Monthly Archives: May 2019

Game of Scones: The Iron Scone

You knew it was coming: the crowning glory of all the build-up, the driving force of this obsession—the Iron Scone. Until last week, I thought this culminating creation might need to be something with dragon fruit. But after Dani Girl’s  Ring of Fire joyride, methinks there will be no dragons or dragon queens ruling the Seven Kingdoms.

I’m betting on tradition and some sense of justice to win out, so I went with a classic currant scone. Currants happen to be an excellent source of iron, and to bring the theme home I made these scones in a cast iron pan. Instead of making familiar wedges, I made these as a more British version of scones, by cutting them in circles and nestling them together in the pan.

To find the perfect starter recipe for this grand finale, I deferred to royalty, and consulted with King Arthur Flour’s legendary baker and blogger PJ Hamel. She pointed me to her go-to basic scone recipe that lives on the KAF website. The recipe itself is excellent, and is essential scone reading. In addition to the many tips at the end of the recipe, PJ added this bit of scone wisdom:

“Don’t overbake. You want them just barely light brown. Otherwise they’ll be dry. And they’re like biscuits: the more you handle the dough, the more you risk making the scones tough. So, once you bring the dough together (after adding the liquid), don’t keep stirring; turn it out of the bowl, shaggy mess that it may be, divide it in half (a scale helps), and gently pat the two pieces into 3/4″ to 1″-thick rounds. And do refrigerate (or place in the freezer) for 30 minutes before baking; this helps their texture.”

So there you have it. The beauty of this scone is that it can be adapted to any flavors and ingredients, to accommodate whomever lands in that throne: White Hot Jon Snow; Sassy Sansa; Bittersweet Tyrion; and even the ghosts of the Loving Lannisters. Indeed, we could have started this whole Game of Scones journey with this master recipe and tweaked it accordingly, but what would be the fun in that?

The Iron Throne, which, quite honestly, does not look very comfy.

The Iron Scone

From King Arthur Flour’s Basic Scone Recipe

I pared down the recipe to the necessities, and included my own adaptation for the cast iron pan version (in bold), but I highly recommend going to the KAF site for their Baker’s tips at the end of the recipe. Another very cool feature of the recipes on the KAF site it being able to toggle between measuring by volume, ounces or grams. I like to weigh my flour and but not necessarily the rest of the ingredients. So, go King Arthur…way to support the new ruler!

Ingredients:

Dough

  • 2 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 1 cup to 2 cups dried currants (or add ins of choice)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extractor the flavoring of your choice
  • 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup half-and-half or milk. (see tips in KAF recipe, but basically you’ll need more liquid in cold dry weather and less in hot humid weather.

Topping

  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 2 tablespoon sugar, turbinado sugar or cinnamon sugar, optional

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.
  2. Work in the butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly; it’s OK for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated.
  3. Stir in the fruit, nuts and/or other mix-ins if using.
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla or other flavor, and half and half or milk.
  5. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together.
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment; if you don’t have parchment, just use it without greasing it. Sprinkle a bit of flour atop the parchment or pan. If using a cast iron pan or skillet, line it with parchment paper. Wing it or check out this slick trick.
  7. Scrape the dough onto the floured parchment or pan, and divide it in half. Round each half into a 5″ circle (if you haven’t incorporated any add-ins); or a 6″ circle (if you’ve added fruit, nuts, etc.). The circles should be about 3/4″ thick. (If using a cast iron pan or other skillet, use a biscuit cutter or the top of a can or drinking glass to cut each circle into rounds of whatever size makes you happy. Arrange them in the lined pan so there is about ½” of space in between them. Mush scraps into scone-like shapes. They too will be delicious.

    Unbaked, lightly frozen scone pucks in their iron home

  8. Brush each circle with milk, and sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar or cinnamon sugar, if desired.
  9. If making wedge shaped scones: slice each circle into 6 wedges, using a knife or bench knife that you’ve run under cold water. Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them just a bit; there should be about 1/2″ space between them, at their outer edges.
  10. For best texture and highest rise, place the pan of scones (on just the parchment if that is easier to fit) in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered. Chilling the scones relaxes the gluten in the flour, which makes the scones more tender and allows them to rise higher. It also chills the fat, which will make the scones a bit flakier. While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425°F.
  11. Bake the scones for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they’re golden brown (mine were smaller, and done in 20). When you pull one away from the others, it should look baked all the way through; the edge shouldn’t look wet or unbaked.
  12. Remove the scones from the oven, and cool briefly on the pan. Serve warm. They’re delicious as is, but add butter and/or jam, if you like.
  13. When the scones are completely cool, wrap them in plastic and store at room temperature for up to several days. To reheat room-temperature scones, place on a baking sheet, tent lightly with foil, and warm in a preheated 350°F oven for about 10 minutes.

Make ahead: This is straight from the KAF Bakers Tips, but I had to include it here too because it was a revelation: “Want to make scones well ahead of time? Simple. After the unbaked scones’ 30 minutes in the freezer (or whenever they’re frozen solid), place them in a zip-top plastic bag. Return to the freezer, and store for up to a month. Bake as directed (without thawing), adding a couple of extra minutes if needed.”

To bake up just a few scones at a time, any size oven-proof skillet will do.

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Game of Scones: The Loving Lannisters Gluten Free Apricot Almond Scone

OnSome things just should not go together, like siblings and sex. Similarly, the terms gluten free and scones really do not belong in the same sentence. And yet, just as Jaime and Cersei somehow seem to work as the couple you love to hate, it turns out that gluten free scones are darned tasty.

