Scones easy to conquer

Wendell Brock, The Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionNovember 19, 2013 

FOOD SCONES 2 AT

Tiny Buffalo's Apple-Pecan-Cinnamon Scones. (Renee Brock/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/MCT)

RENEE BROCK — MCT

Wet, sticky dough freaks me out. I get it on my hands, and I can't get it off. Do I wash, wipe, scrape or scream? Never mind that you only need to add flour. I melt down every time. And it is this fear of buttery slodge, I believe, that has kept me from baking scones and biscuits.

My attitude changed recently when I tasted my neighbor Audrey Gatliff's adorable little pistachio-encrusted and strawberry-and-cream scones.

I thought: "If I could make scones this good, maybe I could conquer my fear of wet dough."

"Scones are easy to throw together and don't have to be large, crumbly and flavorless," Gatliff says, referring to the dry squares that give scones a bad name. With degrees in consumer foods and dietetics from the University of Georgia, this 28-year-old artisan baker behind Tiny Buffalo Baking Co. has thought hard about her philosophy of "small but mighty."

Gatliff's trick is cold dough made with cold butter: Each tray of scones is chilled in the freezer for 30 minutes before baking. (If you don't want to make a full batch, wrap the scones in plastic and leave them in the freezer until ready to bake.) Gatliff also suggests that you aren't overly kneady, which can result in a "tougher end product." Finally, she likes to add a glaze to moisten the scones and seal in freshness.

My only problem was: sticky dough. Clements' recipe called for 11/4 cups of cream, which made for moist and tender scones. But the dough was too soupy for my squeamish hands, so I cut the cream to a half cup, and the scones came out great.

Classic Scones

Hands on: 10 minutes Total time: 20 minutes Makes: 8-10 scones.

2 cups cake flour, more as needed
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar, divided
5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
1 egg
1/2 to 3/4 cup heavy cream, more for brushing

Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Put flour, salt, baking powder and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles cornmeal.

Add egg and just enough cream to form a slightly sticky dough. If it's too sticky, add a little flour; it should still stick a little to your hands.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead once or twice, then press a 3/4-inch-thick circle and cut into 2-inch rounds with a biscuit cutter or glass. Put the rounds on an ungreased baking sheet. Gently reshape the leftover dough and cut again. Brush the top of each scone with a bit of cream and sprinkle with a little of the remaining sugar.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, or until the scones are a beautiful golden brown. Serve immediately.

Nutrition: 240 calories (percent of calories from fat: 50), 3 grams protein, 27 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, 14 grams fat (8 grams saturated), 66 milligrams cholesterol, 343 milligrams sodium.

-- Adapted from a recipe

in The New York Times by Mark Bittman

Tiny Buffalo's Fig and Mascarpone Scones

Hands on: 25 minutes Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes Makes: About 20 scones

Audrey Gatliff, the baker-preneur behind Tiny Buffalo Baking Co., created this fall recipe. It's a good way to use up leftover fig preserves. To learn more about Gatliff's baked goods, check out tinybuffalo.com.

For the scones:

1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped dried figs
1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy cream
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons mascarpone
2 tablespoons maple syrup


For the glaze:

1/4 cup fig preserves or jam
2 to 3 tablespoons water

To make the scones: Line a large baking sheet with parchment.

Cut butter into small cubes and place in freezer for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter, using a pastry blender, a fork or your fingers. Stir in chopped figs.

In a small bowl, mix well 1/4 cup of the cream, eggs, mascarpone and maple syrup. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients, and mix until dough forms into a ball. If needed, add more cream, a tablespoon or two at a time, until the dough forms. Don't overmix.

Scoop dough onto baking sheet, using a No. 24 scoop (1 1/2 ounces) or 1/4-cup measuring cup. (No need to shape the dough into smooth balls; free-form dollops will create a rustic look.) Place baking sheet in freezer to chill for 30 minutes. Heat oven to 425 degrees.

When scones have chilled, bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Cool on a wire rack.

To make the glaze: Place fig preserves in a small bowl and stir in water to thin. Heat microwave on high for about 1 minute, until quite warm. Stir again so that the mixture is smooth. (You may also make the glaze on the stove over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 3-5 minutes.) Drizzle the glaze over the scones, and allow to sit for about 5 minutes, or until the scones have absorbed the glaze. Serve immediately.

Per scone: 163 calories (percent of calories from fat, 38), 3 grams protein, 23 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 7 grams fat (4 grams saturated), 40 milligrams cholesterol, 164 milligrams sodium.

Tiny Buffalo's Apples-Pecan-Cinnamon Scones

Hands on: 25 minutes. Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes Makes: 32 scones.

For the scones:

1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup apple, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy cream

For the glaze:

1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
3-5 tablespoons water
3/4 cup chopped toasted pecans

To make the scones: Line a large baking sheet with parchment.

Cut butter into small cubes and place in freezer for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger and ground nutmeg. Cut in butter, using a pastry blender, a fork or your fingers. Stir in chopped apple and pecans. In a small bowl, whisk eggs and vanilla extract, and gently stir into flour mixture. Add 1/4 cup cream to form a dough that is just barely wet enough to stick together into a ball. Use more cream as needed to make the dough wet. Don't overmix.

Place the dough on a floured surface, and shape into an 8-inch-by-8-inch square about 3/4-inch thick. Cut the square into four 4-inch-by-4-inch-squares. Take one of the squares, and slice it into four smaller squares; then slice each one into a triangle. Repeat with the remaining 4-inch-by-4-inch-squares. You should have a total of 32 scones. (If you having trouble visualizing this, draw it out on a piece of paper; you may use a pizza cutter to cut the squares. Another method: Scoop about 1/4 of the dough up with your hand, place on floured surface, shape into a 4-inch square, and cut into eight triangles.) Place baking sheet in the freezer to chill for 30 minutes. Heat oven to 425 degrees. When scones have chilled, bake for 13 to 16 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Cool on a wire rack.

To make the glaze: Place confectioners' sugar in a small bowl and add about 3 tablespoons water to thin; add more water until the sugar has formed a glaze. Spoon the glaze over the scones and top with chopped pecans. Let set for 2-3 minutes or until the glaze has set. Serve immediately.

Per scone: 127 calories (percent of calories from fat, 41), 2 grams protein, 17 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 6 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 24 milligrams cholesterol, 101 milligrams sodium

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