Daring Bakers Challenge- Biscuits and Scones

Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!




I didn't get to do this Challenge to the fullest this time around. It's been a rough month and honestly, this week really sucked. But I got to it at least once and these, while no where near perfect, are pretty darn tasty.



I made Maple-Cinnamon-Brown Sugar Scones. The Cinnamon and Brown Sugar came through really nicely, but the maple syrup not so much. I also got sidetracked and left them in the over a few minutes longer than I should have. So the outside was crispy while the inside was tender and chewy- rather how I like my scones, honestly.}:P



And they're pretty darn tasy with strawberry cream cheese too}:P



Equipment required:
Large mixing bowl
Baking dish
Measuring cups and spoons (optional)
Flour Sifter (optional)
Board (optional)
Scone (biscuit) cutter (optional) or knife (optional)
Dough scraper (optional)
Spatula (optional)
Weighing scale (optional)
Cooling rack (optional)
Pastry brush (optional)

Basic Scones (a.k.a. Basic Biscuits)
Servings: about eight 2-inch (5 cm) scones or five 3-inch (7½ cm) scones
Recipe can be doubled

Ingredients:
1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm/5 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (10 gm) (⅓ oz) fresh baking powder
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) salt
2 tablespoons (30 gm/1 oz) frozen grated butter (or a combination of lard and butter)
approximately ½ cup (120 ml) cold milk
optional 1 tablespoon milk, for glazing the tops of the scones

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to very hot 475°F/240°C/gas mark 9.
2. Triple sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. (If your room temperature is very hot refrigerate the sifted ingredients until cold.)
3. Rub the frozen grated butter (or combination of fats) into the dry ingredients until it resembles very coarse bread crumbs with some pea-sized pieces if you want flaky scones or until it resembles coarse beach sand if you want tender scones.
4. Add nearly all of the liquid at once into the rubbed-in flour/fat mixture and mix until it just forms a sticky dough (add the remaining liquid if needed). The wetter the dough the lighter the scones (biscuits) will be!
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top of the dough. To achieve an even homogeneous crumb to your scones knead very gently about 4 or 5 times (do not press too firmly) the dough until it is smooth. To achieve a layered effect in your scones knead very gently once (do not press too firmly) then fold and turn the kneaded dough about 3 or 4 times until the dough has formed a smooth texture. (Use a floured plastic scraper to help you knead and/or fold and turn the dough if you wish.)
6. Pat or roll out the dough into a 6 inch by 4 inch rectangle by about ¾ inch thick (15¼ cm by 10 cm by 2 cm thick). Using a well-floured 2-inch (5 cm) scone cutter (biscuit cutter), stamp out without twisting six 2-inch (5 cm) rounds, gently reform the scraps into another ¾ inch (2 cm) layer and cut two more scones (these two scones will not raise as well as the others since the extra handling will slightly toughen the dough). Or use a well-floured sharp knife to form squares or wedges as you desire.
7. Place the rounds just touching on a baking dish if you wish to have soft-sided scones or place the rounds spaced widely apart on the baking dish if you wish to have crisp-sided scones. Glaze the tops with milk if you want a golden colour on your scones or lightly flour if you want a more traditional look to your scones.
8. Bake in the preheated very hot oven for about 10 minutes (check at 8 minutes since home ovens at these high temperatures are very unreliable) until the scones are well risen and are lightly coloured on the tops. The scones are ready when the sides are set.
9. Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process, serve while still warm.

