Monday, May 26, 2008

beneath the frosting

If you've been reading along for the past few months, you'll know that I have an ongoing fascination with baking the perfect scone. By scone, I mean "sk-on," those vaguely biscuit-like British things served at afternoon tea. But not "sk-ohwns." Never "sk-ohwns."

The "sk-ohwn," you see, is an overly sweet, triangular baked good, found at Starbucks and other coffee shops. It comes in dubious flavors (orange chocolate chip?) and is frequently subjected to the indignity of being slathered in even sweeter frosting to compensate for its miserable, bone-dry, crumbly texture. I have been fairly adamant that no sk-ohwn would ever darken the door of my kitchen.

Until now.

Seized by a fit of boredom, and low on inspiration, I asked Alex to suggest something to bake last night. Alex requested something with berries, and then proposed berry scones. "Sk-ons" would never contain berries, so I knew she was referring to the dreaded "sk-ohwn."

There was a hint of challenge in the suggestion, so I accepted. I decided to rework the idea from the ground up, and restore a little dignity to the "sk-ohwn." There had to be a spark of potential in it somewhere, buried deep beneath its carapace of frosting.

I started with my standard scone recipe, adding just enough sugar to sweeten the mixture. Then I pressed a cup of still-frozen berries into the dough, shaped it into a round, and cut it into wedges. The wedges went on a baking tray, and the baking tray went in the oven.

Half an hour later, the sk-ohwns came out of the oven, golden brown and fragrant. They were slightly crisp on the outside, but moist and tender inside. Each bite was pleasantly buttery and just this side of sweet, punctuated occasionally by bursts of tart, juicy berry.

Alex approved. (The other mad hippie engineers enjoyed them, too.)

I still have an ongoing fascination with baking the perfect sk-on. But I think you'll find these sk-ohwns in my kitchen every once in a while. It turns out that once you get beneath the frosting, a sk-ohwn isn't so bad, after all.

Berry Sk-ohwns

Use raspberries or blackberries, or a mixed berry medley.

(Recipe not for one. Makes eight scones.)

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a large baking tray.

Dump three cups of flour, one-third of a cup of sugar, two teaspoons of baking powder, and half a teaspoon of salt into a big mixing bowl and give everything a quick stir. Cut in three-quarters of a stick of chilled butter until you have pea-sized lumps.

Add half a cup of plain yogurt, and half a cup of whole milk. Stir the mixture with your fingers just until a soft dough forms. Add two cups of frozen berries and squish them into the dough.

Turn the dough out onto the baking tray and shape it into a round. Squish the round to a one-inch thickness. Cut it into eight wedges, and arrange them on the baking tray.

Bake for twenty-five to thirty minutes, or until the sk-owns are slightly browned on top. Serve for breakfast, or as an afternoon snack.


Kim said...

Hey Adele- They came out really well, you had me intrigued. I too enjoy the British version though I have had my share of the local scone. I have saved quite a few good articles on scones so if you want a copy of them shoot me an email.So sad, as I am sipping my coffee and would love one of your treats right now!

Alex said...

I horded extras and saved them for the weekend's flying adventures with Harry. +10.

Ann said...

Mmmmm... though of course berries have no rightful place in a scone. :-)

Hey, come to New York. I have a kick-ass scone recipe which (supposedly) originated at The Ritz.

adele said...

A scone recipe from the Ritz? Sounds impressive. :)

Cakelaw said...

These look delish!

Thomas Sibley said...

Trying these out tonight...

Thomas Sibley said...

These turned out really well, and with butter and jam are amazing. I think next time I may add slightly more berries to the dough.

adele said...

I'm glad you liked them. :)