If you are like me, the New Year finds you back on a diet. For me, it’s The Flat Belly Diet that I mentioned in some of my earlier posts. So what do I do when I love to bake? I get prepared for our Florida visiting friends and relatives with my ready-to-bake scones tucked away in the freezer.
Who isn’t a fan of the Great British Baking Show? I have been baking scones since I lived in England for 5 years. What might be surprising is that my potato scone recipe, that also holds a place in one of my family cookbooks, is from the newest presenter to that TV series, Prue Leith. Prue was the Martha Stewart of the UK during my years there. My adjustment to her recipe is to turn her level teaspoon measurement into a rounded teaspoon. English teaspoons are 1.2 times the size of American ones.
You will need a food scale for this recipe as some of the ingredients are by weight. I have one that I love by Oneida. It doesn’t seem to be available anymore but here is what the digital ones look like. I love that I can convert from ounces and pounds to grams and kilos.
12 ounces plain flour (I like to use White Lily for scones and biscuits)
1 teaspoon salt
6 rounded teaspoons baking powder
4 ounces chilled butter (this is 1/2 stick)
3 ounces sugar
8 ounces left-over mashed potato (chilled from the refrigerator is fine)
8 Tablespoons milk to mix
Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl. Cut in the butter until pea-sized. You can also do this in a food processor. Just don’t overmix. Stir in the sugar and rub in the cold mashed potato. Add enough milk to mix. I like to cut these out with a round 2 1/2 inch cutter. Traditional English scones are round. You may make them smaller or larger. Be sure to cut the sides sharply, don’t twist the cutter. If using a knife, cut straight down. This size will yield 12. Bake them on a greased or parchment or silicone lined baking sheet at 425 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.
If you want to freeze the dough ready to bake for those friends and family that come to visit, freeze the cutout shapes on a baking sheet and when frozen transfer them to a Ziploc bag for freezer storage. Bake from frozen for a couple of minutes longer.
These are nice served with jam and whipped cream if you are feeling decadent.
Several years ago, I read a novel called Bread Alone by Judith Ryan Hendricks. Not only is the recipe for Cherry Scones from her book but also the neat trick for freezing the prepared dough that I gave you in the Potato Scone recipe. Her recipe uses dried cranberries not cherries otherwise it is the same. I just happen to adore dried cherries. The truth is, you can substitute any dried fruit. This year I even made some with leftover fruitcake mix fruit soaked in cranberry juice instead of orange juice. They were quite delicious, as well. The texture of these is perfect and you may cut them into triangles (as it is an American recipe).
3 Cups plain flour
1/2 Cup sugar
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 Cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut in small pieces
1/2 Cup dried cherries (or cranberries or other dried fruit) soaked in orange juice or cranberry juice for 10 minutes
1/2 Cup lightly toasted and chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 Cup milk
zest of one orange or lemon
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter until dough is in pea-size crumbs. Drain the dried fruit and add to the dough along with the nuts. Whisk the milk, egg and orange zest in a small bowl or measuring cup. Add to the dry ingredients and mix just until the dough clumps together in a ball.
Roll out on a floured surface to 3/4 inch thick. Cut into your desired shape, and freeze or bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit until golden brown, about 20 minutes. It may take a little longer if frozen.
These scones don’t need anything on them. Of course there is always butter or whipped cream for those who might think otherwise.