Variations on the Basic recipe
Buttermilk – follow the Basic recipe above but replace the milk with buttermilk, add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, increase the fat to 4 tablespoons, in Step 3 aim of pea-sized pieces of fat coated in flour, in Step 5 fold and turn the dough, rounds are just touching in the baking dish, glaze with buttermilk.
Australian Scone Ring (Damper Ring) – follow the Basic recipe above but decrease the fat to 1 tablespoon, in Step 3 aim of fine beach sand sized pieces of fat coated in flour, in Step 5 knead the dough, in Step 7 form seven rounds into a ring shape with the eighth round as the centre, glaze with milk.
Cream – follow the Basic recipe above but replace the milk with cream, add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, in Step 3 aim of beach sand sized pieces of fat coated in flour, in Step 5 knead the dough, rounds are just touching in the baking dish, glaze with cream.
Cheese and Chive – follow the Basic recipe above but add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, after Step 2 add ½ teaspoon sifted mustard powder, ¼ teaspoon sifted cayenne pepper (optional), ½ cup (60 gm/2 oz) grated cheese and 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives into the sifted ingredients, in Step 3 aim of beach sand sized pieces of fat coated in flour, in Step 5 knead the dough, rounds are widely spaced in the baking dish, sprinkle the rounds with cracked pepper.
Fresh Herb – follow the Basic recipe above but after Step 3 add 3 tablespoons finely chopped herbs (such as parsley, dill, chives etc).
Sweet Fruit – follow the Basic recipe above but after Step 3 add ¼ cup (45 gm) dried fruit (e.g. sultanas, raisins, currents, cranberries, cherries etc) and 1 tablespoon (15 gm) sugar.
Wholemeal – follow the Basic recipe above but replace half of the plain flour with wholemeal flour.
Wholemeal and date – follow the Basic recipe above but replace half of the plain flour with wholemeal flour and after Step 3 add ¼ cup (45 gm) chopped dates and 1 tablespoon (15 gm) sugar.


Videos of my sister making scones (baking powder biscuits) – using a very popular Australian recipe
(http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/8163/basic+scones)
Part 1 – my sister making the scones (baking powder biscuits)
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZF9YJiHZ1K0)
Part 2 – my sister showing off her scones (baking powder biscuits)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GorStLKSoMo)
Pictures of my sister's scones


Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:
Scones are best eaten warm. Scones (biscuits) are really easy to store – bag the cooked and cooled scones and freeze until needed then reheat in a moderate hot for a few minutes.

Additional Information:
Australia’s most popular scone recipe uses lemon-flavoured soda pop and cream as the liquid
(http://figjamandlimecordial.com/2010/08/08/lemonade-scones/)
A great English scone recipe this uses more sugar and fat and has an egg
(http://www.instructables.com/id/Perfect-English-Scones/)
Classic Southern Buttermilk Biscuits recipe by Alton Brown
(http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/southern-biscuits-recipe/...)
An index of North American recipes
(http://allrecipes.com/Recipes/Bread/Biscuits-and-Scones/Biscuits/Top.asp...)
Another index of North American recipes
(http://www.breadexperience.com/biscuit-recipes.html)
Three great Australian recipes
(http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/homestyle/blogs/tried-and-tasted/how-to-...)
An index of Irish recipes
(http://www.littleshamrocks.com/Irish-Bread-Scone-Recipes.html)
An interesting discussion on “what makes a scone a scone”
(http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/810928)
Videos of Alton Brown making biscuits (scones) with his granny (super cute to watch)
Episode one ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3QuQSdjMVE)
Episode two (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qcz4JQUwY9Q)

Comments

These sound so good I love maple syrup and cinnamon. I have pinched your recipe. Imitation is the truest praise
Wolf glad you could get one fast batch of biscuit by the deadline sorry to hear that the last week wasn't the best, At least the biscuits look beautiful and well risen great work on this challenge. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

Great looking scones!

The flavor profile sounds amazing, must have left a nice aroma in the house while baking. Hope you have a great next week :o)

(Anonymous)

Delicious looking scones!

Yup - maple brown sugar cinnamon sounds DELICIOUS for your scones. Job very well done. And here's hoping to a much better week this weeK! :)
Shelley
http://cmomcook.blogspot.com
I wondered what gave your scones their great colour - brown sugar and cinnamon! I can almost smell them. Great work.