Sweet Sandy B. Bakes

If we are ever to enjoy life, now is the time. Not tomorrow or next year... Today should always be our most wonderful day...

So, let's eat cake!

Notes on my adventure as a mom and baker and life as Sweet Sandy B...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Kicking Monday's a**- or Buttermilk Cherry Scones

I realize it's Wednesday, BUT I did these on Monday, the day I kicked ass.
Can't begin to tell you all I did, it would be easier to tell you what I DIDN'T do. It was one of those days.

So, after dropping off #1 at pre-school, grocery shopping and taking Moochie to get her bangs trimmed, I settled into these:

I always thought scones were these awful dense bricks that lacked much flavor and were only a vehicle for jam or butter....
Until I came upon this recipe. Here is what you will need:

Pastry Flour, Bread Flour, baking powder, vanilla, eggs, salt, sugar, butter, buttermilk and cherries

I will talk about modifications you can make at the end along w/ the recipe.
First- lets talk about some important steps

You need a fine sifter- or a "chinois". set it right on top of your mixing bowl and then just dump your dry ingredients in the sifter and push through into the bowl. NOTE- ideally, if you ever have flour, baking soda/powder/salt, etc, you should sift them together. Trust me, it will make your final product MUCH better

Then you add the COLD CUBED butter. COLD. not slightly warm, not room temp. Pretty much the exact opposite of the butter consistency from the chocolate cake recipe.

break up the pieces and drop them in the mixer w/ the dry ingredients. Mix until you get small "pebbles"

This works better when the butter is COLD. and you might want to dig down with your spatula (aka your hands) to make sure the butter worked its way down to the bottom too.
Now we add the wet ingredients:

I combine all the wet ingredients in a bowl, then dump them all in at once into the mixing bowl... more on this at the end.
Here is another warning. DO NOT OVERMIX. repeat after me- DO NOT OVERMIX. overmixing = tough dough = dense brick like scone.
SO- you want to almost pulse the mixer. pour the wet in, turn on the mixer. turn it off. turn it on, turn it off. you just want it to BARELY combine:

now you can add the dried cherries

after you pulse the mixer again, you can see if you need more cherries. play it by ear

Now, have a floured work surface ready for the dough because ideally your dough will be wet and sticky

Drop the dough on the flour and then form it into any shape your heart desires but make sure its about 1/2 inch- 1 inch thick. Depends on how big you want your scone. Then get a cookie cutter/biscuit cutter or a knife to cut the dough into the shape you find most pleasing. I used a biscuit cutter because I fancy the handle- it makes it easy to punch it out and it was the first thing I found. :)

**Keep a little pile of flour on the side of your work surface to dip your cookie cutter/biscuit cutter in between cuts. Bc the dough is so wet, it will help the process.

Alright- if you are a planning type person and have room in your freezer- you can stamp these out, put them in a freezer safe container and freeze these puppies to use as needed- 1 or 2 at a time, etc. then you can appear to be a suzy homemaker any day of the week, or if you have an unexpected visitor and you want to impress them like you are the worlds best Mom, (or Dad) or friend. whatever.

**also, you should ideally punch these out as quick as you can bc you want the butter to stay COLD. If you have hot hands- touch the dough as little as possible. You do NOT WANT TO MELT THE BUTTER.

So, punch these out. if you have time, refrigerate them to make sure the BUTTER IS COLD. If not, put them on a baking sheet that is lined w/ a Silpat OR Parchment Paper:

Now you need to egg wash these (do you have a pastry brush? get one) and then sprinkle sugar on top. Employ child labor as needed

The egg wash in this case was just a whisked together egg w/ a pinch of salt and a tiny bit of water. What does an egg wash do? well, it adds a golden 'sheen' and kind of seals the top. The sugar adds a nice crunch because it will slightly caramelize (aka melt) and add MORE of a golden color. Just do it, trust me.

Throw these in a 425 oven for about 20 minutes.. you will know they are done when they turn that golden brown color AND they have raised and puffed up:

These are NOT meant to be super sweet. They are a breakfast pastry and also delightful with tea, if you are that kind of person.
Moochie and #1 dig these with extra butter in the middle.

Some notes:
-You can add ANYTHING to this basic recipe. If you want raisins or any other dried or FRESH fruit, by all means- swap them out for the cherries. If you aren't a fruit fan, leave them all out and you can add nuts or any sort of chip- chocolate, peanut butter- butterscotch... But if you are a purist, leave these plain and serve them with butter and jam.
-Also, make sure you use an appropriate sized mixing bowl/mixer. I made this recipe in my KitchenAid Artisan- which is I believe a 3 or 4 qt. mixer. My dough really really wanted to escape the bowl. I should have used my KitchenAid Professional (which is STILL IN THE BOX, four months later....) because it has a 5 QT bowl. Or, I could have cut the recipe in half. So, if you are making this recipe and plan to eat them same day, I would cut the provided recipe in HALF.
-Shapes- a traditional scone is either a circle OR a long triangle- like a wedge/slice of pie. People might recognize and know what it is if you present it in that traditional shape.
-Butter- the higher quality butter you can find/use/afford- the better. AND, we want the butter cold because when butter melts, it evaporates water. We want this to happen- but while its in the oven because that's what helps create those pretty layers I tried to show you in that final picture. Which is also the same thought process when you are making croissants. You want those air pockets :) unless you want a brick of a scone

I'll shut up now and HERE is the recipe: (I hope you have a kitchen scale- or can Google a conversion chart)
-12 oz bread flour (approx 1 and 1/2 cup)
-12 oz Pastry flour (most grocery stores now have multiple kinds of flour and if you cant find pastry flour, use cake flour)
-3 oz sugar plus more for sprinkling at the end
-.25 oz salt
-1.5 oz baking powder
-1/2 lb of cold cubed butter (two sticks of butter)
-5 oz eggs (about 2 1/2 eggs- so... crack open THREE eggs, add two to the other liquids and scramble the 3rd and save 1/2 of that third egg for your egg wash)
-13 oz buttermilk (or whole milk, depends on what flavor you want)
-1 tblsp. vanilla
-1 1/2 cups cherries

bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes.. MAY take longer depending on your oven.

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