18 October 2011

Currant Scones

I'm already privately calling them "Monday Scones," because I managed to finish enough homework over the weekend to have time Monday morning for the 25 minutes of cooking and clean-up that these scones required. I think it's good to remind oneself Monday morning that you are a human being and that your emotions count for something in life. So get up a little early, slip on thick fluffy robes and slippers, whip up the scones, stick them in the oven, clean up the dishes, make some tea or coffee, set out butter and cutlery, remove the scones from the oven, plop them on the table, and enjoy breakfast for a relaxed stretch by yourself or with that special someone who still looks cute before showering.

The base recipe for these scones can be found in the British Isles section of Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant, but I honestly think the original recipe would disappoint in comparison to mine. To boast unashamedly, my scones are solid, fruity, and perfect in proportion. The recommended raisins would overwhelm these little bites, the lack of whole wheat would give you hunger pains in a little over an hour, the amount of sugar would make it too sweet, etc. George also found these scones excellent, so they may become a weekly or monthly tradition on Mondays.

You could use a smaller proportion of whole wheat if you desire, but I recommend you stick with soy milk rather than cow's milk if at all possible. George and I have learned that that soy milk reliably lightens the texture of baked goods and gives them a more pleasing feel; these scones are kind of dense, so the lightening effect of the soy milk is key. And don't worry, it doesn't give bread a beany flavor at all.

Monday Currant Scones

1 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and brought to room temperature (in about 10 minutes)
1 1/3 Cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 Cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 Cup currants
3/4 Cup plain soy milk

a roll of parchment paper and a baking sheet

  1. Preheat the oven to 450º F. Make sure your rack is in the middle. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine butter and flour. Use a pastry cutter first to cut them all together and then stick your hands in there and squish the lumps. You don't have to be a fanatic about it, though.
  3. Stir in the sugar and salt, then the currants. Slowly stir in the soy milk. Use your hands to form the dough into a smooth ball.
  4. Lightly flour a large surface and a rolling pin. Roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thickness, which is really kind of thick. If you get it too thin, just reform the dough into a ball and do it over.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. This will save you many calories in butter and several precious minutes of futiley scrubbing your baking sheet in the sink.
  6. Cut out roughly 2-inch rounds; we did it with a 2 1/4 inch fluted biscuit cutter and they looked great, as you can see. Reform the scraps into a ball, roll out, and repeat. With the last scraps just sort of mush them into a round shape. 
  7. Line the scones up on the baking sheet, stick in the oven, and bake 20 minutes.
  8. Do all the dishes.
  9. Make a nice hot pot of tea or coffee. Set out butter, plates, mugs, and knives.
  10. Serve the scones piping hot. After 5 minutes or so you may be able to request special favors from one of the recipients!
*About the flowers in the picture: They are called straw flowers, and they make fantastic cut and dried flowers. They also take an amazing amount of abuse in the garden; this summer they survived deer, drought, overheating, Hurricane Irene, etc. I highly recommend them if you want a cheerful bouquet that will keep its color all winter.

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