Serve up some scones
Nothing says ‘I’ve got this whole baking mama thing DOWN’ than being able to present a freshly baked batch of scones to the kiddly-winks as an after school treat, amiright? Mr E was having a playdate with his school friend (which included her mum and little sister), so it seemed the perfect opportunity to
show off my skillz provide the growing young children with sustenance after a hard day at school.
Now, I don’t have a lot of experience with scones, but I know enough about them to know that they are simple to make, yet very difficult to make well. My fears were only heightened when the ‘Difficulty’ rating of the recipe was listed as ‘Capable Cooks’. Gulp. I’d been hoping for ‘Pretty Crap Cooks Who Are Starting To Get A Bit Better’ but I was fresh out of luck. Still, with only five ingredients, how far wrong could I go? (I ignored the little voice in my head reminding me that I once stuffed up a two ingredient recipe. That was weeks ago, little voice! I have made ground!)
First step: place 3 1/2 cups self-raising flour, 2 tablespoons caster sugar and a pinch of salt into a bowl. (I decided to halve the recipe so that if I stuffed it up I wouldn’t have so many to throw away – how’s that for confidence?! – but I’m giving you the full amount here.) Then add 60g of chopped butter (naturally I placed in the full amount, forgetting to halve it, so then had to fish out what I hoped was 30g worth…). Rub into flour with fingertips until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Does anyone else find rubbing butter into flour an agonising process? Not sure if I’ve just got weak hand tendons or something, but I find myself almost cramping up within about a minute. Don’t know how the grannies do it. Respect.
Anyhow, my mixture finally resembles ‘fine breadcrumbs’… at least, I think. Pretty sure I’ve never actually seen fine breadcrumbs. All the breadcrumbs I see are regular crumb sized. But all the butter seems to have gone and my hands can’t take any more, so I’m stopping.
Now make the ubiquitous well in the centre, and add 1.5 cups of buttermilk. ‘Using a flat-bladed knife, stir until dough almost comes together,’ declares the recipe. A flat-bladed knife? Isn’t that a bit of a tautology? Isn’t that like saying ‘a pronged fork’? Alrighty then, putting aside all my hump-bladed knives (pffft!), I stir with a butter knife, careful not to overwork the mixture. (The cardinal sin of scone making!)
Then place on a lightly floured surface and ‘knead gently until dough comes together’. Never have I kneaded with such trepidation.
Gently (are you getting this? Be CAREFUL, people!) press out to about 3cm thick and cut out rounds with a 5cm cutter, before GENTLY pressing leftover dough pieces back together until you’ve DELICATELY cut out 16 scones – or eight in my case. (Geez scones. High maintenance, much?)
Nestle the scones together in a square cake pan (or if you’re being pedantic, an 8cm deep, 19cm base square cake pan. Lordy, how many different square cake pans am I supposed to have in my arsenal? Lucky I halved the recipe!). Bake at 220 degrees Celsius (200 degrees fan forced) for 15 to 17 minutes until ‘light golden and hollow when tapped on top’. Take my advice and check them a tad earlier, I opened the oven at exactly 15 minutes and saved my oh-so-sensitive scones from burning by the skin of my teeth.
And, well, if I don’t mind saying, they were tasty. Light, fluffy, buttery and all those other things a scone should be (can’t think of any right now). Yay, me! Did the kids like them? Well, we will never know, because I didn’t offer them any – these scones are too good to only have one bite taken out of them so they’re all for the grown-ups, mwahahaha!
Verdict: Rousing success!
Lessons Learnt: Somewhere out there, there are breadcrumbs that are a lot finer than those usually seen. Somewhere out there, there are knives that don’t have flat blades. Who knew?
Any scone lovers in the house?