Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Cranberry and Choc Chip Scones



There are two words that come out at this time of year that I think might just be my two favourite words in the whole English language. They form quite an American phrase, and they are not necessarily two words Australians would put together - although they are two words that individually, Australians love VERY MUCH! So what are these two fabulous words?!??!


HOLIDAY BAKING!!!!


Each year, I feel some strange compulsion to buy all the magazines that come out with any form of Christmas theme. As much as I love all my Australian cooking magazines, when it comes to baking for Christmas, the US has some absolute gems! So far this year I have got one which is called (wait for it)...Holiday Baking. (It was my favourite last year). I also have one which I think is called Christmas Cookies. I can't quite remember its name though because my mother stole it and HAS NOT YET RETURNED IT. I also like the Australian Better Homes and Gardens Christmas special - last year they were the generous providers of the mini caramel pecan tart recipe - YUM!
So when friends were coming over for morning tea today, I took some inspiration from these magazines and decided to go with some American style scones. They're very similar to our scones, but instead of rolling out the dough and cutting them out with a round cutter, you just pat the dough out into a rectangle, cut it up into squares then cut the squares into triangles. It's much easier than mucking around with the cutter and it also means you don't have any dough scraps that need to be re-kneaded and re-rolled (which results in tougher scones).

This recipe is also a little tiny bit healthier than normal because it uses wholemeal flour, and it's got dried cranberries in it. The original recipe (from King Arthur Flour Wholegrain Baking) called for dried cherries, but they cost about $50 per cherry and strangely enough, I didn't have any in the cupboard!

I was a bit tentative, but they actually turned out pretty damn good! Boof managed to eat 2 of them before our friends even arrived, and while he hasn't yet met a cake he doesn't like, that's still quite an achievement! So have a go. They are easy and tasty!

Cranberry and Choc Chip Scones
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup plain flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
125 g cold unsalted butter
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup choc chips
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
Milk, for brushing the tops
Preheat the oven to . Lightly grease a baking sheet or line it with baking paper.
Whisk together the flours, sugars, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
Using a fork or pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add the cranberries and the chocolate chips and stir with a fork until just combined.
Whisk together the egg, buttermilk, and vanilla in a separate bowl or large measuring jug. Add, all at once, to dry ingredients, and stir lightly and quickly with a fork until the dough is evenly moistened. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead two or three times.
Pat the dough into a rectangle 20cm wide by 25cm long: it should be about 2cm thick. Cut the dough in half lengthwise then in quarters across its width with a lightly greased bakers bench knife. Cut each resulting rectangle in half diagonally to make a wedge shape.
Transfer the scones to a baking sheet. Brush the tops with milk and sprinkle the tops with coarse sugar. Bake until scones are puffed and golden brown, 22 to 25 minutes.
Serve warm.

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