Light and Fluffy SconesScones tend to fall into one of two camps: they can be light, dainty and just divine or they can be like hard little rocks that should be kicked on the way to the bus stop. Successful baking is more of a science than cooking a stir-fry, where you can just wing it and see what happens. There are a few golden rules to remember:
• The butter and milk need to be cold.
• The oven should be pre-heated for at least 10 minutes so that your scones begin to rise as soon as they are placed in it.
• Work the dough as little as possible or you could end up with a tough scone. Don’t worry about trying to get your dough looking smooth and neat.
• Go easy on the flour dusting or you will risk altering the flour to milk ratio.
These scones can be ready in next to no time, so when you get the call that you’re about to have company you can whip up a batch faster than you can say, “Just throw all the mess from the lounge room into the bedroom and close the door!”
Ingredients (makes 6 big scones or 10 smaller ones)
3 cups self-raising flour
1 teaspoon salt
60g butter, cold and diced
1 ¼ cups milk
1. Heat your oven to 200°C and line a tray with baking paper.
2. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Add in the butter and, using your fingertips, quickly rub it into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
3. Pour in the milk and mix it with a butter knife until it comes together. Place dough onto a floured work surface and very gently bring it together for no more than 30 seconds.
4. Pat out the dough until it is around 4cm high for big scones or 2.5cm high for smaller scones.
5. Using a floured cookie cutter, push down just once to cut the scones out. Don’t twist the cutter or your scone will go an odd shape. Keep chopping and then re-form the dough before cutting out the rest.
6. Place on the tray and brush with a little milk – this will help to make the tops golden. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the tops have browned.
7. Wrap the scones in a tea towel as soon as they come out of the oven to keep them soft, or cool on a wire rack if you prefer them a bit crunchier. Serve while still warm and eat within the hour for optimal freshness.
8. Smear the scones with butter, the best quality jam that you can afford to buy, and top with lashings of thick cream. Pop the kettle on and you’ve got yourself an afternoon tea!
Have you got a great recipe that you would like to share? Send it through to email@example.com and you could see it in a future issue of The Beast. For more recipes and thrifty cooking ideas visit operationjamjar.blogspot.com.