Round Thirty Four — Golden Raisin & Caraway Scones
It’s dang hot outside.
Can I just say that? I know how we all love to talk about the weather (it is, after all, the most common — pause. My husband is rapping about scientific terms behind me. What a NERD. — topic of conversation among strangers). But we’re not strangers here, are we? I hope not.
But if you are a stranger, these scones will make us instant friends. I promise you that.
I was searching for the perfect scone recipe the other day. I write perfect because, well, I’m mighty picky when it comes to my scones. I’m a scone snob, I admit it. I don’t like scones that are extra crumbly. Fact. I also dislike scones with sweet fruits in them, like raspberries or blueberries. Also a fact. I’m also partial to their shape — if they aren’t in triangle form, I may or may not turn up my nose in disapproval. They’re just not the same.
That being said, I took a bit of a gamble when I decided to make this recipe. I found it on the North Fork Table & Inn’s Web site by way of Smitten Kitchen by way of Whisk The Pantry. After all this adventure, I finally settled on what appeared to be an acceptable scone recipe — a triangular, sweet (but not too sweet!) and savory, less crumbly creation. But I was still skeptical.
You see, I’m trying to find my way around the chemistry of baking. Like, how does bread rise (or not)? Or, how do you make your own ingredients from things you already have tucked away in the pantry? In this case, I’m learning that the more sugar you add to a recipe, the more cake-like it will become. Or at least I think so. Still haven’t aced this class yet.
What is so absolutely perfect — yes, perfect — about this recipe is that it yields the most delicate balance between a flaky, buttery consistency and that loaf-like sponginess. Not too crumbly, but not too cakey. And with the genius combination of sweet, golden raisins and hearty caraway seeds, they go perfectly with a tall glass of iced tea on one dang hot summer day. But a perfect day, nonetheless.
Debrief: This recipe originally states that it yields 12 to 16 scones, but I got a little overzealous with the bench scraper and managed to cut around 20 triangles in all. It worked out — I had a lovely mix of mini scones and regular-sized ones. That said, take the “yield” with a grain of salt — you can make as many scones as you darn well please, thankyouverymuch.
Yields 12 to 16 triangular scones (or, as said above, up to 24 miniature scones)
2 3/4 cup pastry or unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
6 oz. butter (about 1 1/2 sticks), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup golden raisins
1 tbsp caraway seeds
1 cup buttermilk (or just under a cup of regular milk mixed with 1 tbsp lemon juice and refrigerated for 5 minutes)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Put cubed butter in freezer for 15 minutes. In the meantime, place flour, baking powder and baking soda and mix, using paddle attachment, in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Add butter to stand mixer bowl and mix until butter and flour mixture are the texture of coarse cornmeal. Add buttermilk, raisins and caraway seeds, mixing on the lowest speed until dough just comes together.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently about 2 minutes until dough mostly sticks together. Roll out dough using hands or a rolling pin, into a rectangle slab about 1 inch thick. Cut into squares, and then cut squares on a diagonal to form triangles.
Bake on an ungreased baking sheet lined with parchment paper about 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned.
Extra punches: If you are partial to a fruit scone, you can substitute 1 cup of any chopped fresh fruit for the raisins and caraway seeds, and use only 3/4 cup of buttermilk. If using fruit, also make sure you use aluminum-free baking powder, or your scones may result in a blueish tint and a slight tinny flavor.