The Man’s family emigrated from England in 1979. Along with them they brought along some quintessentially English culinary delights – Yorkshire pudding (popovers), tea, spicy Indian curries, and scones (and a penchant for dark ales…). Whenever we are visiting his parents, The Man’s mother (Dinah) will undoubtedly whip up a batch of her scones. And they are excellent – fluffy, flavorful, and perfect pair to your morning tea (or coffee for me, because I don’t like tea…).
Today I am experiencing some firsts – first time baking scones, and first time buying margarine. When Dinah sent me her recipe, she stated that she had tried several different fats and combinations of fats – and that margarine was the clear winner in producing a fluffier textured scone. As she knows, I’m not a huge fan of margarine – mainly due to it’s man made qualities, as opposed to the naturalness of butter. But then I started thinking, I sure use a lot of Crisco. And Crisco definitely falls into the “man made” category. And I trust Dinah when it comes to scones….So what the heck – I bought some margarine!
And although I have never attempted scones before, I make a pretty mean buttermilk biscuit. They are similar in principal – flour and leavening cut with fat, add moisture, form, bake. So I’m bringing in my biscuit making skills to conquer the realm of scones. The first thing about making a soft and fluffy
biscuit scone is to NOT overwork the dough. After you cut in the fat, add all the liquid at one time and mix by hand. If it looks like it isn’t mixed through enough, then you are done mixing. The dough will come together during the forming.
What sets this recipe apart from most scone recipes I’ve seen – is that the scones are cooked together in a disk, as opposed to being formed separately. This helps to keep the inside light and fluffy while the outside gets a nice crunch to it. Once the disk is patted out and formed, use a clean knife to score through the dough. I had to wipe my knife off between cuts to ensure the cuts were clean.
A plain scone is just fine, but I prefer something in mine. Dinah leans towards raisins or craisins (dried cranberries) I know some people like blueberry scones. I just happened to have some dehydrated strawberries that I made for the kid – so I thought I’d try them out!
Well, I must say – my first adventures in margarine and scone making were a success! I achieved the fluffy texture that I desired, and everyone had seconds at breakfast (always a good sign). I think you will find this recipe straight forward and easy. So whether you are a scone newbie like me, or a seasoned scone maker, you should have no problem making a great scone with this recipe. I made some small-ish changes to the recipe Dinah sent me. I’m going to give you her exact recipe, but I will highlight my changes in bold italics. You’ll note that I made mine thicker, and they required a longer baking time.
- 2 C. of All Purpose Flour
- 2 tsp. of Baking Powder
- 1/4 C. of Sugar
- 1/4 tsp. Salt
- 1 Stick of Margarine
- 1/2 C. of Raisins or Dry Cranberries (Dehydrated Strawberries)
- 3/4 C. of Milk (Half & Half)
Whisk all dry ingredients together in mixing bowl.
Cut cold margarine into 1/4 inch cubes and rub (cut) into dry ingredients, the size of large peas. Don’t overdue this step. Stir in raisins or cranberries (strawberries). Add milk (half & half).
Form into a soft dough. Place dough on a greased baking sheet and press into a 10 inch (8 inch) circle. Cut into wedges and brush with a little milk. Sprinkle with sugar. Top with slivered almonds, optional.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes (20 – 25 minutes) or until lightly brown.