Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Basic Scones recipe: Cranberry and almond flakes

I used to think that Scones are dry, tasteless and boring hard biscuits. However, after sampling various kinds of scones, I have begun to appreciate its taste. Scones are what I like to call "structured" biscuits; they have a fixed shape but crumble finely when bitten into. I love scones with a strong buttery taste with minimal sweetness. They are highly versatile; you can add chocolate chips, dried fruit like cranberries, raisins and nuts like almond flakes. You could also enjoy your plain scones with some clotted cream or jam.

Cranberry and almond flakes
Cranberries and almond flakes - A combination of crunchy and sweet
In my current batch of scones, I added in dried organic cranberries which you can get from any major supermarket and almond flakes, also readily available at the baking sections of supermarkets or from speciality baking stores (Phoon Huat, Sunlik, Bake King, etc.) You may wish to toast the almond flakes for about 5 minutes in the oven at 170 degrees to bring out the flavour before adding them to your scones. However, I skipped this step by popping my tray in to bake for another 5 minutes, top rack. This two-in-one step will help to brown the tops of the scones and the almond flakes simultaneously.

My recipe is adapted from joyofbaking. This website is highly informative one, with tips and clear instructions on different recipes. I am a huge fan of her video recipes so do drop by her site if you have time. Here is the recipe with some slight modifications

(makes 8-9 scones)

260g Plain flour 
50g fine white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
100g unsalted butter (if using salted butter, omit 1/4 tsp salt)
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
120ml whipping cream (you can use milk)

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees and line baking tray with baking/parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk/sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut cold butter into small cubes. Whisk egg slightly and add in whipping cream/milk and add in vanilla essence. Mix well.

2. Add butter into dry mixture (flour, sugar, baking powder and salt) and massage in. You can use your fingers or forks to cut the butter into mixture. The resultant mixture should be pale yellow and resemble bread crumbs.

3. Make a well in the centre and add in the cream mixture. Add in dried fruit/chocolate chips and combine till soft dough forms.

4. Cover table top with cling wrap (this will reduce cleaning time after). Sprinkle some plain flour on the top and place dough on it. Knead dough 4-5 times; do not over work the dough as that will cause dense scones. 

5. Shape dough to desired thickness (about 1cm) and cut using a cookie cutter. I used a big flower cutter (bought from a pack of 6 from Daiso). If you prefer taller scones, make the dough thicker and use a small circular cutter. If you do not have a cutter, you can shape the dough into a circle and cut into 8 equal triangular pieces, like a pizza. 

6. Top the scones with some dried cranberries and almond flakes. Brush tops of scones with a layer of milk. A quick and easy method is to use the little residue in the bowl which used to contain the cream mixture. Add a little more milk into the bowl and use that to brush the tops. If you do not have a brush, you can use the back of a spoon or even your finger to coat. 

Pardon the slightly mis-shapened "flowers"

7. Bake at 200 degrees for 20mins in top 2nd rack. Switch to top rack and bake for another 5 minutes. If your scones are nicely browned and baked after 20mins, you can skip the extra 5 minutes.

Ensure that butter, egg and whipping cream/milk are cold/straight out from the fridge when using, especially for butter. When the butter is massaged into the flour sugar mixture, there should be small lumps/bread-crumb like texture; it should not be "over-massaged" into the flour! The small pocket of butter should only melt when baking in the oven so that you get light fluffy scones. If you find the butter melting quickly during the dough-making process, pop the bowl into the freeze for a couple of minutes before continuing. 

Different types of milk gives you a slightly different taste. A richer milk, heavy or whipping cream gives more flavour and fragrance to the baked product. A healthier scone will be produced with normal fresh full cream or low fat milk. It all depends on individual preference and of course, what's available in your pantry. 

For a nice brown top, you can use egg-wash instead of plain milk/cream. Beat 1 egg and dilute it with about 1 tablespoon of milk or use just the beaten egg to coat.

Scones freeze well. I like to store my baked scones in the fridge and pop it into the oven for a couple of minutes to warm them. Scones for tea anyone?

Cranberry and almond flakes
It tastes better than it looks!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...