Sunday, September 6, 2015

Simple Scones {Vegan option!}

Hello! I've been debating what recipe would be the perfect one to open Bliss with. Should it be a cupcake recipe, since cupcakes are my favorite? Should it be something popular? I ended up picking a breakfast recipe, though, because what better to open a baking blog with than the first meal of the day? This recipe is incredibly popular in my house, because it can be easily veganized.





Scones are not exactly a baking staple for many people. I'm not sure why, because they are incredibly easy and fast, once you know the technique! When I make up a batch of scones, they only seem to last a couple of days (at most!) before mysteriously vanishing... ;) To begin, you simply mix all of the dry ingredients together.


The thing to keep in mind when making scones is that the mixing process is very specific. This process, shared by biscuits and some pie crusts, is actually called the biscuit mixing method. The biscuit method requires your fat to be cold. You mix together all of your dry ingredients, and then you cut the fat in using either a fork, two knifes, a pastry cutter, or your hands. (I like to use my hands, but a fork is nice too. You press the tines down on the butter pieces so that they are broken up into smaller and smaller fragments, and concentrate on mixing them in with the dry ingredients. (Note: If you wear any jewelry on your fingers, now is the time to take it off, because rings with stones will get clogged with dough very easily!)


When the fat is mixed in and there are no pieces larger than a pea, you add your liquid ingredients. This stage can be slightly confusing, because the recipe calls for a full cup of heavy cream, but you're actually trying to make more of a dough than a batter. If you put in too much cream, your batter will be too wet and sticky. You want it to be just wet enough to adhere together, but not wet enough to stick to the bowl or cutting board. I recommend adding about 1/3 cup to begin with, and mixing it in. If it is still too dry, add a little bit more at a time, mixing well, until the right consistency is reached. I have never used a full cup of cream with this recipe, although it is good to have on hand just in case you need to add a little bit more.


When your dough has come together, you should invert it onto a hard surface. I use a cutting board. Then you knead it by hand, mixing in all of the small bits that haven't yet gotten incorporated. Once the dough is completely mixed, shape it into a circle. You don't want it to be too thin; I usually press it out so that it is a couple of inches thick.


The cutting technique is simple; you want to end up with eight evenly-sized wedges. Use a sharp knife to make four intersecting cuts straight through the middle of the circle of dough. Using your fingers or a spatula, lift each wedge off the board and position on a greased or lined baking tray.




Because these scones have no eggs, they bake quickly. The baking powder and high heat give them their height; and the pieces of butter give them their flaky texture. They are best warm, although the jury is still out on how to garnish them: I prefer them plain, but my mother likes them best with a dollop of jam and a smear of butter.


To veganize, simply use non-dairy buttery sticks (I like Earth Balance) and non-dairy creamer.


Simple Scones

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Process:

  1. Preheat oven to 425ยบ and grease or line a baking tray.
  2. Comine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a bowl.
  3. Cut butter into cubes, then add to dry ingredients. Cut in using a pastry cutter or two knives, breaking the butter into smaller pieces while mixing with the dry ingredients. When butter pieces are no larger than peas, and mixed throughout, it is sufficiently incorporated.
  4. Add cream, a little bit at a time, and mix well to form dough.
  5. When dough begins to come together, invert onto a hard surface and hand-knead to incorporate any loose pieces of dough. Fold the dough in on itself, and then press it out with your palms, to ensure even mixing.
  6. Shape and flatten the dough into a circle a few inches thick.
  7. Cut into eighths and position on baking tray.
  8. Bake in the middle of the oven, for 12-15 minutes or until brown.

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