Saturday, April 25, 2015

Game of Scones

What comes to mind when you think of the wildly popular HBO series Game of Thrones? Sex, darkness, blood and surprise top my list. Also blonde hair envy...damn. So what does any of that have to do with baking scones?

For my part, scones and I have a love-hate relationship. I love eating them, I hate making them. I always make a gigantic mess while rolling out the sticky dough, invariably spilling flour everywhere which forces my nails into the palms of my hands with surprising force--blood.

The darkness comes from the fact that scones should be baked blind: as in, leave that oven door shut. Opening and closing it over and over again to check the doneness of the scones changes the temperature inside and can reduce fluffiness.

Scones are not really a sexy food either. They're more of an old British grandma drinking tea with her ankles crossed prettily. These scones, however, combine tart lemon and sweet berries in a way that could only be described as food porn. Sex on a scone.

And finally surprise: when I take the first bite of a steaming hot scone fresh out of the oven, I'm instantly inspired to bake more, even though I know it makes me crazy.

These lemon berry scones use greek yogurt which makes them a little bit lighter than normal scones which use cream. That's not to say they're healthy in any way--they're not. But who cares? They're so good it really doesn't matter. And they're too much work to make with any sort of regularity. The trick to good scones is to not handle the dough very much. As with any flour-based baked good, the more you mess with it the worse it will be. Feel free to use blueberries, raspberries and blackberries in any combination for this recipe. There's no way it can be bad.

2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. lemon zest, finely grated
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. turbinado (large-grain) brown sugar
Scant 6 tbs. unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
1 c. greek yogurt
Milk for extra moisture (if necessary) and brushing.
1 heaping cup mixed berries

For the icing:
3/4 c. powdered sugar, sifted
1 tbs. lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest

1. Preheat oven to 415F.  Line a flat baking pan with baking paper and set aside.

2. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and lemon zest to a large glass or ceramic bowl. Add the butter and use your fingertips (or a food processor) to incorporate it into the flour until the butter is incorporated throughout the flour in the size of small peas (same as making pastry dough).

3. Gently stir in the berries and then add the yogurt. Fold through gently. Add a splash of milk if mixture is too dry.  Do not over-mix.

4. Form the mixture into a ball by kneading gently and place onto a flat, clean, lightly floured surface.  Pat into a round of around 2 inches thick. Slice into triangles and place onto the prepared baking pan, putting the triangles back into the round shape.
5. Brush the tops with extra milk and bake for around 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown on the top and cooked through.
6. While the scones are baking, combine all the ingredients for the icing and whisk hard until they are all incorporated and the glaze is smooth.
7. Transfer scones to a wire rack to cool.  Once completely cool, ice tops with lemon drizzle.

This recipe is originally from A Splash of Vanilla.

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