Guests? Try this!

sconesontable

When Antonia was a little bitty girl I made almost everything from scratch. Yogurt, bread, tortillas, pies, cookies, pancakes, jams and pizza. I haven’t learned how to make pasta yet, but I’m going to. I’ve been watching that lovely older Italian woman on PBS lately and she’s inspiring me. With all the talk of Returning to Victory Gardens, and the price of energy and a really practical need to move back to self reliance (oh, yes, my darlings–just watch us reach back and grab every agricultural baby we threw out in the industrial bathwater) I’m more determined than ever to reclaim my 60’s roots and get off the agribiz fast train. For you and for me.

So one of the weekly routines I am now building into my schedule is to automatically make scones. And today I thought you might like to join me, and I’d teach you how to do it, as, frankly? As simple as the recipe is, unless you are skilled and comfy with dough, it can be frustrating and tricky. Even scary. Seriously. So I literally climbed up a ladder this morning in the kitchen and shot a couple of steps so you could see how it should look. If you are a visual learner like I am, you will be reassured. And once you do it successfully, you will see how utterly easy and fast they are and what a lovely addition they will be to your family life. What I particularly like, and am doing, is popping the ones that do not get eaten on the first day into individual bags in the freezer and then I know they are there, for tea, in the morning. Simple. Simple and inexpensive. What does Starbucks charge for a scone, might I ask?

Okey dokey, this is what you do.

Orange Current Scones

Put two cups of all purpose flour in a bowl. Add a pinch of salt. Add 1/3 cup of sugar. Add 1 tablespoon of baking powder. But here’s the trick. Before you put the baking powder in the flour bowl, put it in a small open bowl and crush it down with a spoon to make sure each crumb is in its tiniest form. Otherwise you chance getting a bite that is acrid. See? OK, whisk these ingredients together.

Now. Take a stick of cold butter (don’t cheat, mama) and chop off about a half inch. And then take the big part and cut it into pats. And throw the pats in. And then you need to chop that in with a pastry blender. (Yes, you must use a real pastry blender. And please don’t even think about using any kind of electric machine at this step. You will ruin it.) They always tell you that the goal is to get the mixture looking like peas, but the truth is it’s never going to look like peas, dear readers. Never. Just chop at it and after a remarkably short amount of time you will see there are no big butter lumps in there. That’s when you know you’ve accomplished this step. It’s very fast. You’ll see. Then gently mix in a half cup of currents. You can use raisins if you prefer, but currents are more fun. Trust me.

Then in a separate bowl you crack a large egg. (If you use a small one this recipe will go to you know where in a handbasket and you will be so sorry.) And then you pour in a half cup of cream. Now I’m going to tell you what I’m using here. First I only use organic eggs that came from free range chickens. If you watch the movie “Baraka” you will know why. I’m sure you can get it on Netflix. Secondly I am using Horizon organic whipping cream. It’s expensive as all get out, but this recipe only requires a small amount and it lasts, and I’m making these weekly, so it just boils down to very little over time. So that’s what I’m doing. Do what you need to do. OK, mix those up. Then throw in some finely grated organic orange peel. (You don’t want to add pesticides at this stage of the mix, now do you?) I use at least one teaspoon. It smells delicious.

OK, now this is the part where easy could get weird, and that’s why I took photos for you.

You add the egg/cream mixture to the flour mixture. Just dump it on top. However, now you need to mix with a wooden spoon, minimally. Your mind is going to say, “It’s not mixed up. What do I do with all those crumbs??” When you get to the point where it’s pretty mixed up, put down the spoon. (Have I lost anyone yet?) Now with clean hands, start kneading the dough in the center of the bowl so it begins picking up all those wayward crumbs and loose flour around the edges. Again, you don’t want to do this for very long. At the point at which you think it’s more or less together (i.e, don’t work it until it looks all neat and tidy–it will be overworked and, hello, you will melt all that nice cold butter with your warm fingers and then guess what? They will not be flakey. Bummer.) then flip the dough onto a lightly floured board.
OK, this is the hardest part, OK? You can do it. Start working the dough into a round flat circle, around ten inches across and about an inch high. NOW you can get those naughty ones worked in to the sides of your circle. If they absolutely refuse, leave them. The quality of the cold underworked dough is the most important part. After you do this a couple of times you will become comfortable with this part and you will be amazed how fast you can get it into the proper shape. The butter is your glue, but you want it to stay cold. Here’s what it should look like:

scone round

Now. Take a big knife and cut the circle of dough in half. Now quarter it. Now cut the quarters in half. So now you have eight triangles of scones. Easy.
Scones in triangles

Dabble a bit of cream on top of each scone and then drizzle a bit of sugar on top of that with your fingers.

