Wednesday, July 15, 2009

mmmm, buttermilk scones

these are hands down the best scones i have ever had. once again, i think it is the buttermilk. i have made them with blueberries or strawberries in them, with white chocolate chips (pete's favorite) and plain served with fresh berries and whipped cream (jack's favorite) and you just can't go wrong. christine made them with orange zest and blueberries while we were at the beach and they were gone before you could sneak back for seconds. the recipe is from the cookbook 'once upon a tart' which i highly recommend on a whole, but this recipe is my favorite. they are easiest if you have a large cuisinart, but i don't and they work just fine in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. if you don't have either they say you can cut in the butter with kitchen shears or two knives. your eyes may bug out a bit over the amount of butter, but, come on, its not like you're making them everyday... so, here is the recipe... now go buy some buttermilk and make them tomorrow. your family will be forever grateful.

4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
20 tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 large eggs
1 cup cold buttermilk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup dried currants (or any other item you decide to add, i've actually never used currants personally...)

1. preheat oven to 400 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. dump dry ingredients into bowl of food processor with metal blade and pulse a few times to mix.
3. add the butter to the bowl all at once and run the food processor for 15 seconds. switch to pulse and continue pulsing until there are no chunks of butter left and the mixture looks like moist crumbs. careful not to overmix the ingredients (they go on and on at great length to explain the importance of the butter not melting so that it melts in the oven while baking and that this is key to perfect scones... they also have a couple paragraphs about never opening your oven door... lots of rules to live by in this particular cookbook...).
4. in another small bowl whisk the eggs to break up the yolks. whisk in the buttermilk and the vanilla. use the whisk to stir in the currants (or fruit or chocolate chips or nothing...).
5. in a large bowl mix together the dry and wet ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon. it will be dry at first and you will think there is too much flour, but keep mixing and it will come together. stop as soon as no flour is visible. "you don't want to work the dough a moment longer than necessary." (these are the kinds of warnings this book is full of... they are very serious about scone-making).
6. use a measuring cup or your hand (i always opt for hand) to scoop the batter out in the desired size and plop it onto the baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
7. place baking sheet on center rack in oven and bake until golden brown or a toothpick pulls out clean. (they make theirs using a 1/2 cup and bake them for 25-30 minutes, i find this is a little big and make mine smaller and bake for about 10-12 minutes, the first time you will just have to keep an eye on them... even though they don't want you opening your oven in the middle of baking...).
8. let cool, then serve and enjoy.

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