We don't really have seasons in California. As much as I do love that, I sometimes yearn for colder, rainy weather -- an excuse to stay in inside all day. Some people take advantage of this to stay in and watch a movie. I just like the excuse to bake. There's something about staying in when it's cold outside with your oven fired up and your kitchen filling with the smell of baked sweet dough. Maybe it's chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes or hand pies. This time it's scones.
The first time I baked these scones I burned the bottom before the top started to turn light golden brown. I cursed my old crappy oven and angrily shaved off the burnt edges with a bread knife -- because I hate wasting food and I wasn't about to dump a dozen otherwise delicious scones into the trash.
I later complained to my mom who had her own oven woes. She was on her way to the grocery to buy Easy Off because the self-cleaning function stopped working. Easy Off? Is that really necessary? I wondered. "Yes!" She insisted, "All the splatter that you might not see could affect what you're baking." Um... You're supposed to clean your oven even when it looks clean? Needless to say, she was horrified at my ignorance.
Anyway, I worked off a Los Angeles Times recipe but I wanted to add a little extra sweetness, a little extra texture -- so I added golden raisins. They're not quite as cloying as purple raisins are and they just look a little fancier.
If you like, you can substitute the raisins for currants or dried cranberries. Serve the scones with coffee, tea or hot chocolate. I'm a coffee kind of person. And though I don't have as much of a sweet tooth as one might think, I usually crave a little something sweet with my black coffee.
Makes: 10-12 scones Prep time: 25 minutes Bake time: 20-25 minutes
Ingredients: 3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) flour 4 teaspoons baking powder 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup sugar 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter 1 cup cold buttermilk 1/2 cup golden raisins
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
2. Cut the stick of butter into 1/2-inch pieces. (Hint: It's easiest to start in the middle and cut it into 16 pieces.) Like this:
3. Using a rubber pastry cutter, metal pastry blender or large knife, cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly and you have approximately pea-sized chunks of better, about 3 minutes. It'll look kind of like this:
4. Stir in the buttermilk and the raisins until incorporated, about 4 minutes. Gently knead a few times to bring the dough together into a single mass. It should be moist and sticky, like this:
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured (but clean!) counter and press into a circle about 3/4" thick. Cut the dough into 10-12 wedges, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. (Hint: Pretend you're slicing a pizza.)
6. Bake on the center rack until the edges are lightly golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the scones to a rack to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.