Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Back by Popular Demand...

So, you're all a bunch of scone-loving freaks, huh? I love it!!! (And it takes one to know one.) Here's the deal. These really are the best scones ever. Once I found this recipe, I can't bring myself to make any other. I also can't stomach eating scones from coffee shops, because my experiences with them, post-having the best scones ever, has been dismal, at best. All other scones are sub-standard, blog-friends, really. You deserve better. Here is the recipe, with Megan-Commentary dispersed in the mix. It comes from no other than the best- Cooks Illustrated. You can find the recipe for FREE here, at America's Test Kitchen (CI's affiliated PBS TV show) complete with instructional illustrations, which are helpful, making this EASY recipe even EASIER. Registering for the ATK site is free, by the way, and you'll be glad you did. They are the BEST! And now, for the scones... If you make some, you'd better share with us!! And to those who asked, yes, you should bring coffee- I like mine with half and half.

Blueberry Scones
from the Episode: Coffeehouse Treats

It is important to work the dough as little as possible—work quickly and knead and fold the dough only the number of times called for. The butter should be frozen solid before grating. In hot or humid environments, chill the flour mixture and workbowls before use. While the recipe calls for 2 whole sticks of butter, only 10 tablespoons are actually used (see step 1). If fresh berries are unavailable, an equal amount of frozen berries (do not defrost) can be substituted. An equal amount of raspberries, blackberries, or strawberries can be used in place of the blueberries. [Sunday was the first time I'd used strawberries, they were good, but blueberries, raspberries etc. are the best- any kind of more tart berry really pops in this recipe's lemony dough.] Cut larger berries into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces before incorporating. Refrigerate or freeze leftover scones, wrapped in foil, in an airtight container. To serve, remove foil and place scones on a baking sheet in a 375-degree oven. Heat until warmed through and recrisped, 8 to 10 minutes if refrigerated, 16 to 20 minutes if frozen. See final step for information on making the scone dough in advance. [YOU CAN MAKE THESE IN ADVANCE, PEEPS! YOU'LL BE JUNE CLEAVER AND JULIA CHILD ALL IN ONE NEXT TIME SOMEONE SPENDS THE NIGHT AT YOUR HOUSE!!!] Makes 8

16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), frozen whole (see note above)
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (about 7 1/2 ounces), picked over (see note)
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces), plus additional for work surface
1/2 cup sugar (3 1/2 ounces), plus 1 tablespoon for sprinkling
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Score and remove half of wrapper from each stick of frozen butter. Following photo at left, grate unwrapped ends on large holes of box grater (you should grate total of 8 tablespoons). Place grated butter in freezer until needed. Melt 2 tablespoons of remaining ungrated butter and set aside. Save remaining 6 tablespoons butter for another use. Place blueberries in freezer until needed.

2. Whisk together milk and sour cream in medium bowl; refrigerate until needed. Whisk flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest in medium bowl. Add frozen butter to flour mixture and toss with fingers until thoroughly coated.

3. Add milk mixture to flour mixture; fold with spatula until just combined. With rubber spatula, transfer dough to liberally floured work surface. Dust surface of dough with flour; with floured hands, knead dough 6 to 8 times, until it just holds together in ragged ball, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking.

4. Roll dough into approximate 12-inch square. Following illustrations, fold dough into thirds like a business letter, using bench scraper or metal spatula to release dough if it sticks to countertop. Lift short ends of dough and fold into thirds again to form approximate 4-inch square. Transfer dough to plate lightly dusted with flour and chill in freezer 5 minutes.

5. Transfer dough to floured work surface and roll into approximate 12-inch square again. Sprinkle blueberries evenly over surface of dough, then press down so they are slightly embedded in dough. Using bench scraper or thin metal spatula, loosen dough from work surface. Roll dough, pressing to form tight log. Lay seam-side down and press log into 12 by 4-inch rectangle. Using sharp, floured knife, cut rectangle crosswise into 4 equal rectangles. Cut each rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet.

6. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sugar. Bake until tops and bottoms are golden brown, 18 to 25 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool 10 minutes before serving.

To Make Ahead:After placing the scones on the baking sheet, either refrigerate them overnight or freeze. When ready to bake, for refrigerated scones, heat oven to 425 degrees and follow directions in step 6. For frozen scones, heat oven to 375 degrees, follow directions in step 6, and extend cooking time to 25 to 30 minutes. (!!!!!!!!!)

Step-by-Step: Grating Butter
[That's right, excellent scones without a food processor, for those that don't have one!]
Use the wrapper to hold the frozen butter while grating it on the large holes of a box grater. Grate 4 tablespoons from each stick of butter.

Step-by-Step: Folding and Shaping the Scones
1. Fold dough into thirds (like a business letter).
2. Fold in ends of dough to form 4-inch square. Chill dough.
3. Reroll dough into 12-inch square. Press berries into dough.
4. Roll dough into jellyroll-like log to incorporate blueberries.
5. Lay log seam-side down and press into even 12 by 4-inch rectangle.
6. Cut dough into 8 triangular pieces.


Andrea@Sgt and Mrs Hub said...

Ha! Did you mention something about leftover scones??? Let's just be clear that there would be no need for that part of the instructions at my house.... These look and sound totally and completely delicious!

Oh, and I LOVE Cook's Illustrated and Cook's Country!


amanda said...

ok so i was already hungry honey and now i am starving!!

i don't think i can wait to bake them can you just maybe bring some over??

i wish :)

Kristen said...

Seriously, I just drooled on the laptop!!

Thanks for giving us the recipe!

Can't wait to try them for myself. :)

Jenn Boerger said...

I've always loved the white chocolate raspberry scones from Java Junkie - maybe you tried them while you lived here? And now I can't wait to try to make my own scones! What a treat!

Kimberly said...

Can't wait to make these!! Though I am a little intimidated by the length of this recipe!

anne said...

Ok...I made them...and they were all I hoped for and more!!
Although I have to say I substituted chocolate chips this time. Sick I know. What can I say? I'm pregnant!

Ris said...

!!! I love scones!!! Cannot wait to try these.