Simple Fruit Scones

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I guess you can say I’m on a bent with the idea of ‘simple’ meals lately. These scones are what I’ve been eating recently, usually alongside a big pan of sautéed greens and turnips or beets, with a couple eggs scrambled in. It’s like a savory ‘fancy’ breakfast for dinner several nights in a row, and only takes a few minutes, no planning ahead, and whatever vegetables are already on hand.

For these scones, I revisited this recipe, adjusted the types of flour by switching to whole buckwheat groats and oatmeal, which I weighed and then ground in my coffee/spice grinder. And then I added in a small handful of dried fruit, a mixture of chopped dried apricots and cranberries in the first round and simple raisins in the second–since I live with a William of very simple tastes. Both are delicious, and it’s fair to say that these are my favorite of all the British or Irish style scones so common alongside breakfast or served with a vegetable soup.

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Interestingly, in my original recipe I wrote that I’d post a whole grain version of the scones. It only took seven years, but I’ve finally done it!

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The impetus for these are from The Recipe Redux February theme of Oscar Movie Inspiration. Since the Academy Awards are on February 24th, we were asked to head to the movies – and into the kitchen to show our favorite movie-themed recipe. My all-time favorite movie – and one of my favorite books – is Pride and Prejudice. I watch it often, usually when I need a little emotional lift and basically have the entire thing memorized. Aside from that, I tend to gravitate toward British-historical movies in general and the Harry Potter series. With all that British influence, tea and scones are a nice quick mini-meal. Eat them for mid-afternoon tea, an on-the-go breakfast, or like I did, as part of a simple breakfast as dinner.

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Simple Fruit Scones
, makes 4
I’ve made these with vegan butter (Earth Balance sticks), unrefined extra virgin coconut oil, and Kerrygold butter. They all work well as long as you freeze your butter or oil and then grate it into the flour mixture, though I’m partial to the vegan butter since it gives a slightly more ‘buttery’ taste than does the coconut oil. If you have no reason for avoiding true dairy butter, opt for that instead and choose a good brand, like Kerrygold. 

80 g oatmeal
55 g buckwheat groats
5 g arrowroot starch or cornstarch
2 teaspoons / 10 g baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
25 g / 1/4 cup dried fruit of choice
30 g / 2 Tbs. frozen grated vegan butter or coconut oil
120 ml / 1/2 cup cold non-dairy milk

  • Preheat oven to very hot 475°F
  • Grind the oats and buckwheat into a fine flour/meal in a coffee or spice grinder. Then add with the remaining dry ingredients into a large bowl.
  • Rub the frozen grated butter or oil into the dry ingredients until it resembles very coarse bread crumbs with some pea-sized pieces.
  • Add the liquid at once into the mixture and stir until it just forms a sticky dough. They will seem a touch wet, but they will end up more tender this way!
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and lightly flour the top of the dough. To achieve a layered effect in your scones knead very gently once (do not press too firmly) then fold and turn the kneaded dough about 3 or 4 times until the dough has formed a smooth texture.
  • Pat or roll out the dough into a 6 inch by 4 inch rectangle or circle that’s a little more than 1 inch thick. Cut or separate it into four equal portions and gently form into rounds.
  • Place the rounds just touching on a baking dish and bake in the preheated very hot oven for about 12 minutes (check at 10 minutes so as to not overbake!) until the scones are well risen and are lightly colored on the tops.
  • Immediately place the pan onto a cooling rack and serve while still warm, or gently reheated.

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Mastering the Humble Scone

It’s time again to share another successful Daring Bakers challenge!  This time around Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host.  Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!

That’s right.  Scones in the rest of the world (as in not the U.S.) are the same thing as our biscuits.   Who would have known? (unless you’ve traveled to England, Ireland, or Australia of course.)  Well, let’s just say that during my time over in Europe, scones made a showing for quick breakfasts to-go while we were catching the morning bus to far-off places.  Usually I’d take the wholemeal versions and W would opt for the creamy white fluffs, like these.

Back in America, I’d mastered the perfect biscuit recipe yielding light and fluffy (and somewhat healthy) results.  But then gluten happened.  Or, shall I say, a reaction to gluten happened, and here I am with a challenge on hand that was more than enough challenge for the first month of the year and baking gluten-free!

I tried several recipes for scones–none of which began as gluten-free because I believe that everyone should have access to this recipe, not just those with special diets.  I did end up deciding that all of Audax’s wonderful work proved correct and she had developed (or discovered) the best basic recipe for the English scone or American biscuit that could be easily adaptable for me.  So I only tweaked my flours a bit, but left the remaining recipe the same for you to try.

Yep, I had a snack mid-shoot!

In the future, I will be creating a wholegrain version of these to satisfy my desire for texture and heft, but for now these do perfectly with a bit of rhubarb jam and a good strong cuppa.  And they will become my go-to for all those friends and fam that don’t share my desire for wholegrain!

And it was quite delicious.

Basic Scones (a.k.a. Basic Biscuits)

Serves about four.  Recipe can be doubled.

Ingredients:

1 cup (140 gm) all-purpose flour or 140 grams all-purpose gluten-free mix plus 3/4 tsp. xanthan gum

2 teaspoons (10 gm) fresh baking powder

¼ teaspoon (1½ gm) salt

2 tablespoons (30 gm) frozen grated butter

approximately ½ cup (120 ml) cold milk

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to very hot 475°F

2. Triple sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. (If your room temperature is very hot refrigerate the sifted ingredients until cold.)

3. Rub the frozen grated butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles very coarse bread crumbs with some pea-sized pieces if you want flaky scones or until it resembles coarse beach sand if you want tender scones.

4. Add nearly all of the liquid at once into the rubbed-in flour/fat mixture and mix until it just forms a sticky dough (add the remaining liquid if needed). The wetter the dough the lighter the scones (biscuits) will be!

5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top of the dough. To achieve an even homogeneous crumb to your scones knead very gently about 4 or 5 times (do not press too firmly) the dough until it is smooth. To achieve a layered effect in your scones knead very gently once (do not press too firmly) then fold and turn the kneaded dough about 3 or 4 times until the dough has formed a smooth texture. (Use a floured plastic scraper to help you knead and/or fold and turn the dough if you wish.)

6. Pat or roll out the dough into a 6 inch by 4 inch rectangle by about ¾ inch thick. Separate into four equal portions and gently form into rounds.

7. Place the rounds just touching on a baking dish if you wish to have soft-sided scones or place the rounds spaced widely apart on the baking dish if you wish to have crisp-sided scones. Lightly flour the tops.

8. Bake in the preheated very hot oven for about 10 minutes (check at 8 minutes since home ovens at these high temperatures are very unreliable) until the scones are well risen and are lightly coloured on the tops. The scones are ready when the sides are set.

9. Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process, serve while still warm.