Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Scones for Me, Scones for You!

My group of coworkers in the office has a routine of bringing in breakfast once a week.  Responsibility of providing the food rotates among team members.  Recently it fell to me.  My coworkers are not very adventurous eaters. Normal provisions are either breakfast tacos or bagels.  I must be the only person in San Antonio that gets tired of breakfast tacos.  Most of my culinary tastes are not shared with my coworkers, so I have to be careful of what I decide to bring in. 

Scones seemed a good midway point.  They are really close to biscuits, so it wasn't a big stretch for most people.  The recipe I used came from Professional Baking by Wayne Glissen, my pastry textbook. We made half a batch of plain scones, a quarter batch of raisin scones, and a quarter batch of cranberry scones.

The tricks to making great biscuits also are the ones to make great scones. In particular, there are two main tips.  First, don't overwork the dough.  Too much kneading will make biscuits hard like hockey pucks.  I could tell that our set of raisin scones were kneaded a little too much. They were much flatter than the other ones and not as flaky.

Next, BUTTER.  Butter is actually important in quick breads like biscuits and scones.  The steam generated from the butter melting is a major portion of the leavening activity.  When you mix the butter in to the flour, leave it in small pieces about pea size.  This will make sure you have little pockets of buttery goodness and aromatic steam when you break open a piece.  For these scones, we used both Crisco and butter. 

We used 2"-3" square cookie cutters to cut our dough. It made the scones small enough for people not to feel guilty for having one of each.  And then seconds.  The egg wash we used to create the shiny crust on top was made from eggs, milk, and a touch of granulated sugar.  On some of the plain ones we added some granulated sugar as well.

They definitely needed something to help wash them down, which could have been fixed by using all butter. They did not contain a lot of sugar, so people with a sweet tooth added honey or jam.  Everyone else just swigged their morning coffee.

Overall, the scones got rave reviews. I bet they will be talking about these for quite some time.


Faith said...

I love scones, great idea! :)