Sunday, November 6, 2011

Cranberry Lemon Scones

It’s Marathon Sunday in New York.  Almost as fun and prestigious as Marathon Monday in Boston, but let’s leave that debate for another forum.  Growing up my Marathon memories are very child-oriented, cheering at heartbreak hill, maybe handing out some water or orange slices.  Then I moved to Manhattan and realized, like any other day in NY, the marathon is a big excuse to party.  I’m sure the same can be said of Comm Ave in Boston, I was just to naïve to realize.  Either way, parties usual begin at apartments with some brunch items.  I decided to tackle scones. 

I have made scones once or twice before and they were never quite good enough to share.  To be honest, these aren’t quite up to snuff either.  But I think it’s me.  I combined two great recipes and then fought the dough because I always do.  Maybe a dough/ pastry class needs to be in my future.   I know the general rules – don’t overwork dough, don’t add excessive flour when rolling it out – and I always do both.  It is so sticky I have no choice!

Stickiness aside, by batch two they came out pretty well.  And, if you can handle some sticky dough, it is a pretty easy recipe.  You can keep the dough formed and frozen for up to a week so a fresh batch is never more than 20 minutes away.

The original recipe comes from Cooks Illustrated.  The recipe is for Blueberry scones but I had seen a recipe for Cranberry Lemon scones that seemed much more seasonal so I did a bit of swapping.

The Cranberry Lemon recipe comes from…. Yep, SmittenKitchen… and suggested using a biscuit cutter because her scones didn’t hold shape.  So with a few adaptions the recipe is below.

Happy baking and marathon celebrating!

  • 16 Tlbs unsalted butter (2 sticks), frozen whole*
  • 1 ¼ cups fresh cranberries, picked over and rough chopped (sprinkle with 3 Tbls sugar)
  • ½ cup whole milk 
  • ½ cup sour cream 
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces), plus additional for work surface 
  • ½ cup sugar (3 1/2 ounces), plus 1 tablespoon (turbinado for sprinkling) 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder 
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • 1 ½ tablespoon grated lemon zest (the original recipe only calls for 1 tsp. – I significantly increased the amount of lemon and was glad I did)

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees.
Score and remove half of wrapper from each stick of frozen butter. Grate unwrapped ends on large holes of box grater (you should grate total of 8 tablespoons)*.

Place grated butter in freezer until needed. Melt 2 tablespoons of remaining ungrated butter and set aside. Save remaining 6 tablespoons butter for another use. (You only need 2 sticks so that you can easily hold the butter while you grate it.  A bit of an odd way to get this done I think, but the grated butter is rather genius, so just go with it). 
Whisk together milk and sour cream in medium bowl; refrigerate until needed.
Whisk flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest in medium bowl.
Add frozen butter to flour mixture and toss with fingers until thoroughly coated.
Add milk mixture to flour mixture; fold with spatula until just combined.
With rubber spatula, transfer dough to liberally floured work surface. Dust surface of dough with flour; with floured hands, knead dough 6 to 8 times, until it just holds together in ragged ball, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking.
Roll dough into approximate 12-inch square. Following illustrations, fold dough into thirds like a business letter, using bench scraper or metal spatula to release dough if it sticks to countertop. Lift short ends of dough and fold into thirds again to form approximate 4-inch square. Transfer dough to plate lightly dusted with flour and chill in freezer 5 minutes.
Transfer dough to floured work surface and roll into approximate 12-inch square again. Sprinkle cranberries evenly over surface of dough, then press down so they are slightly embedded in dough. Using bench scraper or thin metal spatula, loosen dough from work surface. Roll dough, pressing to form tight log. Lay seam-side down and press log into 12 by 4-inch rectangle. Using sharp, floured knife, cut rectangle crosswise into 4 equal rectangles. Cut each rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet. (I didn’t follow this exactly.  As I mentioned my dough was really sticky.  I did my best to roll it out and then used a biscuit cutter to make my scones.  My dough was too thin the first time around (pictured below), but worked well on the second attempt.  And they held their shape!)

Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sugar. Bake until tops and bottoms are golden brown, 18 to 25 minutes (Because I made smaller scones this was too long! I would recommend 12-15 minutes depending on the size of your scones). Transfer to wire rack and let cool 10 minutes before serving.
If you decide to refrigerate or freeze the leftover scones, wrap them in foil and store in an airtight container.  (Flash freeze first).  To bake, remove from foil and bake at 375 adding an additional 2-3 minutes. 
Enjoy with some proper tea.  Or with a few boozy brunch drinks and then cheer for the crazies who think running 26 miles is fun.  

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