Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Test Recipe: Cranberry-Ginger Scones

Last week’s test recipe (I’m behind, I know) was one I had acquired from Williams-Sonoma after my short visit to Maine last summer.

Some of the family was together in Seal Harbor and, on a beautiful morning, we all congregated at a local coffee shop to ingest some caffeine before the rest of our day.

My little cousin Sarah recommended the place.

The place was small, but welcoming with a beautiful, handmade bar-height table and a mother-daughter duo behind the counter.

We sat around drinking coffee and tea, chatting and discussing the complexities of Blow Pops and those daggone beach chairs that little girls fall out of and scrape up their noses.

In between all this big-girl talk, I ventured over to the tiny baked goods display and selected a cranberry ginger scone.  In speaking with the lovely owner, I learned she made these each day and they always sold out.

They weren’t too sweet – she said most of the sweetness came from the crystalized ginger and there was just a bit of sugar in the actual dough.

This is why I liked this particular scone so much.  Scones seem to be either too sweet or not-sweet-enough for my liking.  I’ve tried a lot of recipes, but had yet to find one that would serve as a strong base for many combinations of fruits and flavors.

Off to the kitchen to try one more.

I measured the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl and whisked to combine.  Then I cut the butter into small cubes.

I refrigerated both elements because they are supposed to be cold when you rub the butter into the flour.  And I had laundry to get started.

Back to the kitchen and time to rub in that butter.

This is a trick I’ve learned during my externship: for flakey scones, just flatten the pieces of butter between your fingers.

Don’t continue to combine the butter into the flour until it is pea-sized.  Just leave the butter as little flat discs.

I pile them all up in the corner...

And then, with a spatula, distrubute them throughout the flour mixture evenly.

At this point, I refrigerated the mixture again.  You don’t have to.  But I had to fold my laundry.  I hate wrinkles.

Back again.  Time to mince some crystalized ginger and decide how many cranberries I wanted to include.

I decided about half-a-cup of cranberries looked nice in the mixture.

I gave this a few stirs to combine all the flavors.

In a measuring cup, I measured the cream, plopped in the egg and whisked together.  Then I added the liquid to the dry ingredients.

I worked the dough in the bowl with a fork.  It doesn’t come together as nicely as you might think.

Then, I turned the crumbly dough onto my small counter, which I had dusted with flour.

And worked it some more.  It finally started coming together, with the help of a rolling pin and bench scraper.

Now for the shaping.  You could roll this into a circle, cut out triangles and place into a scone pan.  But I don’t have a scone pan.  So I decided to cut out little biscuit rounds.

I sprinkled some turbinado sugar on top.  I love the crunch this coarse sugar lends to breakfast pastries.

Into a 350 degree oven they went.  Mine took about 27 minutes.

Mike must have sensed the test recipe of the week was ready, as he emerged from studying when the scones had cooled just enough.


Deliciousness.  Flakey, flavorful, just a hint of sweetness to distinguish them from a biscuit.

I wasn’t sure that Mike would care for the ginger and fruit, but he approved.  And he ate them with his morning coffee the rest of the week.

This recipe is a keeper for me.  The base recipe for the dough will serve as a wonderful foundation of just about every combination of add-ins I can dream up.

Currently, I’m hardly able to standing thinking about how delicious this recipe will be combined with fresh, sweet, plump, juicy berries of the summer.  And a sprinkling of sugared, slived almonds on top.

Can you tell I am surrounded by ice and snow?

Cranberry-Ginger Scones

adapted from Williams-Sonoma

2 cups AP flour

1/4 cup sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon table salt

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, small cubes

1/3 cup crystalized ginger, minced

1 cup fresh cranberries

1 egg

1/2 cup heavy cream

Turbinado sugar, for sprikling, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray a scone pan or line a baking sheet with SilPat or parchment.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large mixing bowl.  Whisk together.  Chill, if desired.

Cut butter into small cubes.  Chill, if desired.

Rub butter into the flour mixture by gently flattening butter cubes between fingers.  Stir flattened butter to distribute evenly.

Add minced crystalized ginger and cranberries to mixture.  Stir to combine.

In a small bowl, whisk egg and cream together.  Add to dry ingredients.  Using a fork or pastry cutter, combine the dough.  It will form large clumps.

Turn out dough on well-floured work surface.  Using your hands and a rolling pin, work the dough together.  A bench scrapper will be helpful for turing the dough during the process.

When you have achieved your desired thickness, using a cookie or biscuit cutter, cut out scones and place on baking sheet.  Remaining dough can be gently re-rolled.  Sprinkle turbinado sugar on top of scones, if desired.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 27 minutes, until golden brown.  Allow to cool on baking rack.  These will keep 2-3 days in airtight container.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to see someone else in the family LIKES ginger and what a great idea of scones with cranberry and ginger. Yum. Seal Harbor in the summer. Sounds like a reason for a return visit.


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