Sunday, March 31, 2013

Raspberry chocolate scones

My mother grew up reading and loving Enid Blyton books, so I was introduced to them very early. I too started loving to read about fairies and goblins dancing at moon-lit parties on toadstools and eating elaborate, mouthwatering, very British sounding food. But of course, this was pure imagination. If you, like me, grew up in Kuwait in the eighties- nineties there was no way of knowing if "exotic" foods like kippers, scones or clotted cream were mouthwatering or not. The one remote chance I had of trying it then was on a British airways flight. Scones and clotted cream were on their on-flight menu but they had to cancel the meal service because of extreme turbulence. Instead of being relieved of surviving a 50 ft turbulent drop, I found myself disappointed in missing out on the scone experience. What can I say? My priorities were always spot on! ;)

Fast forward 20 years or so (ok maybe more, but I have a birthday coming up and I'm trying to keep the years back as much as I can!), I finally had a scone in the US, and my excitement was crushed...dry, doughy nastiness that made a globby bolus that you had to gulp extra hard to push down. That was it, I swore off scones forever. TILL I was forced to eat one at a conference in Maine-- that was all they had for breakfast and starvation made me cave. And I'm SO glad I did. Moist, flaky and crumbly with bursts of berries-- delicious. That was it! My hunt began. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find a good scone in and around Baltimore that could compare to that scone in Maine. But I DID find this amazing recipe and it totally delivers. I've used the recipe many many times with dry fruit and today was the first time I tried it with frozen berries and chocolate, excellent either way.

Best. scones. ever.    

You will need:

1 stick (8 tbsp) frozen butter
1/2 cup milk (I used skim)
1/2 cup greek yogurt (I used fat free)
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup frozen berries (I used raspberries) / dry fruit
1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional, I used semi-sweet, but you can use whatever you like)
Melted butter and Demerara sugar for garnish

Preheat oven to 425F. Grate frozen butter with large holes of box grater. Put grated butter back in the fridge to keep cold. Mix milk, yogurt and vanilla in a bowl and place in fridge. In a medium mixing bowl mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. If using dry fruit you can mix them in with the dry ingredients at this point. Add grated butter to flour mixture and toss lightly till butter is coated with flour but not completely integrated into it. Now, fold milk-yogurt mixture into the flour with a spatula until just combined.  Transfer dough onto a well floured surface and knead few times (5-6 times). Now you have to pay attention, the following steps are what makes the scones flaky. Roll the dough into a 12 inch square. Fold the top third of the dough inwards to the middle. Next, fold the bottom third to the middle overlapping with the first fold. Press down to flatten. Roll into a 12 inch square again. Repeat the folding and rolling process 3 more times and then transfer the "folded" dough to the fridge for 5 minutes. Get the dough out, roll into a 12 inch square again, sprinkle frozen fruit and chocolate chips, gently press them in to make sure they are embedded in the dough. Fold top third to the middle and bottom third of the dough to the middle, gently flatten and shape into a circle about a 1 cm in thickness and 6 inches in diameter (thickness being most important here). Cut the circle into 8 equal wedges. Freeze extra scone wedges in plastic wrap at this point. Or if devouring right away, brush with extra melted butter and sprinkle demerara sugar over the tops. Transfer wedges to a greased baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes. Enjoy!