As we come in to Episode 5, let’s review our cast. We have the White Hot Jalapeno Cheddar Jon Snow (AKA, the true hot king) Scone, the Sassy Sansa Lemon Ginger Scone and the Bittersweet Tyrion Whole Wheat Mini Scone. But now, just in time for Mother’s Day we head south to warmer climes and the Mad Queen, Mother of the Year, evil twin Cersei

For these scones I used Pamela’s gluten free baking mix, as recommended by Santa Cruz Susan. Susan is kind of an angel on earth, which is to say, the opposite of Cersei. Susan apologized that using a mix is sort of cheating, which happens to be appropriate for this particular scone, because nobody cheats more than Cersei, and gets away with it.

The Loving Lannister scone features apricots, prunes and almonds, all members of the prunus family. Not coincidentally, prunus siblings have a bitter cyanide compound in the seed that makes them poisonous (kind of like kisses from Spain). Toxic combos that are related to each other? Could there be a more perfect scone to honor the first family of King’s Landing? And sure, you don’t expect to get black-hearted prunes and golden apricots in one bite, but social norms never stopped a Lannister. And who doesn’t like a little plot twist?

Cooking notes: For this scone, I defied the recipe and tried to make them into the traditional round mound, cut into wedges. It required a lot of back alley repair, which nobody needs to see or repeat. Give yourself a pardon and make them as drop scones, as directed. They are unexpectedly delicious!

Oh beHAVE you two!

Gluten Free Apricot Almond Scones

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2-1/3 cups Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix
  • 1/3 cup sugar (preferably coconut or demerera sugar), plus 1 Tbsp for sprinkling
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots and dried prunes (in any proportion), roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup almonds, roughly chopped or painfully slivered
  • 4 tbsp butter (as cold as Cersei’s heart, which is to say frozen if possible)
  • 1 egg, beaten (ruthlessly)
  • 2/3 cup milk or cream

DIRECTIONS:

For scone newbies, see Queen Bee’s Kitchen’s short course in sconeology here for some excellent guidance. Feel free to substitute any dried fruit or nuts of choice, even if they are “just friends” and unrelated to each other.

Preheat oven to 375.
Mix the dry ingredients (through almonds) together. Cut in the butter using two knives (or make it easy on yourself and grate it in). Add the milk and beaten egg. Mix together with a fork. Dough will be thick. Drop large, tall dollops of dough (scones will spread when baking) onto lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with remaining coconut sugar. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until they look dangerously irresistible.

 

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Game of Scones: Bittersweet Tyrion Chocolate Chip Mini Scone


Let’s talk about Tyrion. He’s been on the sidelines so far this season, but I trust his day is coming.  We love that little guy. He’s quite rugged and harbors his share of bitterness (about the whole ‘least favored bastard’ thing among other issues). He’s also soft and quite sweet on the inside. (Dude, we saw you looking at Sansa in the crypt!)

With all that in mind, it’s time for Tyrion — like White Hot Jon Snow and Sassy Sansa to have his very own scone. For Tyrion we have a mini scone made with whole wheat flour for some grit, and studded with bittersweet chocolate chips. The original recipe from Baker By Nature  calls for semi sweet mini chocolate chips, but there is nothing small about the chips Tyrion bears on his shoulders, so I opted for bigger, more bitter chips.    

Just as Tyrion has become my favorite character, this might be my favorite scone so far. Scones can feel like such a commitment, but mini scones feel much more doable. Plus, whole wheat flour gives them a wholesome heft that eases the guilt factor of eating so much butter in each bite.

As emphasized in this scone tutorial, make sure your butter is cold, even frozen if you are going to grate it. Making mini scones is just a matter of dividing the dough and making two mounds instead of one, and then cutting each into eight wedges. I pegged the slacker meter by shaping the scone mounds directly on the baking sheet.  And yes, they turned out just fine. They may not look perfect, but as with Tyrion, the beauty of these scones lies in their imperfections.

He’s little, gritty, and a little bitter, but sweet on the inside.

Bittersweet Tyrion Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Mini Scones

Prep 10 mins
Cook 20 mins
Total 30 mins
Yield 16 scones

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (preferably white whole wheat).
  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, VERY cold and cut into tiny pieces, or grated on a box grater
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

For the egg wash:

  • 1 large egg, beaten1 teaspoon milk or water
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar (or regular sugar if that’s all you’ve got), for sprinkling.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°(F). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a large bowl mix together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and sugar.
  2. Cut the butter into small cubes (or, even better, grate it on a box grater) then quickly work it into the mixture (using your fingers, or just two forks if you grated the butter) until it resembles a coarse meal.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla, sour cream, and milk, then add to flour and butter mixture. Use a fork to stir everything together until just moistened.
  4. Add in the chocolate chips and gently fold them into dough with a spatula.
  5. Pour the shaggy dough out onto a clean, floured work surface. Divide it into two equal portions  and shape the dough into a 6ish-inch circle. Cut the dough into 8 wedges and carefully transfer to the prepared sheet. (alternatively, dump the whole shebang directly onto the parchment lined sheet and form into two mounds
  6. Lightly brush each scones with the egg wash, then sprinkle the top of each scone with sugar. This is key. White sugar is ok if it is all you’ve got. Turbinado, demerera or coconut sugar gets you bonus points.
  7. Bake for 16-20 minutes, or until the tops are lightly golden brown.
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