Scones are the sweet first cousins of biscuits and are comforting fare when buttered and served with jam. I made some to accompany pumpkin bread (made from my last stored pumpkin) for a little reception following the committal service for a native islander brought back for burial in his family plot behind the church building where I am a caretaker. Saturday was overcast and cool, and the hot coffee with the scones that I baked that morning tasted good to the mourners gathered in the meeting room.
You have seen the recipe here in this column for the oatmeal scones that I love and these currant scones are my second favorites right after the oatmeal ones. They are rich, made with butter and cream. I think of them as special occasion scones. Currants are just the ticket, but if you wanted to, you could chop up ginger or mince up dried cranberries and use those instead. You could use raisins, but because I usually make fairly dainty scones — 2 inches in diameter — raisins are a bit on the large size, so chop them up, too.
If you want, substitute milk or half and half for the cream. But do use butter.
I use a food processor to cut the butter into the dry ingredients. You may prefer to use a pastry blender, or two knives, or even your fingers, if you hands are cold enough — the scones will be flakier if the dough is kept cool and toasty warm hands soften the butter too much.
Makes 20 two-inch scones
2¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
½ cup (one stick) of butter
½ cup currants
¾ cup cream (or milk or half and half)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a baking sheet. Sift the dry ingredients together and cut the butter into them. Add the currants and stir to distribute them, then add the cream, tossing the dough until it comes together in a loose ball. Pat it out about one-half inch thick on a lightly floured surface and cut into desired size. Brush the tops with a little more cream, if you wish. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until they are golden brown.
… baked bean advice. I wouldn’t mind hearing from you about how you make baked beans. Do you use a recipe or wing it? What are your favorite beans to use? How much sugar or molasses? Do you add an onion? Do you eat them with brown bread? Let me know what you think makes a real Down East baked bean.
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