My former boss and dear British friend, Debbie, invited me and her co-worker, Becky, to her home for an afternoon of “Skon” baking followed by a BBQ with our husbands. Our goal was to try several different scone recipes and find one we liked the best. Of course, Debbie served the scones with jam and clotted cream (my first time trying this decedent topping.)
Since I’d only made scones one time before, I went hunting for a perfect scone recipe and stumble upon the American Test Kitchen Dreamy Cream Scone recipe posted on Smitten Kitchen. Deb describes them as “the height of scone perfection, a pastry dream-come-true.” So I knew this would be a perfect recipe to try. I changed it up a bit and added orange zest to the sugar and substitute tart dried cherries for the currants. I, like Deb, thought this was a fabulous scone recipe and one I would definitely make again.
In addition to my Orange Cherry Scones, Debbie made delicious raisin, and chocolate chip scones. Becky made two savory scones, a cheese scone that had a flavor reminiscent of cheese crackers and a bacon, cheese and onion scone that would be especially delicious for breakfast.
For the BBQ, I brought along a Candied Walnut Salad that Kate from Our Best Bites posted in 2008. The candied walnuts are easy to make and add a delightful crunch to the salad. I’m sure that’s why they called it a candied walnut salad, because they are definitely the highlight of this beautiful salad.
- 2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, preferably a low-protein brand such as Gold Medal or Pillsbury
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons sugar, combined with 1 T. of orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped into smaller bits
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425°F.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in large bowl.
- Use two knives, a pastry blender or your fingertips and quickly cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in cherries.
- Stir in heavy cream with a rubber spatula or fork until dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.
- Transfer dough and all dry, floury bits to countertop and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. Form scones by either a) pressing the dough into an 8-inch cake pan, then turning the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, cutting the dough into 8 wedges with either a knife or bench scraper (the book’s suggestion) or b) patting the dough onto a lightly floured work surface into a 3/4-inch thick circle, cutting pieces with a biscuit cutter, and pressing remaining scraps back into another piece (what I did) and cutting until dough has been used up. (Be warned if you use this latter method, the scones that are made from the remaining scraps will be much lumpier and less pretty, but taste fine. As in, I understand why they suggested the first method.)
- Place rounds or wedges on ungreased baking sheet and bake until scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Next time I make this recipe I will egg wash the scones by whisking 1 egg and a little milk together and brushing the egg wash on the top of each scone so they brown up nicer.
This post is included in the International Scones Incident Party roundup hosted by Penny at Jeroxie. Stop by and check out all the other scrumptious scones:
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