Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cranberry Scones

Call me many things... obsessive, selfish, crazy, alcoholic, self-obsessed even. Whatev. I'll admit it.. I'm a little bit of all those things. Am I working on correcting any of that about myself? Ehhh.. not really. It's all at healthy levels, I swear.  But the one thing for me, that I hope that I am NEVER described as... is uppity or snobby. That is the one thing in people that really drives me crazy. I mean, who am I to judge other people and think I'm better than them? Exactly.

As such, I try to avoid all possibly snobby-inducing situations. What are snobby-inducing situations you ask? Well.. sipping tea whilst my pinky is thrust out. Wearing hats to weddings. Having a dinner party with 14 different forks set out at each place setting. You know.. those everyday occurances for snobs. I'm never above heating the water for my tea in the microwave or getting drunk at weddings by doing shots at the bar next door everytime a slow song comes on (with the toast always... "here's to never getting married!") or breaking out the stryofoam bowls and plastic spoons for my chili at a get together... That's how I roll, baby. Class-less all the way.

So, it's only natural that I generally stay away from the scone. For me, scones fall into the pretensive food category amongst the likes of caviar, escargot, and petit fours. They were foreign to me. Until Starbucks bursted onto the scene, I'd never heard of a scone, I don't think. But as soon as I did... I immediately imagined them being eaten at high tea with some crumpets or some shit. Soooo not up my alley. I'll take biscuits and sausage gravy, please.

Back in 2008, I took a trip to Oregon with my mom. We ended up staying one night in Newport, Oregon (only because I wanted to check out the Rogue Brewery while I was there... YUM!) at this really nice hotel right on the beach, the Elizabeth Street Inn. We were on the elevator at the hotel, just after we had checked in and some other ladies were telling us about how in the afternoon they have warm chocolate chip cookies in the lobby and then one lady remarked rather emphatically about the scones at the free breakfast in the morning. "Oh the scones!" she said. "The scones are delicious!"

Scones, huh? A delicious scone? I couldn't fathom why she was so enthusasiatic about something as plain and boring as a scone.

So, of course, the next morning... I had to try a scone. And I'll be DAMNED if she wasn't right. I had a lemon poppyseed one and it was crumbly and sweet and unlike anything I'd ever had before. I've been searching for the right recipe that would give me the same texture as that scone. Some scone recipes are basically just biscuits. But, this scone... this was more cookie like. Harder, crumblier, and sweet.

Serendiptiously last week, I received an email from C&H Sugar. The email said that they wanted me to make something from their website's recipes and blog about it and in exchange they'd send me a $20 giftcard to help me with the expenses. How cool is that?

I eagerly hopped onto their recipe website and perused their recipes, trying to decide what to make. This proved to be a difficult task. I mean... it's a sugar manufacturer's website... all the recipes are going to sound amazing (doh!). But as soon as I saw this recipe for Cranberry Scones, I knew I had to try it. They turned out delicious! Crunchy and crumbly on the outside with a tender crumb on the inside. Delicious as is, with a sprinkling of powdered sugar on top or with a smear of jam. Not pretentious at all. In fact... dare I say... homey, even?

Thanks C&H!

Cranberry Scones
recipe by C&H Sugar

This recipe is easy. Usually biscuit recipes intimidate me, but the ingredients came together easily and turned out wonderfully!

Remember, these aren't supposed to be super sweet. They have just the right amount of sweetness that lingers on the tongue and makes you want to go back for one more little bit. Which turns into another bite, etc.

I think these would be just as good with raisins and maybe a little cinnamon thrown in. I'm including the butter-vanilla glaze recipe which sounds delicious, but I opted out of.

2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup C&H Pure Cane Granulated Sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter, sweet chilled
1 egg
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup cranberries, dried
1 tsp orange rind, finely grated (optional)
Butter vanilla glaze (optional, recipe below)

Preheat oven to 400F. In a large mixing bowl sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt. Using a pastry blender or the paddle on an electric mixer, cut in butter until mixture is the size of course crumbs. Add dried cranberries (and orange rind, if using) and toss to coat. Make a well in the center and set aside.

In a small bowl blend egg and buttermilk; add all at once to flour mixture. Mix until moistened. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface and knead 10-12 times. Place dough onto a lined cookie sheet. Flatten dough into an 8" circle. Frequently dipping knife into flour, cut dough into 8 wedges. Separate wedges by 1". Bake 20-25 minutes. Place baked scones on a cooling rack. Let cool 5 minutes. Brush scones with glaze if desired.

Butter-Vanilla Glaze

1 1/2 cup C&H Pure Cane Powdered Sugar, sifted
2 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all glaze ingredients in small bowl.

Makes 8 scones.