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Friday, September 3, 2010

Food Friday: The Scones that Ate Pittsburgh

I know. I've been slacking on the Food Friday thing. Well, in my defense it is freaking miserable hot & humid and cooking makes me even hotter. And crankier. Lately I've subscribed to the fast-and-fuss-free method of preparing meals. I've even stopped making bread (a pretty routine chore) because the humid ick weather wreaks havoc with yeasty goodies. Blah.

Nevertheless, I did actually get all crazy stupid one day this week and decided to torment myself next to the oven. I made the aforementioned bread (although I had to pitch the first attempt at dough and start over...curse you, humidity!) and some all-day, from-scratch spaghetti sauce (from garden to table, baby!) and finally tackled the blackberry scone recipe recently featured in Craftzine. I had to make a few modifications (buttermilk for sour cream, black raspberries for blackberries), but when have I ever done things completely by the book?

My previous experience with scones was a drop-biscuit style, so the shaping of the dough was both a new trick for me and a feather in my cap that I was doing it the "right" and more authentic way. Folding the berries into the dough was tricky but do-able, and I managed to make a relatively decent-looking 8-inch (or so) round.

"Ta-da!" hand included for scale. You'll understand why later.
Then I had to cut it. And I refer back to the heat & humidity. This dough started behaving more like a semi-solid
Wet & gooey. That doesn't seem right.
and I barely managed to get the pieces onto the baking tray in any semblance of an intentional shape.

Now. The recipe indicates that the scones "will expand a bit". 

A bit.

How about like a mad scientist's wildest dreams?

Good GOD, man: they're GINORMOUS! Protect the children!
Yeah, they grew a bit.

Next time, I'll be shaping the dough into a nice long rectangle and making much MUCH smaller wedges. Each of these ended up (once cut) as 3-4 servings.

I will be making them again. They were a big (har har) hit with the kids. I thought they were okay...just not what I'd expected. Now, I will be the first to profess ignorance in the field of scones. I've never had one prepared by anyone other than myself, so I wouldn't know a good one from a bad one, unless it was actually unpalatable. However, in my now-vast experience of two styles, I can say that I prefer the drop-biscuit recipe much better. How can I explain this? These scones were soft and tender and fluffy--like buttermilk biscuits. And there's nothing wrong with that. But the others were dense and crummy and sweet--like Bisquick "shortcake" biscuits. And gourmands be damned; I grew up on the Bisquick and that sort of thing resonates with the comfort-food portion of my brain. <3

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