On Friday, Maggie and I drove up to the farm and began our Blakley family Christmas preparations. This included a lot of baking, mixing, and contemplating what needed to happen in any given order. B napped, played with his Uncles and had a grand old time. When Mom got home we the crew made and decorated sugar cookies and other sweet treats. It is important to make cut out cookies with Grandma and other people as it drives me crazy for various reasons when I attempt it on my own.
One of the favorite recipes of the day was Flaky Scones from Rose Levy Berenbaum's The Bread Bible. I've promised this recipe to various people over time so it seems an appopriate gift to add my version of it here:
Makes twelve or 16 4in x 1.5 in high scones
1 c. butter
4 1/4 c. unbleached flour
1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 c. heavy cream
1 c. dried cranberries
Instructions: These are pared down from her version and technique really is key here, but I'll do my best to make this accessible.
1. Cut butter into cubes and refrigerate for 30 minutes or freeze for 10 minutes (She says 1 inch cubes, but mine are usually a bit smaller).
2. Wisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl or the bowl of a food processor or mixer. Add butter -- you can do this by rubbing the butter into the flour and making large flakes or pulsing/mixing-- you want large pieces still. She says the size of a small walnut, but that seems really large...
3. Stir in the cream until the dough is just wet and starts to clump together. Add the currents stirring as little as you can while still incorporating them. Knead the dugh together in the bowl and turn it out onto a floured surface.
4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put your baking stone/sheet pan in the oven to warm while it pre-heats.
5. Roll out the dough into a rectanble 1 inch thick by 8 inches by 12 inches. Try to keep the edges even using a Pastry Scraper. Fold the dough in thirds like a letter and rotate it 180 degrees. Roll it out and repeat this turn three more times. If the dough starts to soften or stick refrigerate it for 15 minutes.
6. Roll the dough out a final time and trim the edges so they are flat (Helps with even rising). Cut the dough in half lengthwise so there are 2 pieces, each 4x12 inches. Then cut each piece into trianges of the size you prefer and place 1 inch apart on your pre-heated baking sheet. (Dough will rise up, but not out so it is OK for them to be close).
7. Bake the scones one sheet at a time for 15-20 minutes until the edges begin to brown adn the tops ar egolden borwn and firm enough so that they barely give when pressed. Turn around 10 minutes for even cooking. Do not overback as they continue to cook after leaving the oven.
8. Remove from oven and put on a lrge gooling rack.
The are very best when warm so serve immediately or re-warm before serving
To reheat frozen scones, bake them in a preheated 300 degree oven for 20 minutes.