Baking is such fun. I mean, what else can you do that lets you play with soft squidgy dough, work with all sorts of different shapes and sizes and generally run riot with loads of flour and a rolling pin...and nobody raises so much as an eyebrow at you! How can anyone possibly resist that kind of simple, almost childlike liberation that making a bit of a mess gives you? Certainly not me at any rate.
Yesterday I made some scones. Scones are brilliant. No, they're better than brilliant. They taste good on their own, with butter, with jam, with clotted cream, warm or cold...and best of all, they're dead easy and quick to make. In fact the only real way to mess up scones is by trying too hard and over-working the dough. The lazier you are at combining the ingredients the better and lighter they are. Scones were put on this earth for people like me to make.
What makes these even more fun is that you don't need a mixer or anything to make these, but rather you mainly combine everything with your hands/fingertips. I'm not sure why it's such a joy sticking your mitts in a bowl and getting a bit gooey, but it is.
I had a little bit of buttermilk in the fridge and when poking around for ideas I found a Delia Smith recipe which I adapted.
I used soft light brown sugar instead of caster as in general I just prefer working with that, I love that things come out the oven with just a little bit of a deeper colour. I also slightly upped the amount of fruit used as when I made these before I thought it just needed a wee bit more. Finally, I dusted with a sprinkle of brown sugar before putting in the oven instead of flour.
Innocent, pale looking rounds sitting on a tray.
Golden brown fluffy scones.
There is of course only one thing remaining to do...and that's to take one still warm from the oven and spread with a little butter.
Mmmmmmm, delicious. Nom nom nom!
225g self-raising flour
40g soft light or caster sugar
75g butter or margarine, soft and cubed
pinch of salt
60g mixed dried fruit
1 egg, beaten
3-4 tablespoons buttermilk (can use normal milk)
Sugar for dusting
1 Sift Flour, add salt and sugar and mix. Using your hands, rub the butter into the flour mix until it turns fine and crumbly.
2 Add dried fruit making sure there are no clumps all stuck together and stir.
3 Make a well in the middle of the mix and pour in the beaten egg and 3 tablespoons of buttermilk. Using a knife, 'drag' in the edges of the flour mix from around the outside of the bowl into the middle. Keep doing this until it starts to come together into a dough. Your dough should be moist but not sticking to the edge of the bowl anymore. If it's too sticky dust very small amounts of flour into the mix at a time, if it's too dry and not coming together, add the last spoon of buttermilk.
4 Take your dough ball and roll out into a circle on a floured surface to around an inch depth. Scones do rise in the oven but not by a crazy amount so if you like really fat ones then take this into account when rolling your dough.
5 Using 2 inch cutter, cut out scones as close as possible to each other as you can. You want to avoid re-rolling the dough too much from the scraps.
6 Put on a tray and sprinkle with brown sugar. If you prefer 'shiny' scones like you can get in supermarkets etc, brush with some beaten egg and they will come out glazed.
7 Place in a pre-heated oven on gas mark 7/425 degrees for 10-12 minutes or till brown.
8 Pinch one while still warm and gobble it up!