Monday, October 26, 2009

Cranberry-ginger scones

There's absolutely nothing as wonderful on a rainy fall afternoon as a big cup of tea and some fresh scones. Curled up on the couch under a colorful wool blanket, a novel in hand, and a proper tea within reach on the coffee table is pretty much my idea of late Saturday afternoon bliss. My wonderful British friend Sam taught me how to make proper tea (I still pour milk into mine- she'd be proud!), as well as real scones. These scones are not too sweet or too large, and are definitely not triangular. They take all of half an hour, idea to eating, and they're delicious.

Be forewarned: they're dangerously easy to make, and highly addictive.

If you have a food processor, it speeds up the process of chopping the butter into the flour, but two knives work nearly as well if you don't.

Some excellent variations (sub in for the cranberries and ginger): dried blueberries and fresh lemon zest, dried currants, dried cherries, or diced dried figs and ginger.

Cranberry-Ginger Scones

2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
3 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp butter (softened)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
1/2 cup milk

* Preheat the oven to 425F.

* Mix together flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar in a bowl. Add the butter. If you're using a food processor, chop the butter in until the mixture resembles cornmeal. If you're doing it by hand, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles cornmeal.

* Mix in the cranberries and ginger. Then, add the milk.

* Knead the mixture until it comes together. Roll out the dough until it is about 3/4" thick. Cut out 2" diameter circles. (You can use a floured glass or cookie cutter for this.)

* Bake on a cookie sheet for about 10 minutes, or until the top is golden.

* These are absolutely delicious with a dollop of clotted cream and some fresh jam, or a thick smear of lemon curd. And a nice cup of Earl Gray makes the whole meal.

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