Warning: This is a very long post because the recipe included is very, very detailed.
A few days ago, I had the honor to prepare a lovely Galentine’s Day brunch* for 25 powerful business ladies. The guests were just arriving as the aroma of apple-wood smoked bacon filled the air. In no time, the scent of garlic and fresh basil would join the festivities.
On the menu:
Spinach and Cherry Tomato Mini Frittatas with Fresh Basil Chiffonade
25 made with egg whites only
25 made with the whole egg.
Asparagus Tips Wrapped in Applewood Smoked Bacon
Gluten Free Mini Raspberry Tarts topped with Chocolate Ganache and Fresh Berries
Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
Date & Nut Balls rolled in Coconut Snow
Served with Clotted Cream, Whipped Butter and Cranberry-Orange Marmalade
Custom Designed, Decorated Sugar Cookies
(Provided by Miss Laura’s Cookies)
I felt the menu was just right for the occasion; A nice mix of traditional brunch favorites with a dab of Valentine’s Day sweetness tossed in. However, the star of the party was, without question, the Cranberry-Orange Scones.
A few of the guest had been to previous events where my scones were on the menu and could not wait until these were out of the oven. I don’t even know how many ladies made their way to the kitchen to inquire if they were ready yet. Okay, the oven mysteriously turning itself off did cause a 20-minute delay in getting them to the dining room, BUT come on! I’ve never seen so much excitement over a side item on the buffet.
Initially, I had planned on making 3 dozen. I wound up making 60 scones just to insure everyone enjoyed as many as they liked.
I’m not exaggerating. At the end, guests were coming into the kitchen asking if they could have a baggie to take scones home. When I remarked to my client’s assistant than I had never attended a party where the guests asked for a doggie-bag, she exclaimed, “Then you’ve never been to a party where your food was served!”
– Maybe I need to start sticking around after the meal has been served.
The client remarked that at her next party, perhaps she should have boxes made available for scones to-go.
I’ve never visited England or Ireland but some in attendance had. One lady remarked she lived in England for a year and enjoyed tea with scones every day she was there and mine are the very best she has tasted.
What a compliment!
I don’t mean to sound my own horn, but I do think the biggest difference in a so-so scone and a “Life Changing Scone”, (Yes, one of the guest actually called my scones “Life Changing”) is not so much the recipe as the technique.
I do not use a food processor.
I grate almost frozen butter directly into the flour mixture.
I never knead the dough.
I gently fold the dough upon itself 4-5 times.
I don’t use a rolling pin.
I gently pat the dough into a rectangle about ¾ to 1” thick and use a board scraper to cut them into triangles.
I don’t top my Cranberry-Orange scones with sugar or apply a sugary glaze, unless the client requests they be glazed..
Instead, I like to serve them with clotted cream, whipped butter and cranberry-orange marmalade which perfectly complements the flavor. If clotted cream is not available in your area, you can make your own (directions available on the web). Making clotted cream is labor intensive but well worth the effort.
Here’s the recipe I use:
4 level cups All-Purpose Flour (I use King Arthur 100% organic All-Purpose Flour)
¼ rounded cup sugar
2 tablespoons Baking Powder (Be sure to check the expiration date)
2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1 ½ – 2 tablespoons Freshly Grated Orange Zest
¾ pound Very Cold Butter
4 Large Eggs
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 cup dried or 1 ½ cup fresh Cranberries — If using fresh cranberries, be sure to sort, wash and pat dry before adding them to mixture
1 Large Egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of Heavy Cream
1. Preheat oven to 400 F
2. Using a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and kosher salt. Use hands or stir with whisk to combine.
3. Grate orange zest directly into butter-flour mixture and fluff lightly with hands until zest is completely incorporated. If you’re adding fruit and/or nuts, do so now.
4. Grate cold butter directly into bowl of flour mixture a little (2-3 tablespoons) at a time.
5. Fluffing the butter into the flour with hands between each addition.
6. Beat 4 large eggs with 1 cup of heavy cream. Make a whole in the center of flour/butter mixture and pour in egg- and cream mixture. Using your hands, gently incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry just until it is well moistened. Batter will appear lumpy – that’s okay. I find if you use your hands instead of a spoon you’re less likely to over mix, causing the scones to become heavy and tough.
7. Pour batter onto a lightly floured sheet of waxed paper, parchment paper or the plastic side of freezer wrap. Sprinkle just enough flour on top to prevent your hands from sticking. Very gently, shape dough into a rectangle.
8. Lightly flour again and gently fold the dough over upon itself. Lightly flour any damp surface and repeat process 3-4 more times.
9. Shape dough into a long rectangle and allow to rest 3-5 minutes.
10. Cut dough down the center, with a floured knife, making two very long narrow sections. Depending on the size you desire, cut each long sections into 6-8 scones each** (12-16 total yield)
11. Place scones ½” to ¾” apart on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Lightly brush tops with egg wash.
12. Bake at 400 F for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool 5-10 minutes before serving (If your guest can wait that long!)
13. Serve with your choice of marmalade, butter and/or clotted cream.
Scones are best eaten warm from the oven or at least, they should be prepared the day you plan to serve them. Depending on how large/small you choose to cut your triangles, this recipe can easily yield 12 huge or 20 small scones.
Don’t want that many? No problem!
Instead of reducing the recipe, go ahead and mix up a whole batch. Freeze any unbaked scones for later use. Just add an additional 3-5 minutes to the bake time.
Frozen scones are great to keep on hand for unexpected guest or to treat yourself. Because you don’t have to bake a whole batch at a time, you can have a hot, fresh scone every day with little effort!
Unbaked, they will keep well in the freezer for 1-month in a regular zip-top freezer bag. If you use a FoodSaver (R), they’ll keep in the freezer up to 6-months.
These were baked from frozen.
*Amy Poehier as fictional character Leslie Kope on NBC Comedy Parks and Recreation, “What’s Galentine’s Day? It’s only the best time of the year! Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style: ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair minus the angst . . . plus frittatas.”
**To all the haters… Yes, I understand traditional scones are made with much less butter than this recipe calls for and many believe scones shouldn’t include any fruit (expect for the occasional current) .
I never said these were traditional scones.
They are “Life Changing Scones” 😀
You can find the recipe for Gluten Free Raspberry Tarts at https://itsallgoodpersonalchef.wordpress.com/2014/12/19/a-gluten-free-christmas/