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Berry Late Than Never

Posted Jul 07 2009 5:15pm
S o I’m a little late for the 4th of July but that’s not saying you can’t enjoy these sweet goodies any other day of the year. Scones are high up there along with muffins for the morning coffee and tea accompaniment. Scones are the considered the British rendition of quick bread, to some degree, and are very popular across the UK, Australia, Ireland and even Canada. Scones vary in size and shape but more often are seen triangular in form, studded with fresh or dried fruits, or, flavored with savory ingredients such as cheese with bacon, onions, or herbs. The main difference between a scone and a muffin is the texture. Muffins often are more dense and cakey as opposed to scones which represent a light biscuit appeal. The main difference, of course, are due to the baking agents and one particularly being the lack of eggs, which is definitely absent in biscuits. Just as you would proceed with the method of cutting butter into a pie crust, scones also rely on the process of cutting cold butter into the dough to produce a delicate dough. Shortening can also be substituted for the butter (or margarine in the case of lactose intolerance) to result in a flaky pastry.

As stated, scones from my memory are usually triangular and if you’re looking for an authentic traditional scone recipe, this veers off more towards a biscuit (hence the name biscuit scone). I’m more accustomed to roll and cut scones, which was the method I was taught by my Chef in culinary school. These are lighter and airier, where, the others required more flour and appeared much heavier in mouth feel. Another typical accent for a scone is to either brush the top with butter or cream, depending on the type. This is to allow the top to obtain a lovely tanned complexion and, if sugar is sprinkled on top. Of course, you can sprinkle brown sugar or granulated sugar on top of the scones but a more ‘proper’ approach is the sprinkle sanding sugar over the top of the scones, which is essentially larger crystals of sugar which take longer to break down as opposed to the granulated sugar which, more than likely would melt and, if you aren’t careful, can make the top of the scones too dark due to carmalization.

I hope you enjoy these scones with your afternoon or morning coffee or tea (a more typical British approach) any time of the year. As usual, feel free to experiment with flavor combinations to your heart’s content until you find the perfect match. There never is a wrong way to experiment in the kitchen. After all, take a look at Andrew Zimmerman.

Berry Biscuit Scones
1 cup soy flour
½ cup brown rice flour
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ cup potato starch
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ cups fresh mixed berries, cleaned, dried (any mix - I used blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries)

3 oz dairy free margarine
3 tbsp sugar
¾ cup almond or other nondairy milk

Sanding sugar or granulated sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Sift all the dry ingredients together in one bowl and assure that the flours blend in carefully. Add the berries and gently stir them in until they become coated with the flour. This is an important step to prevent the berries from sinking to the bottom of your baked good. This step also applies with most baked goods, so, please take note.

Add the sugar, milk substitute, and cut in the margarine. To ‘cut in’ the margarine, I simply break it up with a knife or fork prior to adding it into the bowl, but, this also goes according to the type of margarine you’re using. If you’re using soft margarine, just make sure it is extremely cold. They now have dairy-free sticks around that I’ve seen but, as aforementioned, you can also use cold shortening. Crisco has those lovely 1 cup sticks that come in handy for frosting.

You should have a semi-soft ‘dough’ going if you’ve done it correctly. If it appears to dry, add more liquid. If it appears too wet, add more cornstarch. Adding too much rice or soy flour would make it more dense. Spoon the batter onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. You should have 12 spoonfuls.

Dot the scones on top with more margarine or milk and then sprinkle the sanding or granulated sugar.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
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