Sometimes I will be eating a baked good and a feeling will come over me like – what is happening here? How can something taste SO GOOD? How can whoever made this (even if it's me) so intimately know the cravings of my heart and mind? Noises will come out of my mouth that try to be words and…there are none that truly describe the transcendent effect of pastry done right. “Mmpf” and “Ergghh” and “Ungh” and other such guttural delicacies escape. If there is someone in the room with me also eating said baked good we will exchange knowing looks through eyelashes lowered in ecstasy. If I am alone, I catch myself still reacting. Out loud. My downstairs neighbours might have thought I was otherwise engaged this morning had I not come down and shared the wealth of what I discovered to be the best scones I have ever made.
Granted, the answer to “how can something taste SO GOOD?” is really about love – the attention and care you give to bringing your ingredients together. The end results really do love you back. The answer is also often butter. Or cream. Or sugar. Or, in the case of these scones - all three, which tend to love you back in a decidedly physical way. I recently made a quiche for which I needed cream, and the grocery store only had the full litre containers left. My inner baker was elated to look for opportunities to lovingly use all that cream and my inner desire to look good in pants was overruled. Ah well, who needs pants? Cream Scones it is.
Cold cubes of butter are massaged into flour, baking powder, lemon zest, sugar, and a touch of salt. Fresh cranberries are given a quick blitz in a food processor with a bit of sugar and folded into the batter with some chopped candied ginger.
A full cup of cream is indulgently combined with beaten egg and vanilla and added to the dry ingredients along with a heaping tablespoon of Astro Balkan-Style yogurt.
The dough is rather sticky and wet, but that is a good thing. You want this.
Simply flour your work surface and your hands liberally and it is easily patted down to about 3/4 of an inch. I chose to shape it into a rectangle and slice it into 18 squares, but feel free to use a pastry cutter or the rim of a glass or a jar to cut out circles, or cut on the diagonal for triangles.
The scones are then transferred onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, treated to a brush of cream and baked until lightly golden.
The scones come out a cranberry-kissed shade of pink and look very pretty sitting on a white plate for about 2.5 seconds, after which you eat one, you know, just to try it.
You are a lady (or a gentleman) eating pale pink scones for breakfast. How dignified. How rich. How buttery smooth and creamy and perfectly moist in the crumb. How flirtatious with that hit of ginger. You ask yourself where those noises are coming from and you realize it’s you. You eat another one (three) and realize if you don’t find a home for the remaining 14, you will be fat and you might not care, they are that luxurious. I ran downstairs to give some to my neighbour who was very willing to help me eat them as she is pregnant and busy marking papers and I packed the rest up to give to my piano teacher who promised to eat them with more cream - whipped cream she had in the fridge - a gal after my own heart.
Fresh Cranberry Scones with Lemon & Candied Ginger - My take on a recipe from Gourmet combined with my go-to biscuit recipe from The Fanny Farmer Cookbook by Marion Cunningham
OVEN: 375 F
2 1/2 CUPS all-purpose flour
1/2 CUP plus 3 TBSP sugar
1 TBSP baking powder
1/2 TSP salt
6 TBSP (3/4 stick) cold salted butter, cubed
1 1/4 CUPS fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
1 TBSP lemon zest
2 TBSP candied ginger
1 egg, beaten
1 TSP vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
1 heaping TBSP Astro Balkan Style Yogurt (feel free to use another brand, but this one is amazing)
Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest. Cut in cold butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.
In a food processor, coarsely chop fresh cranberries with 3 TBSP sugar. Finely chop candied ginger and gently fold both ginger and cranberries into butter/flour mixture.
Beat egg and add vanilla and heavy cream. Pour onto dry ingredients and top with a heaping tablespoon of yogurt. Stir until just combined. Dough will be wet, sticky and heavy - this is a good thing.
Give your counter-top an ample dusting of flour and place dough on top. Flour your hands really well, and carefully press the dough down to a uniform shape about 3/4 of an inch thick, re-flouring your hands as necessary. This is where you can get creative. Cut circles from your dough with a pastry cutter or glass jar. Form a rectangle and cut squares, or cut along the diagonal to make triangles. Very carefully flour a sharp knife to cut the dough and use a spatula to transfer scones to a parchment-lined baking sheet, keeping them close together, but not touching.
Gently brush the tops of the scones with additional cream (this will help make the tops brown nicely) and bake for about 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven, until tops are golden.
These scones taste like being speechless with ecstasy feels, so indulge in as many as you like on your own and share the rest with friends.