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    Posted April 20, 2011 by
    eatboutique
    Location
    Boston, Massachusetts
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Royal scone smackdown

    Fit for a New Princess: Buttermilk Scones and Blood Orange Marmalade

     

    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Food blogger Shelby Larsson of Boston, Massachusetts, offers a couple tips for first-time scone makers: 'Don't over-knead! I used the "one hand stir" method, which allows you to gently mix the dough without over-kneading the dough (which would make scones dense and dry). Also, scones should be eaten pretty soon after baking. They are best fresh.'
    - dsashin, CNN iReport producer

    I don’t know about you, but we are REALLY excited about the royal  wedding here at Eat Boutique.  Lovers of all things British, we get  especially excited about the notion of the afternoon tea and all of the  lovely things that go along with it, like clotted cream, light and  fluffy scones, bright jams – or best of all – marmalade.

     

    When Maggie asked me to taste a few items for the spring gift box, I was more than a little delighted to taste a few different jams from small-batch producer Lemon Bird Handmade Jams.  Based in southern California, jam artisan Amy Deaver specializes in  making unique flavors of fruit-based spreads like plum with vanilla,  Merlot grape jelly, and Meyer lemon with dark chocolate.  Using seasonal  ingredients from local farms, the result is something much more  interesting than your average jelly.

     

    As the recipient of a pretty jar of the Lemon Bird Blood Orange  Marmalade, I knew I needed something very special to serve as the canvas  for my precious gift. This colorful marmalade does amazing things with  my everyday toast and English muffins, but I wanted to find the perfect  scone recipe to go along with it. While I’ve tried several types of  scone recipes over the years and have found my go-to recipes, I wanted  to try something new. I turned towards a buttermilk scone from Tartine Bakery.

     

    The  result was truly fantastic. The Tartine recipe produces flaky,  flavorful scones that were not overly sweet. During my scone research, I  repeatedly saw one key tip: the trick is to not over-mix or over-knead  the dough. A few weeks ago, I saw an Irish cooking segment on the Today Show where the baker stirred the dough together using only one hand. When  asked why, she said “once you use two hands, you tend to over-knead.” I  tried this trick myself with the Tartine recipe, and was treated to  fabulously light scones. The big cubes of butter also helped out too.

     

    Come April 29,  I had originally planned on playing hooky from work, gathering together  some of my favorite anglophiles, and putting on an absolutely brilliant  tea.  However, as we get closer to the big day, it has become clear  that for those of us in the States, this will NOT be an afternoon tea,  but a VERY early morning tea (news coverage will start around 4am, EST-  eek!). With that news, I say that there’s nothing wrong with skipping  the posh clothing and delicate cucumber tea sandwiches. But do yourself a  favor and bake up a batch of these buttermilk scones. They come  together quickly, make your house smell incredible, and topped with some  Lemon Bird Blood Orange Marmalade, you just might feel like royalty  yourself.

     

    Yes, you, the one in your pajamas, wearing a smart fascinator cocked just so in your sleep-tousled hair.

     

    Cranberry and Lemon Buttermilk Scones

    Adapted from Tartine Bakery

     

    This  recipe is a great base for all sorts of flavors. The original recipe  called for Zante currants, but I decided to go with dried cranberries.   If you’d like to use fresh berries, freeze them first, which will help  keep them whole and intact when you gently mix them into the dough (and  won’t turn your scones all blue or red with berry juice). Ginger, both  fresh and crystallized, is another favorite scone flavor.

     

    While I  have included the full recipe below, I halved the recipe, producing six  scones rather than a dozen, which worked well for me. You can also make  the full recipe and freeze the scones before baking.

     

    Ingredients

    • ¾ cup dried cranberries
    • 4 ¾ cup all purpose flour
    • 1 tbsp baking powder
    • ¾ tsp baking soda
    • ½ cup granulated sugar
    • 1 ¼ tsp salt
    • 1 cup plus 1 tbsp very cold unsalted butter
    • 1 ½ cups buttermilk
    • 1 tsp grated lemon zest

    Topping

    • ~3 tbsp unsalted butter, unsalted
    • Large crystal sugar (turbinado) or granulated sugar for sprinkling

     

    Instructions

     

    Preheat the oven to 400* F. Butter a baking sheet, or place a piece of parchment paper on the sheet.

    Place  the dried cranberries in a bowl with enough warm water to cover them  completely. Put the bowl aside for about 10 minutes until the dried  cranberries are plumped. Drain well.

     

    Meanwhile, sift the flour,  baking powder and baking soda into a large mixing bowl if making by hand  (which I recommend as this helps with the goal of not over-kneading the  dough), or into the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle  attachment. Add the sugar and salt and mix it together using a wooden  spoon.

     

    Cut the butter into ½ inch cubes and scatter them over the  dry ingredients. If you are mixing by hand, use a pastry blender or two  table knives to cut the butter into the dry ingredients ( I gave up and  began to simple break up the butter into smaller bits by using my  hands). If you are using the mixer, pulse on and off so that you don’t  break down the butter too much. You want to end up with a coarse mixture  with pea-sized lumps of butter, which should remain visible.

     

    Add  the buttermilk, the lemon zest and the cranberries all at once, and mix  all ingredients together gently with a wooden spoon (I threw my spoon  aside and used the “stir with one hand” method), or on a very low speed  if using the mixer.

     

    Continue to mix until you have a shaggy dough  that just holds together. If the mixture seems a bit dry, add a small  amount of buttermilk. You should still be able to see little bits of  butter, which will help you create a nice, flaky scone once they are  baked.

     

    Dust your work surface with flour, and turn the dough out  onto it. Using your hands, gently pat the dough into a rectangle about  18 inches long, 5 inches wide, and 1 ½ inches thick. Using a chef’s  knife, cut the dough into 12 triangles. Transfer the triangles to the  prepared baking sheet.

     

    Because I halved this recipe, I went ahead  with a rounded dough ball, and cut my scones into wedge slices that way.  If you are making the full recipe, go ahead with the large rectangle,  or make two rounded mounds for easiest slicing.

     

    Bake the scones  until the tops are lightly browned, 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven  and serve immediately. Scones taste the best right out of the oven. If  you have some leftover, you might want to toast them a bit to refresh.

     

    by Shelby Larsson

    (Eat Boutique, Lady Gouda)

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