Let me tell you, Allison, my winter break wasn't very eventful. Mostly I sat around agonizing about my future for hours on end. Or watching Project Runway. Anyway, there were a few bright points to my vacation, one of which was a delightful tea party I went to at a friend's house. In honor of merry old England (from which I had just returned), I decided to make scones! But I made cranberry orange scones, which is kind of a fake American scone variety.
They were delicious! We ate them with clotted cream and Barefoot Contessa brand strawberry jam!
As you can see, there was quite a lavish spread--we also had custard tarts with an edible flower and raspberry garnish, fancy imported cookies, cucumber and salmon finger sandwiches, two kinds of tea, and plenty of ambiance. Most importantly, we had the necessary nourishment to sustain us through an epic gossiping situation.
Because really, what's the point of coming home from college if not to gossip about every single person you went to high school with? And with the help of Facebook, nobody can keep any secrets.
Scrumptious Cranberry-Orange Scones
(From Baking Illustrated: A Best Recipe Classic by the editors of Cook's Illustrated Magazine. I love this book because it has great diagrams and very clear directions for every basic baked item you could possibly think of)
2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tbs baking powder
3 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt
5 tbs cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 cubes
1 tsp grated orange zest
3/4 c dried cranberries
1 c heavy cream
Preheat oven to 425.
Place four, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large bowl, or the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Whisk together or process with six one second pulses.
(I used the food-processor method, and it worked perfectly)
If making by hand use two knives, a pastry blender, or your fingertips and quickly cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal with a few slightly larger butter lumps. If using the food processor, remove the cover and distribute the butter evenly over the dry ingredients. Cover and process with twelve one-second pulses.
(At this point, the mixture should resemble coarse, wet sand)
Add the currants and quickly mix in or pulse one more time. transfer the dough to a large bowl.
Stir in heavy cream with a rubber spatula or fork until the dough begins to form, about 30 seconds. Transfer the dough and all dry flour bits to a counter top and knead the dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, slightly sticky ball, five to ten seconds.
Cut the scones into eight wedges. (There's a secret, special technique for getting the wedges perfect: press the dough into a lightly greased or buttered 8" round cake pan, then invert the pan on a plate or cutting surface. Presto--a perfect circle of dough to cut with a sharp knife)
Place the wedges on an un-greased baking sheet. Bake until the scone tops are light brown, 12-15 in. Cool on a wire rack.
Eat with clotted cream, God's gift to mankind. And of course plenty of jam!