Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ten Simple Steps: Blueberry Scones

Olympic games are almost over. What? Has it been two weeks already?

Yup, but before we settle down on our couches and watch the Olympics closing ceremony (I so hope to see Mr. Bean again), I want to get to experience another one of British delicious traditions - afternoon tea and scones.

Until now, my knowledge about these triangle-shaped treats was very limited. I only knew that sometimes, on my way to work, I would stop by a coffee shop a.k.a. Starbucks, grab a freshly brewed cup of coffee and a scone, and go on with my day. But last weekend, as I was flipping through the pages of Martha Living, I came across a recipe of very deliciously looking scones, and it did not take me long to decide to treat Varuzh and Alex for a yummy breakfast. So I googled various sites looking for more easy-to-make scone recipes and serving tips. Apparently, scones were not originally created for a quick morning coffee time in a car, but created for a relaxing afternoon tea time.

Afternoon time it is, I thought.  I found an easy to bake recipe on Martha's website, watched Sarah Carey's 60-second "how-to" video, and I was ready to start.

Alex was up by 7AM and enthusiastically offered to help: "Can I do it? Can I do it?" He asked to be in charge of measuring the ingredients, pouring them into the bowls, and mixing them. Deal!

I opened the recipe page on the iPad, organized the process into ten simple steps, and our beautiful scones were in the oven.

Oh, baking is so therapeutic - the soft smell of the ingredients, the anticipation of biting into a sweet crumbling texture warms my soul. And if you follow these 10 simple steps, you too will have scones ready for afternoon tea time! I'm sure you'll love it.

Step 1-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Step 2 - Get all the necessary tools out: measuring cups, measuring spoons, two bowls, a sifter, whisker, fork, knife, brush, parchment-lined baking sheet, and a working surface.

Step 3 - Get all the ingredients out of the fridge and pantries: heavy cream, 1 large egg, all purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, cold unsalted butter, organic blueberries, and vanilla (While the recipe calls for currants, I substituted them with chopped almonds and fresh blueberries, and added vanilla).

Step 4 - Measure the ingredients according to the recipe: 3/4 cup + 1tbs cold heavy cream; 1tsp vanilla, 1 large egg; 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour; 1/4 cup granulated sugar; 2tsp baking powder; 1/2 tsp find salt; 6tbs cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces; 1/4 chopped almonds; 1/3 cup fresh blueberries.

Step 5 - Whisk together the egg, 1tsp vanilla, and 3/4 cup cream. Yes, I mean heavy cream!
Step 6 - In another bowl whisk together flower, sugar, baking powder, and salt. 
Step 7 - Throw the cold butter cubes into the flour mixture. Mix the butter and flour mixture until the mixture resembled coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Then stir in the blueberries and almonds.
Step 8 - with a fork... not a whisk!.. stir in cream mixture until just combined.
*tip: to get a soft and crumbly dough, don't overmix!
Step 9 - Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and pat into a circle. Cut into 6 wedges and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Step 10: Brush tops of the scones with cream and sprinkled with sanding sugar.
Voila. After these ten simple steps, scones were ready for the oven. I baked them for about 20 minutes, and rotated sheet halfway through.
My blueberry scones turned out beautiful, fluffy and crumbly. And I have to say that pairing scones with jam and tea makes a deliciously balanced combination.

And I want to bake them again tomorrow... well, maybe not tomorrow...  have you seen how much heavy cream goes into these?! I better wait for a week... Cant wait! Mmmm...

With love always,
xo, Zuma A.

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