Look at those beautiful scones! They are as light and toasty as down comforters and about as welcome on a cold morning. I love freshly baked, homemade scones. Every so often I remember how much I love them and I bake a batch for breakfast. They are just as tasty at breakfast with some simple scrambled eggs as they are elegant with afternoon tea. Starting off a weekend morning with scones makes it seem like it will be quite a relaxing and pampered weekend.
Scones really are among the easiest of things to bake—even easier than pie crust—and quick, too. Scones are in that baking category of quick breads: muffins, tea breads, biscuits, etc.—all things that don't require yeast. Also, the ingredients are things you usually have on hand, unlike in the case of biscuits for which I never have buttermilk on hand.
My recipe is for current scones, but you could use any small dried berry or pieces of fruit instead of the currents. Raisins are always good, and I've tried dried cherries, too. With the addition of the grated orange peel you have extremely tasty Orange Current Scones. But if you don't have an orange, don't let that stop you. They are perfectly fine without it.
This recipe makes eight. Believe me, you and a friend will have no problem polishing off four of them right out of the oven. You can save the other four for later in an airtight container, and then heat them up in the oven or toaster oven before serving. Scones are definitely best served warm.
As for what to serve with them, plain scones are fine, but they are even better split and spread with a little unsalted butter. If you live in a country that has clotted cream readily available, you are set. And, by the way, can I come visit? You can also up your sugar intake by serving them with jam or lemon curd. But most importantly scones are completely enhanced by the accompaniment of a cup of tea. They work almost as well with a cappuccino or some hot chocolate. So if it's cold this weekend, cuddle up with a homemade warm scone!
2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Grated peel of one small orange, about a teaspoon (optional)
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup currents (or raisins or other dried fruit)
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat mat.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, salt and orange peel. Pulse a few times to thoroughly combine the ingredients. Add the butter in a few small pieces and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the milk and just 1/2 of the egg and pulse only until the dough clumps together.
3. Turn the dough out onto a board and knead a few times as you incorporate the currents. Shape and roll out the dough into a flattened circle about 1/2 inch thick. Use some flour on your hands and rolling pin to keep the dough from sticking. Note: if you like, at this point you can wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours until you are ready to bake.
4. With a pastry cutter or a knife cut the dough into eight equal wedges. Place on the lined baking sheet. Brush the tops with the remaining egg and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Cool and serve with butter, clotted cream and/or jam.
Makes 8 scones