Pop in an oven on an ungreased cookie sheet, preheated to 475 degrees F. And bake them miraculously for only about 15 minutes!

Voila!

scones out of oven

Now place your scrumptious scones on a cooling rack to cool.

scones cooling

How would you like to serve them? This is what I did this morning. A vase of fresh flowers from the farmer’s market. A lovely blue and white Spode setting in the garden.

sconesingarden

Pretty is a good thing.

Love and garden blessings,
Kathryn xoxox

26 Responses to “Guests? Try this!”

  1. Oh, what wonderful directions! Yes, I cannot have wheat and avoid dairy, however, there are lots of recipes for gf scones, and I do so love them. With your directions, I think I can see how to improve on my making.

    I smile as I read your article. I, too, am a child of the 60s, and I made all my son’s food, grew an enormous organic garden. You remind me that I have good skills for today.

  2. Hi, CurtissAnn! Yes, I do remember that you and Dee may not eat gluten. Hope you can find an alternative that works for you. And, yes, we learned some good things back then. Btw, I just ordered one of your books from Amazon! Can’t wait! xox

  3. Pretty IS a good thing – a large part of the enjoyment of such a lovely tray is how it is presented. :) The scones look light and delicious and a perfect partner for a hot morning coffee or tea. Thank you for the great directions!

  4. Hi, Nancy, thank you for stopping by (and for the pick!). It was a fun project, which I’d never really done before. As I was setting it up I found myself thinking, “Oh, Lordie, I’m turning into David Perry!” LOL!
    He’s so good at orchestrating. This was my version! Kathryn xox

  5. Kathryn, those look absolutely scrumptious! I appreciate your organic sensibilities. I buy as much organic and free-range as I can, and make almost everything from scratch. I was raised that way, that’s how I raised my own daughters, and that’s how I still shop and eat. I’m lucky to have a great food co-op, several farmers markets, and a wonderful natural foods store nearby.

    I envy my mom who lives in Amish farm country and can get her meats and dairy organic, free-range, unprocessed, unpasturized, and fresh from the farm. She has a huge garden and grows all her own vegetables, herbs, and many fruits. She still grinds her own grain and makes her own bread. Her community is the epitome of the locavore movement. That’s the life!

  6. What a wonderful background to draw from, Linda! And how fortunate that you passed that all along to your daughters! And lucky you to have all those resources at hand–and to know how to take advantage of it all! I’m still finding my way in Mendocino, but it’s a great place to learn. Lots of earthy people! Thanks for coming by. Kathryn :)

  7. Always a gal after my own heart, you have again captured it, Kathryn. What a great post … you put me to shame. Please come photograph and describe my humble offerings! *BIG HUGS*

  8. These sound lovely, and much easier on the pocketbook than the cranberry and orange scones I love at Whole Foods!

  9. Hi, friend Joey! I was thinking of you this morning. Any compliment from you is a big one. I can only dream of becoming the cook you are, my dear! So, thank you! Kathryn xoxo

  10. Lori, I hear you! I was really hooked on those little blueberry scones in Whole Foods in AZ! Light and flakey and way overpriced! I have taken things in my own hands, literally! Try them! You’ll be glad! And, yes, I have a little stash of dried cranberries waiting to make their way into my next batch! Kathryn xox

  11. Yum. Your pictures were great and when my children saw this post, they all said, “oh mom, you HAVE to make those!” Thanks for a great recipe and fantastic pictures.

  12. Hi, Tonia! Now that’s not anything I had anticipated–children looking over Mom’s shoulder and voting for the scones! Too cute! Thanks for sharing! Kathryn xox

  13. It didn’t used to bother me to buy everything at the grocery store, Mom always did. As I get older I am finding that I’d love to make all of this stuff myself and grow my own food. I mean, that used to be a woman’s job in the house right? How much healthier did people used to be? Somehow I just can’t help but wonder if all of the convienience foods are what is fueling the increasing rates of cancer and other diseases as well as obesity.

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful how-to!

