Blueberry Scones

“I asked the maid in a dulcet tone/ to order me a buttered scone./ The silly girl has been and gone/ and ordered me a buttered scone.”

Amazing things happen when you manage to wrestle an 11 year old away from his PS3. Amazing things such as intense brother-sister bonding, dough flinging and Blueberry Scones with a hint of lemon. And while we may not be as cute as we once were, or as chummy, our scones tasted fantastic.

Furthermore, as if by fate, blueberries were club priced at $2.99 for a 551mL at Safeway. I did not really understand how whole blueberries could be measured in millilitres, but I knew exactly where the toonies in my pocket were going. The rest of my money, a whole $17 and 46 cents, went to bribing a certain sixth grade student away from the telly. In hindsight, I might have been cheated a bit– while he was useful for lifting bags of sugar and flour and the warm fuzzy memories were valuable, I doubt I really owed him all that cash. In fact, I may have dug myself a little hole, because that money will surely go towards the next edition of Fifa World Cup Soccer for the PSWii. The little brother doesn’t have to worry about buying 3 types of cheese.

Or 3 types of milk product (which my mum, bless her heart, was kind enough to buy), as used in this tossed together scone recipe. Its a combination of a bunch of recipes, all with the same general procedure. Many used buttermilk, such as this one from Delicious Days, one from Canadian Living used whipping cream, and another from Allrecipes used sour cream. I sent my little slave protégé brother to the fridge, only to discover that we only had a carton of 2% and the leftovers from TexMex fiesta night. But because we’re so cunning, resourceful and clever (it runs in the family), we made it work. Imitation Buttermilk saved the day. Never has 3/4 cups of milk and a teaspoon of lemon been so good.

The real secret to the scones, however, was not 1/4 cup of sour cream, or the Bob the Builder glasses we used as cookie cutters. It was most likely the cold butter, and the, er, smunchling. You can make scones in a food processor very quickly, but of course we do not have one (a Magic Bullet is NOT the same, Dad), or use two knives to work in the butter, but by hand might just be the way to go. It was the definitely the method of choice for one young gourmet, who clocks in at 150 lbs and stands probably 5 foot 5. Yet despite his size and brute strength, was not too macho to exclaim “Ooh, its squishy!” as he kneaded the mass of dough. Win.

Blueberry Scones (rhymes with Jones, but also Johns)

Begin by preparing your “buttermilk.” Pour 3/4 cups + 3 tbsps milk into a  liquid measuring cup. Add 1 tsp of lemon juice. Let stand at room temperature until needed. Notes: you may skip this step if you plan to use real buttermilk, but the lemon in the buttermilk does add to the flavour.

In a large bowl, stir together 2 cups flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda and 1/2 cup sugar. Cut in 3/4 cups cold butter (the colder the better) and crumble it with your hands or 2 knives (or in your food processor, if you are one of the privileged few) until only peas size chunks remain. Gently mix in 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries.

Stir in the buttermilk, 1/4 cup sour cream and 1-2 tbsp lemon juice (optional). Dump the mixture onto a floured board. If you find it to be too sticky, add an additional 1/4-1/2 cup flour, if you find it too dry, add a splash of milk. Knead very briefly (over-kneading results in a tough scone) and pat into a circle about 3cm thick. Cut into circles and place on a cookie sheet. Re-knead the scraps into a similar shape and cut out circles again. Try to be particular about how you cut your scones out, as you should only be re-shaping the dough once to avoid over-kneading it.  Brush the tops of the scones with 1 egg yolk (beaten) and 1 tsp of milk.

Bake at 425F 12-15 minutes. Makes about 15 scones. With the scraps from the second round of cutting you can form a “mega scone” to save for snacking or throw the dough at your younger sibling.

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