The "Scrumptuous Scones for Hurried People" from the "Weekend Baker" was Hanaâ's Avid Bakers' Challenge for May.
Abby Dodge, the "Weekend Baker", has a heart for people in a hurry who need to whip up a batch of pastry without much ado, perhaps because their beloved in-laws pay a surprise visit, or hubby brings his boss home from work.
Or those like me who, out of the blue sky, feel a sudden craving for something sweet that simply can't be denied.
Following Abby's do-ahead suggestions you can have a basic scone mixture in your pantry, like one of those ready made ones you can buy in the supermarket, only, of course, much better!
And if a pile of over-sized sneakers in your hallway warns you that a hungry horde might raid your fridge at any minute, a "Big-Batch Scone Mix" comes really handy, you only have to add the wet ingredients and your flavoring, and your kitchen is safe!
Since no home invasion was imminent, I made only an individual batch of eight scones.
I changed the basic recipe only in so far that I substituted 84 g of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat, to add a little whole grain - next time I would probably add even more.
The flavoring options left me wondering. Why be a purist and stick with just one add-in? Chocolate or nuts? Nuts or raisins? Cranberries or ginger? Aren't there some perfect combinations?
I decided to stray from the path of recipe purism, and opted for nuts and cranberries. Hazelnuts were a natural choice - I just stocked up on them at Trader Joe's.
The scones turned out very nice, tender, moist and crumbly.
You can find the recipe in Abigail Dodge: "The Weekend Baker" or on her website (Here she gives you yet another flavoring option, but beware: the recipe in the "Weekend Baker" has 1/4 cup sugar - the one on her website has 1/3 cup - too much in my opinion!)
THE EMPOWERED SCONE (8 wedges)
10 ounces (2 ¼ cups) all purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar (the recipe in the book has only 1/4 cup!)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
4 ounces (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces and chilled
1/2 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger
¾ cup + 1 tablespoon buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons buttermilk or heavy cream
2 tablespoons turbinado or demerara sugar
To make the scones
1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or a nonstick baking liner.
2. Combine the flour. Sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Whisk until well blended. Add the chilled butter pieces. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is the size of peas (about 1/2 – inch).
3. Add the chopped dried cherries and ginger and toss with a rubber spatula until well dispersed. Add the vanilla to the buttermilk and stir to combine. Drizzle the buttermilk mixture over the ingredients. Toss with the rubber spatula until the dry ingredients are wet and the dough just comes together in moist clumps.
4. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Briefly knead the dough to combine and shape it into a 7-inch round. If using the topping, brush the buttermilk or heavy cream evenly over the top of the dough and sprinkle with the sugar.
5. Using a lightly floured knife, cut the dough into 8 equal wedges. Arrange the wedges on the prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake until golden brown and pick inserted in the center of one scone come out clean, about 18 minutes.
SWITCH-INS: instead of the dried cherries and crystallized ginger, choose one of the following:
3/4 cup chopped bitter or semisweet chocolate
3/4 chopped, toasted walnuts or pecans
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
2/3 cup dried cranberries or chopped dried apricots or dried currants
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup chopped crystallized ginger