Friday, May 24, 2013

Creamy Scones

This is part of the the "An Afternoon Tea Gathering" Post

This recipe produces very moist and cruchy-on-the-outside scones.  I have also done a gluten free version of it simply by substituting gluten-free flour and an appropriate amount of xanthum gum cup for cup.  Nobody realized that the scones were gluten-free until we broke it out to them.

When butter has been evenly incorporated, the scone will rise evenly, no lopsidedness

Creamy Scones
Adapted from The Art and Soul of Baking

1/2 cup (113 g) of cold butter
2 cups (250 g) of flour.  Same amount if using gluten-free flour if it is 1:1 (plus xanthum gum according to directions)
1 cup of heavy cream
1/2 cup (100 g) of sugar
1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp of salt
1 egg
some turbinado or brown sugar for sprinkling

Optional: half a lemon (sliced) that's been soaked in honey overnight - 1 lemon to 300 g honey - grind up in food processor.  Add to dough during cream stage.

1. Preheat oven to 425F.

2. Cut cold butter into 1/2 inch cubes.  It is important that butter is cold, as butter tends to melt when worked and you'll have very sticky dough.

3. In a food processor, or a mixer strong enough to handle dough, blend all the dry ingredients.

4. Slowly add the cold butter cubes and pulse on high until butter has decreased by half the size. It is important to pulse as so to not overwork the butter.

Or throw all the butter in at once
5. Pour in the cream and continue to blend, you may need to switch to a beater blade after a certain point.

6. Use the beater blade to pulse the dough.  Make sure that it is not overworked (butter melting).  If the dough is overworked, put the dough to chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

This size and this texture is correct

This dough looks overworked.  The butter has melted.
7. Dust your work surface with flour and pat the dough down to about 1/2" to 1" thick.

8. Either cut your dough into triangles or circles with a cookie cutter.

9. Place the cutouts onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment or silicone mat.  Space it about 2" apart.  Now is also a good time to stick the pan into the fridge for a good half hour to chill the butter that's in the dough again.

10. Slightly beat the egg and brush the tops of the scones with the egg wash.

11. Sprinkle turbinado or brown sugar on top.  More for crunchier tops.

12. Bake for 14 to 17 minutes in the oven or until light golden brown.

This is what happens when the dough is overworked and butter has melted.
(Also did not help when there was twice the amount of butter by accident...)
When everything is added correctly and mixed properly, you get this.
The reason why the dough flops if the butter has melted during dough formation is that the butter will liquefy much sooner than it can incorporate the flour in the dough to help it cook - so butter cooks before the rest of the dough.  It is the same theory as needing to keep the butter or lard cold when making pie crusts.  If the butter is cold, then it can cook at the same time as the flour, therefore, rising properly.

...And it also didn't help that I misread the recipe and added twice the amount of butter.  But it made of extra "delicate" and tasty scones.

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