April 19, 2009

Sunday breakfast

When I woke up this morning, Mark asked an innocent question: "Tea or coffee?"
My answer: "A pot of tea -- but only if you make scones."
My darling husband responded: "Give me a recipe and I'll make whatever you want."

Cream Scones
from America's Test Kitchen Cookbook

OK, seriously: these scones are pretty close to perfect. The texture is tender and light and moist, light years away from the the leaden specimens you might find sitting in a glass case at Starbucks. Also? Pretty, easy and fast to make. It takes a little skill to cut the butter in, but not much.

I felt a little decadent this morning and served these with loosely whipped cream and Mark's dad's homemade blackberry preserves.

P.S. to Julia: Cut with a biscuit cutter, these would be totally perfect for strawberry shortcake.

2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1/2 cup currants (I left these out this time)
1 cup heavy cream

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Heat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Add flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl (or work bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade). Whisk together (or pulse, in food processor, 6 times).

3. If making by hand: use two knives, a pastry blender, or your fingertips and quickly cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few slightly larger butter lumps. Add currants, if using. (If using food processor: remove cover and distribute butter evenly over dry ingredients. Cover and pulse 12 times, each pulse lasting 1 second. Add currants and pulse once more. Transfer dough to a large bowl.)

4. Stir in heavy cream with a rubber spatula or fork until dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.

5. Transfer everything to countertop and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, sticky ball, about 5 to 10 seconds. To form scones: Press the dough into an 8 inch cake pan. Then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, cutting the dough into 8 wedges with either a knife or a bench scraper.

6. Place wedges on ungreased baking sheet. (At this point, I like to sprinkle the tops with a bit of granulated sugar.) Bake until scone tops are lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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