09 April 2015

American Vanilla Scones

Mmm . . .

Monday was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, the air was warm. It was Spring Break so the boys were home and no one was complaining about school. Friends came down the hill and invited the boys to play at the playground across the street. It was the Orioles opening day and the good guys won. There was a brief moment where it felt like summer and when I remembered it was just a brief respite from the school year it was sort of a bummer.

The two days that followed were cooler and more Spring-like, and I had to make the older boy buckle down and work on some homework so there was no forgetting what month it was.

The biscuits that started the whole thing. So fluffy.
I made biscuits last night, based on this King Arthur Flour recipe, which came out beautifully, and went well with the bean stew I made. But I noticed on the recipe that I could add up to 4 Tablespoons of sugar and make them scones.  So I made a few adjustments and made scones this morning, because it may be April, but at least there is no morning rush. I used vanilla sugar, which is just a jar of sugar with some spent vanilla beans stuff in it, and vanilla bean seeds, but you could use a splash of vanilla extract if that's what you have to hand. There's a quick vanilla scraping tutorial here. I also added a bit of whole wheat flour, because I like the added depth of flavor.

Same ingredients, different method, very different crumb.
A picture of said scones on Facebook naturally led to a wide-ranging conversation on the nature of American vs. British and Irish chemically leavened baked goods: biscuits, scones, crumpets, muffins, etc. This is what happens when you have friends from all over who like to eat and bake. The consensus is that these are not scones because they're triangular, or because they don't have raisins, or because they don't have an egg. Or maybe only because they do not have clotted cream on them. The triangular part seems to be the thing that makes these truly American scones as opposed to English ones. I did serve them with strawberry jam, so maybe that's something. Also they are tasty and quick and if you have clotted cream you might as well use it on these as anything else. If you don't have clotted cream they're good fresh and warm with no adornment at all.

American Vanilla Scones
makes 12 medium-sized scones

4 ounces whole wheat flour
8 ounces all-purpose flour
1/4 cup vanilla sugar (or regular sugar)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
seeds of one vanilla bean, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 Tablespoons butter, cut into small chunks
1 cup milk


Preheat oven to 425 Fahrenheit. Cover a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, salt and vanilla bean seeds (if using) in a medium bowl, or a in a food processor work bowl. Whisk together for at least 30 seconds or 5 pulses of the food processor.

Add butter and cut in using two knives, a pastry cutter, or more pulses of the food processor, until butter pieces are the size of a pea or smaller.

If using a food processor, transfer flour mix to a medium bowl.

Add milk (and vanilla extract if using) all at once and stir just to combine. Turn out onto the counter and smoosh the dough together into a ball. It will be sticky, like a cookie dough.  Cut dough in half, and shape each half into a circle about 3/4 inch thick on the baking sheet with lightly floured hands.  Using a floured knife or bench scraper, deeply score each circle into 6 triangles.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned.  Allow to cool for ten minutes, then cut into triangles and eat plain or split in half and top with strawberry jam, butter, clotted cream, honey, or whatever will make your morning better.

1 comment:

  1. You blogged! Also, they look delicious, whatever they are.



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