Monday, 25 February 2013

Strawberries and Cream Scones

The other day, I had a revelation of sorts. I realized, that I really, really like scones! And more of these flaky, buttery things of goodness should be pumping out of my kitchen. They are the perfect weekend breakfast indulgence. Eat them fresh out of the oven, with a little butter, and it cannot be beat. Yup, life with fresh scones in it doesn't get much better in my world.

I had recently bought a basket of fresh strawberries (because they were on sale, cha-ching) and was dreaming/reading up recipes to use them in. Maybe muffins or a loaf? And then, whilst scrolling through archives of one of my favourite blogs I discovered "Strawberries and Cream Biscuits". (Biscuits, scones, are they the same? I don't know for sure but I do know they are both uhmazing.) Done and done! I could taste the buttery yumminess already.

And since when I made them, Valentines was only a week away so obviously they are heart shaped. Which is another fun thing about biscuits and scones. I love recipes in which you can cut things into shapes... because you can be simple and sophisticated with squares, rectangles or circles. Or you can get fancy and pull out the cookie cutter collection. Fancy dancey.

Strawberries and Cream Scones
Recipe slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

(I changed the name of the recipe mostly because I am a sucker for alliteration.)
If you don't have a pastry cutter, cut in the flour with two knives. OR use your hands and crumble it with your fingers. OR freeze the butter, then grate it in with a cheese grater. 
If you don't have half and half cream, you can use whatever kind of milk you have on hand. The original recipe calls for heavy cream, I have only tried these with half and half, but I am sure they would still be yummy (and healthier) with milk, just not as rich tasting. 
You are the master of your kitchen, choose your own adventure.

Let's Make Scones! Or biscuits! Whatever!
You will need:
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp (3 ounces) cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup chopped, ripe strawberries
  • 1 cup half and half cream, (and a little extra for brushing, optional)
  • Turbinado sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Toss in the cubed butter and cut in with a pastry cutter (or, see notes!)
When the butter resembles coarse crumbs, toss in the strawberries and coat them with the flour. The stir in the cream until the dough is combined. Do not over mix the dough at this point, because you don't want to fully blend in the butter. By not fully blending the butter into the flour mixture, your scones will bake up light and flaky! Which is totally what we are going for. No hockey pucks here.
Turn out the dough onto a floured work surface. Gently roll out the dough, flouring the top as needed, to about 3/4" thick. Remember to not overwork the dough too much to keep the butter flaky. Cut out desired shapes, I choose hearts! Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. At this point you can bake them as is, or you can brush the tops with a little additional cream and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. I tried both, and both are good. The sugar gives an nice added sweet crunch which is always fun.
 Bake at 425F for about 12 minutes until lightly golden on the edges. Let cool on the pan for a few minutes or as long as you can take it, then slice in half, smear on the butter, watch it melt, take a bite, fall in love. You are welcome.

These are also an exceptionally tasty afternoon snack, British Style! With butter and jam, served with a cup of tea. Jolly Good!

Here's to hoping there shall be many more scones in my future. And yours as well.

Happy Belated Valentines Day!

<3 Lari