Saturday, January 4, 2014

Faux Scones

Over the holidays, my Oregonian family had a discussion about the deploring lack of good commercial scones. The general consensus was that Starbucks was the only place most of the family could find scones, and the quality of the Portland area Starbucks pastries were, um, less than satisfactory. My own experience at the Fairview Starbucks was sub par, especially considering the superb quality of the staff over near the Galleria in Roseville (California).

Long-short, I decided to experiment a bit and see what I could come up with for homemade scone-like treats. I haven’t actually looked for scone recipes, hence the reason for calling these “faux scones”.

Ingredients

So, pull up the Basic Biscuit recipe. To this we shall add:

  • 1/2c. sugar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1tsp allspice
  • 2-3 tbsp butter – firm, solid butter, not softened
  • a 9” pie pan (forgo the cookie sheet and baking paper, and the cookie cutters)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Add the 1/2c. sugar to the dry ingredients before adding in the milk – and you can use a lower fat milk, but you’ll want to use a little less of it, closer to a generous 1/2c. than 3/4c. of the creamier milks.

Grease the bottom and sides of the pie pan with 1/2tbsp of butter and set aside.

Follow steps 1 & 2 for the rolled biscuits. I found using a rolling pin also helped work the dough to an even consistency that doesn’t leave dough on your hands when you work with it.

Divide the dough into eight parts. Roll into balls and then squish one side so you have a kind of triangle shape. Arrange the triangles in the pie pan with the squished sides toward the center. Flatten the triangles so that they cover the base of the pan completely.

Cut the remaining butter into eight pieces. Mix the 2 tbsps of sugar with the allspice and sprinkle over the dough. Place a butter pat near the center of each dough segment.

Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

Optional: while baking, whip up a halved portion of Simple Dessert Glaze to apply to the scones as soon as they come out of the oven.

Let stand for 5 minutes before serving, or store for later treats.

Variations

One of the nicer things with basic bready recipes is that you can add all sorts of treats without having to really change things up.  For instance, want chocolate chip faux scones? Add around a 1/2 c. chocolate chips. How about apple cinnamon scones? Cut up a Granny Smith or similar baking apple, pat the chunks dry, add in about a 1/2 c. of the chunked apple and 2 tsp of cinnamon to the dough. Adding dried fruits and nuts and the like is fairly simple – though I would recommend making sure all the pieces are about the size of chocolate chips, around 1/4 inch on the longest side.

Don’t want to knead or roll the dough? The Faux Scones will be more moist on the inside, meaning you’ll want to bake them between 25 and 35 minutes. That will make the crust more crunchy, and, like the drop biscuits, also rougher than the worked dough.

Simple Dessert Glaze

I realize this is a fairly basic and standard recipe, but since I like to use it in place of frostings fairly often, consider this a formality posting. :-)
Makes enough to cover one 9 inch cake.

Tools

Ingredients

  • 1c powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Directions

Sift the powdered sugar into the mixing bowl (for those not used to working with powdered sugar, yes, it should start out looking chunky, but bouncing it enough with the strainer will break it up into powder).
Whisk in the liquid, and stir until smooth. Add small amounts of water (by the drop) to achieve desired liquidity of the glaze.
Pour or spread over dessert.

Notes & Variations

Powdered sugar glazes will dry hard, and will dry faster the less water you use. They also take food coloring very well – less is best to start with.
If you are looking for a lemon glaze, swap out lemon extract, or 1tbsp lemon juice, for the vanilla extract, and, optionally, add approx. 1tbsp grated lemon rind to the mix. If using the lemon juice, use only 1tbsp of water.
You can add spices to your glaze – and they will affect the color. The stronger the spice, the less you should use at first (like 1/8tsp) – this is one of those dishes where you can always add more, but can’t take out too much.