Sunday, November 1, 2009

Baking Adventure #7

Buon giorno! SO sorry I neglected to post a baking adventure last week, but I'm back now and baked double this weekend to make up for it!

One of my friends/brother-from-another-mother/guy from the cigar shop has been requesting this week's baking adventure for well over a month. He is a connoisseur of this given baked good; however, I've been putting this off accidentally-on purpose, as I am not a fan of these nor have I ever made anything close to them before. BUT, I am not one to turn down a challenge or request from someone who matters to me, so I spent the last couple of weeks researching (in my spare time, don't worry boss-man) and locating the best base recipe so as to add my own twist on an otherwise simple project. Thus, without further ado, this week's baking adventure is...

(These were influenced by Kashi's Cherry Dark Chocolate Granola bars, but most people think Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia... it's up to you which you prefer to relate them to.)

Conveniently, about a week ago I was watching an episode of Good Eats on the Food Network, and Alton Brown was making biscuits from scratch. During the episode he referenced how biscuits and scones are directly related to one another, and that got my mind rolling. What better person to get a basic scone recipe from than the very man who turns cooking/baking into a science and dissects each part??? He MUST have a good recipe for them! As luck would have it, his scone recipe contained over 100 reviews, almost all positive. I decided to give it a try as it was a base recipe from which you could add as many flavors or no flavors if you so choose.

Upon reading through the recipe, I noticed it doesn't give much description on what to use to bake the scones on (when in doubt, use a well greased cookie sheet) nor does it tell how the consistency should be. In addition, the ingredients called for "cream". It didn't specifically say what kind of cream... for such a simple recipe, this was going to be interesting! I had almost all of the ingredients in my cabinet except for the elusive "cream" and the dried cherries and chocolate chips. I was also going to be making another batch of the Blueberry Cornbread for my dad as a surprise, which called for Buttermilk, so while at the grocery, I phoned my mom and best friend (reference Baking Adventure #4) to ask if I could just purchase "cream" or Buttermilk and use one for both. After talking it out with Meredith, I decided "cream" would be the best option. (PROBLEM #1 SOLVED)

Here's where problem #2 came in... "CREAM" What kind of recipe just says "cream"? If you go to the grocery, you'll likely find (like I did) about 6 brands of "heavy whipping cream", one brand of "light cream" but not one single brand of just "cream". [Time to pick up the phone again.] Mom said they were different, but I opted to quit wasting time and grabbed the heavy whipping cream... it's dairy and "heavy" ... "cream"... it must work! [aka I WILL MAKE IT WORK, as I am the Pint-Size Baker after all!]

Back home, it was time to get to baking. First things first per usual... PREP!

(Neglected to put the salt in this photo but you can pretty much assume that salt will always be in a baked good unless otherwise noted. Salt helps bring out the flavors of the baked good.)

This recipe contained the SHORTEST list of directions out of any thus far, and it was pretty easy to conjure up. First you start with separating the dry and wet ingredients in their respective bowls. (DO NOT combine the two yet) Then, you cut the butter and shortening into the dry ingredients. Make sure the butter is super cold and cube it to make cutting into the dry ingredients a little easier.

(Tip for cutting butter/shortening into dry ingredients: it's best to either use a fork or your hands. I started out with a fork but it just wasn't doing the trick, so I used my hands. Don't over do it b/c the heat from your hands will melt the butter and you want a crumby texture [see photo] as your final result.)

After cutting the butter and shortening in, it's time to add the cream/egg mixture and stir until all ingredients are blended, but don't over work it.

Then, fold in whatever additives you so choose. The recipe says to add a "handful" as a good measurement for how much to add. However, I have a feeling my "handful" is about half the size of Alton Brown's (was once told I have "opossum hands"), so I added 2 handfuls of each. It worked out just fine!

Next was time to flour the counter and rolling pin and roll out the dough, then cut into round shapes and bake.

Next time I make these (if there is a next time), I will cut into triangle shapes, as the scones resemble more of a cookie or biscuit when they're in a round shape. (Remember, people eat with their eyes first!)

All in all this recipe was SUPER easy to make and quick too! Some takeaways for the next time include:
  1. Add a touch more sugar than the recipe calls for as they were just under-sweetened.
  2. Cut into triangle shapes instead of circles.
  3. Egg-wash and sugar the tops before baking.
  4. "Heavy Whipping Cream" and "cream" are interchangeable. There is a slight difference in the fat content but overall, the flavor and consistency are pretty similar.

That's pretty much it! Oh! and in case you were wondering, the Blueberry Cornbread turned out great! I added a touch more sugar than last time and substituting the cream for the called-for buttermilk made little difference. In fact! I prefer the flavor of the cornbread with the cream to that of the one with the buttermilk.

Until next time my friends!!! Have a wonderful week!


  1. total cooking time - 5 hours 15 minutes due to taking pictures of food being prepped. xoxox!

  2. So glad I didn't steer you incorrectly with the cream! haha

    Also, an easy tip when you're working with dough (namely where you have to "cut" in butter and shortening), use a food process! It does all the work for you with a few quick pulses. It's AWESOME, and I figure if all the pros on TV do it, it's an acceptable method :)


  3. I have heard of folding ingredients in, but not cutting. You learn something new everyday.

    BTW, these look de-lish!