Sunday, January 13, 2013

It's Sunday. Have a scone.

It's January and it's been dark and dreary here in Dingle, (except for a few days last week which dawned bright and beautiful). 
Look closely and you'll see that my dog really enjoyed those days.

Many of you will be on restrictive diets following the excess of Christmas (for my part, I have resolved not to eat any more chocolate - or at least to eat far, far less than the masses of chocolate bars, chocolate truffles, chocolate cake and biscuits I was eating over the festive season).

But it's dark outside and January is depressing enough without adding to its list of woes by depriving ourselves of all that is indulgent and good. This is why I decided to cheer myself up with some scones - which are sweet and comforting without being too heavy or rich.

On top of that, these scones are quick to make and use ingredients that most of us have in our cupboards, just waiting to be turned into something as delicious as this. 

These scones are made to a recipe we honed in the café last year. Our customers really like them, particularly the blueberry ones. The ones I've made here are plain but you can transform them into blueberry ones (or sultana, raisin, currant or any other variety) by throwing a handful of what you fancy into the mix. What I usually do is make the basic mixture, add any extras and knead them all gently together at the kneading stage.

Recipe (makes six)
225g self raising flour
60g butter
30g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
One and a half teaspoons of baking powder
1 egg
125ml milk (plus a little extra for glazing the top)
  • Preheat your oven to 200C/400F/Gas mark 6.
  • Weigh your ingredients.
  • Combine the flour and the butter in a mixing bowl, rubbing the butter into the flour using your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. 
  • Add the salt, caster sugar and baking power and stir using a wooden spoon.
  • Stir in the egg and milk until both are fully incorporated.
  • By this stage, your dough should be ready to handle. If it's still too sticky, add some more flour until you feel comfortable using it.
  • Flour your surface and place the dough on it. Knead it for a minute or two (adding any fruit or berries at this stage) and then roll or pat it out to a thickness of approximately two centimetres.
  • Use a scone cutter or glass to cut the scones to your chosen size.
  • Flour a baking tray and place your scones on it. Brush them with some milk.
  • Place in your pre-heated oven and cook for approximately 15 minutes. I made six scones with this dough and they had risen and turned a golden yellow colour within 16 minutes. If you've made more or less, you'll have to adjust your cooking time accordingly. Your oven temperature may also be slightly different so I'd recommend checking the scones from 14 minutes onwards.
Once your scones have cooked, allow them to cool on a wire tray before you make yourself a cup of tea and whip some cream. Make sure you've got a jar of good jam on standby too. In the café, we use Folláin Jams and I'd also recommend Bonne Maman Jams.

It's January. It's Sunday. What better time to have a scone?
If you were to start baking now, you'd  be tucking into a freshly made scone an hour from now. What are you waiting for? It's just the thing to cheer anyone up this Sunday.

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