  Brush disks with your egg wash and sprinkle generously with the demerara sugar.  Place in the 425 degree oven and bake until just golden, about 15 minutes.

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