  14. Hi, Cinj, I think you are thinking some wise thoughts there about store bought food. Do you read the labels? If I can’t pronounce something on the package, I’m probably not going to buy it. Is there a farmer’s market near your home? I find it so gratifying to buy from the locals. Also, I learned from my cousin Julie (who is researching the flowers for cemeteries, if you happened to read that post) that the money given to people who grow things locally makes the rounds there in your own community five or six times before it leaves. Whereas if we give our money to supermarkets, that money leaves our community immediately.
    Isn’t that amazing? And, yes, the fats used in most packaged food is ofttimes dangerous for us. Start with knowing which fats you are putting in your body, Cinj. It’s a real eye opener! Good for you for thinking about what is best for you and your family! Bravo. Kathryn

  15. Kathryn: Great recipe. Before I became diabetic, scones were standard breakfast food around here. We packed them with dried fruit and nuts and used a buttermilk base to reduce calories, could be eaten on the run. Now, while not every day, I make them with whole wheat flour and use golden raisins which are not sweetened in sugar like most of the other dried fruits. Also works with fresh frozen blueberries or bits of apple or pear. If you cannot get the butter to break up sufficiently, you can rub it as bit with your fingers but not too much or it will melt.. I think that scones have an “English”, and therefore, elevated mystique to them, but for the good cook, if you think buttermilk or cream biscuits, it becomes less of an intimidation.

  16. Hi, Julie! Another scone fan! I will try with buttermilk. That’s a good idea. It surely makes the difference with cornbread and aebleskiver–but that’s another lesson. I will save for the holidays. (That’s a long way off!)
    Yes, I do think the sheer sound of scones can be off-putting. But folks are also put off by pie crusts! I think baking is on the wane, right up there with canning and preserving and I bet it’s all coming back into vogue.
    Kathryn xox

  17. That picture put several calories on me and the honey I had with it didn’t help any. I love scones. My last day of work is this Friday and I’m going to cook up a storm. If you see the mideastern half of the US catch on fire–pay no attention–it’s my oven. I’ve burned it out.
    Anna-Flowergardengirl
    Hey–I’m working on my new blog.

  18. Anna, you are hilarious! Good luck on the blog! Kathryn xox

  19. Hi mom,
    Wow! What a Gorgeous post! Those look so yummy!
    And, way to break it down for everyone! Lovely!
    Love you,
    Antonia

  20. Hi, Antonia! Thanks! Next time you come up I will make you some! Love, Mommie D

  21. Those look absolutely tasty!!! Yummmmm(-; Very good directions I might add. You are a good teacher(-: I also love the setting with the blue and white spode. Very elegant!!!

  22. Welcome, Cindee! Thanks for your kind words and for stopping by. Hope you will try them and enjoy! Kathryn xox

  23. Hello

    I am so impressed that someone can make a recipe for making scones interesting!

    Making scones for my family is an ordinary, boring occurrence – not at all the stuff of blogs – yet I read every word!

    Of course, your’sare extra-lurious compared with mine – I don’t use butter or cream or egg (and, until I too became gluten intolerant, I especially liked cheese ones – which is very common-or-garden).

    It’s the presentation that ‘gets’ me – your photos – your beautiful plate. (What a plate! ! )

    I never get as far as ‘presenting’ my scones though – they get dumped in the middle of the kitchen table, still on the cooling rack.

    I haven’t come across a pastry blender before (I use my fingers).

    And not being neat, I roll the dough into a sausage shape and chop bits off (as if it were a carrot) so the scones are in circles. (Then rolling isn’t necessary.)

    I don’t have a fridge, so this is the time of year when milk starts going off. Using milk that has ‘turned’ makes the scones especially light.

    You’ve got me wittering on now.! It’s that plate what did it!

    Esther Montgomery
    ESTHER IN THE GARDEN

  24. LOL! Oh, Esther, this is too precious! I’d LOVE to see your recipe! When I got to the “no butter, cream or egg” I was wondering what was left! Spoiled milk, I guess. :) Too funny! Well, how’s about this? You try mine and I will try yours. The cheese is a very good idea. I did lemon/dried cranberry this morning and I’m glad you’ve given me the excuse to add I’ve added a step. I’m hitting the edge of the round with the flat of my knife as the edge is the most vulnerable part and that step shores it up.

    I know. I know. I’m like this about everything, Esther. You’ll be happy to know I found the Spode at Ross. Except you’re in the UK and I’m quite certain Ross has not hopped the pond. Just think DISCOUNT! :)

    Cheers!
    Kathryn

  25. They look delicious! I will give them a try, I’ve not made scones before. I’m sure my family will love them.

    What a beautiful table setting!

    Love,
    Susan

  26. Hi, Susan! Yes, do! Thanks! Let me know how they turn out! Enjoy! Love, Kathryn

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