Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Scone Also Rises

I had some spare time today, so looked around my cabinets to find what I could make and decided with scones.  A scone recipe uses flour, sugar, oatmeal, baking powder or soda, egg, and buttermilk.  I thought I was prepared to make scones but discovered that I only had heavy cream and not buttermilk. It's quite typical for me to be careless like that and even more typical of me to be too stubborn to run to the grocery store (that's not even a block away).  

I did some research to find that buttermilk is only necessary if you are using a recipe based on baking soda (buttermilk makes the baking soda react and is what makes the scones rise).  However, my recipe used mostly baking powder and called for only one teaspoon of baking soda.  I decided to risk my scones not rising and continued with heavy cream.  Also I knew that heavy cream would offer a richer taste because of the higher fat content.  Buttermilk is generally low fat and personally when I eat a pastry I don't expect it to fit into a healthy diet so I don't mind the extra calories in comparison to taste. 

Once my dough was prepared I decided to add a few different ingredients to the scones.  I separated the dough into four equal balls and added chocolate chips to one, orange zest to one (I absolutely love incorporating citrus into anything), and raisins into one portion.  I left the last quarter plain.  I baked my scones and it turns out they did rise!  And they were also beautiful and delicious.  (The scone is almost like a biscuit so when you indulge in one, don't be fooled by its lack of sweetness.  It's generally a breakfast bread.  However, I did add a small amount of sugar to the dough and the chocolate chip and orange glazed scones were sweeter)

This is the part where I (am suppose to) talk about scones and life...

This is when I normally relate my baking to life but I'll spare you today.  Well maybe I could come up with some metaphor about how if my scones didn't rise my life would result in some tragic love story but I'm no Hemingway.

I really have nothing to say about scones and life.  Scones were easy to make and they came out just as I would have hoped.  However, I'm not going to end this post so soon.  Making my scones reminded that I haven't blogged about my handmade homemade goodness!

Handmade Homemade

All of my pastries I have blogged about have been 1. homemade (I didn't lie about actually making) and 2. handmade (that means I do not use an electric mixer or food processor or beater or etc).  Yes it can be messy, physically kneading dough with your hands rather than a KitchenAid mixer but I think you can actually taste the difference.  Making everything by hand lets me get close and personal with the dough (that sounds really cheesy but its true).  Mixing by hand will allow for a consistency that you can not expect from an electric mixer. Don't fret, I wash my hands!

At first making everything by hand started out because I was a poor college student who could not afford a $300 stand mixer and was too cheap to buy a $40 hand mixer but now I've come to value making pastries by hand (and I'm still a poor college student).  Handmade pastries are certainly more time consuming and exhausting but I'm sticking to it!  I enjoy baking and if it takes a half hour more to make something, oh well.  Making everything by hand really puts the love into my pastries (and love is always the secret ingredient).

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