Monday, May 10, 2010

Sconeday experiment

Or, Trust Your Instincts, But Read The Recipe

On the last day that my daughter was home, I decided to have warm scones ready for her when she got up. I had the idea in the back of my head to try the apricot compote-for-honey substitution with scones, so I was pretty excited about these. I'm really a novice baker. I'm a complete ease around a stove top and a frying pan, and I can make a stew with my eyes closed. But baking scares me, and I tend to stick to the recipe closely.

Except of course, that's hard to do when you don't read the recipe.

"I can do these without looking up the recipe," sez I to myself sez I. "I've been making scones once a week for months now."

The dough looked lovely-- a gentle orange color-- and smelled divine. It was kinda stiff, I almost rolled it, but thought, no I like the rough "drop" scones. Just before sticking them in the oven, I glanced at the recipe and realized, oops.

Forgot the butter.

Yes folks, I forgot to put the butter in the scones. Too late to do it right now, the dough was all mixed. So how do I get butter evenly mixed through a dense dough filled with nuts.

I melted it folks. Kneaded it in, and reformed the scones. They're going in the oven now; I'll be back in 15 minutes to tell you how they are. In the meantime, here's a lovely picture from my garden.
Well, they're a little gummy, but they taste delicious! So the conclusion is, you can screw up a baking recipe, but I don't recommend it.

Apricot-walnut scones
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 Tbs cane sugar (or 1 Tbs packed brown sugar)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 Tbs dried or fresh orange zest

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

2/3 cup fresh orange juice, with zest
1/4 cup apricot compote
1/4 cup sour cream, or plain or vanilla yogurt

1/2 cup dried apricots, diced and plumped or 1/4 cup crushed walnuts

Heat oven to 425F/218C

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Cut in butter (NOTE: DO NOT FORGET THIS STEP) using a pastry blender or by rubbing between your fingers until it has the consistency of corn meal. Whisk together honey, apricots, and sour cream in a measuring cup. Pour all at once into the dry ingredients, and stir gently until well blended. (Overworking the dough results in terrible scones!)

To prepare the dried apricots, plump them by boiling them for about a minute on stove top or microwave. Drain and pat dry, mix into the scone batter.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and drop batter by generous spoonfuls. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until the tops are golden brown, not deep brown.


  1. LOL, this sounds exactly like me and cooking. I can do baking without a recipe but cooking always feels like doing open-heart surgery from a manual! :) Eh, they say butter isn't healthy anyway. (I know you're going to tell me it isn't, I was just trying to make light of it.)

  2. Should have stuck with scones. Tried some muffins from one of the mega-moms at Not Dabbling and they're utterly awful. Don't know what I did wrong.