I got introduced to the word scone only after I started blogging and I had an instant liking for it. I have been planning to make them for quite some time but I had my own apprehensions. I finally got over them and attempted making my ‘First One’s’.
Before I start explaining what I made, let’s get introduced with this term properly. I did read a lot of blogs and surfed the net to understand them and the best explanation was given by joy of baking and jugalbandi and thus my final conclusions are:
There are two ways to pronounce scone; "Skon" and "Skoan".The origin of the name 'scone' is just as unclear as where it came from. Some say the name comes from where the Kings of Scotland were crowned, the Stone (Scone) of Destiny. Others believe the name is derived from the Dutch word "schoonbrot" meaning fine white bread or from the German word "sconbrot" meaning 'fine or beautiful bread'. Still others say it comes from the Gaelic 'sgonn' a shapeless mass or large mouthful.They were first made with oats, shaped into a large round, scored into four to six triangles, and cooked on a griddle either over an open fire or on top of the stove.
This small cake is a quick bread, similar to an American biscuit, made of wheat flour (white or wholemeal), sugar, baking powder/baking soda, butter, milk (whole, half and half, light cream, heavy cream, buttermilk, yogurt, etc.), and sometimes eggs. This produces a soft and sticky dough that has the ratio one part liquid to three parts wheat flour. It needs to be baked in a moderate to hot oven so the dough sets quickly thereby producing a light scone with a light to golden brown floury top and bottom with white sides. The texture of the interior of the scone should be light and soft, and white in color.
The key to making good tender scones lies in handling the dough. The dough has to handled gently and not over kneaded.
I made my scones low in fat and high in nutrific value. They have a nice hard crispy crust and soft and flaky inside. One can add veggies of their choice. The ones I have added surely have a nice aroma. The scones were perfect and I won over all my apprehensions and am ready to try the sweet versions.
Ingredients for the Scones
Makes 82 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
8 oz crumbled cottage cheese/ ricotta cheese (I used home made low fat)
1tbsp+2tsp Baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1 cup milk
1 egg or 2 egg whites
1/4 tsp carrom seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp red chili pwd
4 mushrooms finely chopped
4-5 tbsp chopped cilantro
2 large or 4 small scallions chopped
1 green chili chopped
egg white/milk for glazing
The correct mixing of the ingredients is crucial in producing an excellent scone. One can use an electric mixer but I used my hands. Mixing by hand helps to prevent over mixing of the dough.
To begin, the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder) are whisked together in a large bowl. Initially I used only 2 1/2 cups flour and reserved the remaining.
Next the cottage cheese is cut into the flour until it looks like coarse crumbs. When it is worked into the flour mixture it becomes small, flour- coated crumbs, not a smooth dough. This method is similar to how a pie dough is made and gives the scone a wonderful delicate and flaky texture.
This is the point add in the chopped veggies, spices, and other flavorings are added.
Mix milk and egg together.The wet ingredients so mixed together separately and then added to the flour mixture. Only mix the dough until it comes together. This dough should not be overworked and that a light hand is needed. The test will be in the results. If you end up with a hard and doughy scone, you will know to mix the dough less the next time you make them.
If you find your dough sticky, add the reserved flour and mix.
When the dough is mixed, gather it up in your hands and place on a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough a few times to make it a cohesive mass and then roll or pat it into a 7 inch (18 cm) round that is about 1 inch (2.54 cm) high.
Cut it like a pizza, first through the middle, then into quarters, and then into eight wedges. Use a very sharp knife (preferably serrated) for this. Clean cuts enable the scones to rise better. ( I used a pizza cutter dipped in flour)
Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and brush with an egg /milk wash, if desired. Using an egg wash gives the scone a nice appearance and helps with browning.
Bake the scones in a preheated oven at 400 F.
Scones that are placed close together, that is almost touching, will have soft sides and their crusts will be less crispy. If you place them further apart the scones will be crusty all over. The scones are done when they are nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of the scone comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack. If you want crusty scones, cool them uncovered. If a softer crust is desired, then wrap the hot scones in a clean dish towel. Scones are best served warm. Serve them with butter or cream cheese.