Friday, 29 September 2017

Fresh Cream Scones (Children's Day Special)

I was hesitant about posting this because it is super quick and easy, looks unassuming, and you can find tonnes of scone recipes from the internet.

So why post this? Because it seems that many people are interested in the recipe when I told them my story....

Two years ago, my elder kid's form teacher requested for scones from me since she knew I am a homebaker. This was because the content of what she taught had a mention of scones and she wanted the children to know what a scone is and how it tastes like. I dug out Rose Levy Beranbaum's recipe book (Baking Bible) and found an Irish cream scone recipe that looked really simple and gave it a shot. The children loved the scones so much that my kid wanted me to bake scones for Children's Day last year. It was again very well received with some of the children requesting for the scone recipe! Needless to say, scones are being requested again this year! I think this is becoming a yearly tradition of sorts :p

The recipe I am going to share is not for those of you who prefer buttery scones as butter is not used at all. Despite the fact that no butter is used, the scones still taste wonderful whether fresh from the oven or after storing overnight.

Delicious, simple (almost impossible to fail), so quick to prepare it takes less than an hour from start to finish and it provides enough servings for a class party (if it is mini scone sized). So if you are thinking of a quick and easy party bake for kids, why not consider making this :)

The recipe is adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum's book, Baking Bible.

150g plain flour*
150g bread flour*
72g (1/2 cup) raisins
37g (3 tbs) sugar
1 tbs baking powder
3/8 tsp fine sea salt
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated*
28g (20ml) honey
316g heavy cream, cold
1 tsp vanilla bean paste*

*Note: You may use all bread flour or half plain flour and half bread flour like I did. Difference is protein content in the flour and texture may be affected depending on what type of flour you use. Original recipe called for 6g lemon zest. I didn't want the lemon flavour to come across too strongly (since it is for kids) so I used only one lemon's worth. Original recipe didn't have vanilla bean paste included. Feel free to change the raisins to include other types of filling or even make it a savoury treat like one friend suggested, adding things like thyme, cheese and bacon bits!

1. Preheat oven to 200℃. Set oven rack to second lowest position (recommended although middle rack will do too). Line a baking tray with baking paper.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, raisins, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest together. Make a well in the center and pour in honey, cream and vanilla bean paste. Use a spatula to stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Use your hand to knead the mixture until a ball of dough forms. Be careful not to knead too much. Just enough to make sure no lumps of flour can be seen.

3. Line a 8x8" tray (Which I don't have so I just used a bigger tray) with cling wrap. Place the dough on the wrap.

Place another piece of cling wrap over the dough and press it flat until about 1-2 cm thick.

Freeze or chill until firm. This can take anywhere from 15-30 min. You may store the dough double wrapped in the freezer for a few months if you wish.

4. Cut the block of dough into wedges, cubes or whatever shape you wish. Wedges is recommended as you don't have to rework the dough to stamp out more scones. Reworking may toughen the scone a bit but I don't find that happening with this recipe. For the purpose of this blog post, I just cut out a few scones from the block with a 5cm round cookie cutter as I intend to bake the rest nearer Children's Day. Place the cutouts about 2cm apart on a lined baking tray.

5. Bake for 8 min. Rotate the tray and bake for another 7-12 min or until golden brown. Please adjust baking time accordingly as the size of the scones you are making may differ from mine.

Cool completely before storing in airtight container. Best eaten the next day toasted when the moisture within the scone is more evenly distributed. Freshly baked scones are crisp on the outside and moist and soft on the insides. I couldn't resist eating the one below on the spot!

Cross section of a freshly baked scone.

I opened another one after overnight storage...

Still soft the next day :) 

My kids had the scones I baked the day before for breakfast and both exclaimed that it is so good!

I have been decorating the scones with a small dollop of melted white chocolate and topped with chopped candied cherries since the first time I made the scones although this is absolutely optional. I think this little bit will stay in the tradition of making scones for Children's Day.

Perhaps some kids will grow up associating Children's Day treats in school with these humble scones and their signature topping of white chocolate and candied cherries ;). Simple and yummy homemade goodness!

With lots of love,
Phay Shing


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