I do love a fresh scone with softened butter. In these old, English books I read, little housemaids are always running off to throw together a quick batch of scones for tea. That always irks me. Surely a person cannot just whip up SCONES. It's bread-like; it's a delicate consistency, and they're shaped like TRIANGLES for heaven's sake. Surely they take hours of preparation and loads of skill and some kind of special "triangle tray" that I don't have. Well I am here to tell you that they don't require any of those things. It took around a dozen times of watching my friend Lauren (across the street) make them for us before I was willing to try it alone. However, I promise you don't even need that if you will trust me when I say they don't have to be perfect--as in you don't have to fret over even consistency. And you also need to hear that a FRESH scone tastes nothing like what you buy at Starbucks. Those things have been drying out for days. When you bite into one of these scones--still hot--they are soft inside and melt in your mouth. I have not made them once when that first bite did not produce a spontaneous WOW, from my lips (and Jeremiah's).
Ok, let's get started. First, this recipe came from the Birmingham Junior League cookbook, Tables of Content. If you have that, then just flip to page 37 (and ignore the part where it says you need a "pastry blender." What the heck is that? The KitchenAid worked just fine. I also leave out the lavender...a little too weird.) If you don't have that cookbook, THEN YOU NEED TO ORDER ONE. It is my favorite cookbook, hands-down. The brunch section...ummmm, you will want to slap your Mama :)
Ingredients: 2 c all-purpose flour (sifted--and this is one of the few recipes where I do actually sift), 1/3 c sugar, 1 Tbl baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 6 Tbl unsalted butter cut into small pieces (don't panic. I just take it straight out of the fridge, cut it into normal slices and then quarter those slices. It will stay separated in your dough but that's what gives you those yummy butter pockets. I know you people, like me, with OCD are fretting over that consistency BUT IT IS OK), 1/2 c heavy cream or whipping cream, 1 egg beaten, 1 Tbl heavy cream, Sugar to taste.
Preheat the oven to 400. Combine flour, 1/3 c of sugar, the baking powder, and salt in a bowl and mix well. Cut in the butter until the mix resembles small pebbles. Stir in 1/2 c cream and the egg. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until smooth (I do this step for all of three good kneads. It seems a little pointless because it comes out smooth, but I would be scared to tell you to skip it since it is bread...and who KNOWS what happens if you skip steps :))
Place the dough on a lightly greased baking sheet and shape into an 8 in round. Cut the round into 8 triangles; do not separate the triangles on the baking sheet. Brush the tops with 1 Tbl cream and sprinkle with sugar to taste.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes (this is the hardest part for me, because you want them to stay moist and not over-cook and you really need them to cook all the way through. I always under-bake my cookies, so that they're gooey, but you don't want a gooey scone. SO, I guess just stick a toothpick in the center of one until it comes out clean)
Serve with plenty of soft butter. Have a cup of tea, and bring them over to my house so that we can talk about whatever book you're reading :)
[I have also served these, as dessert, with fresh cut strawberries and homemade whipping cream. Talk about a tasty twist on strawberry shortcake!]