Easy Peasy FAST Homemade Scones

Aug 7 2013

BruceandBrendaIt’s time for another Easy Peasy FAST Homemade recipe, and since my friends Bruce and Brenda are currently running a Kickstarter campaign to open an artisan bakery in our home town, I thought this would be the PERFECT time to sucker them out of one of their top-secret recipes. And… bwahahaha… my evil plan worked!

The Pacific Northwest is famous for a few things. Gorgeous evergreens. Pristine mountain lakes. See-through air. A little rain here and there. Weird weirdos who are weird. Blackberries. And scones. In other words, our family loves it here.

Traditionally in these parts, scones are county fair food, served piping hot with blackberry or raspberry jam. And, let me just say… YUM.

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I’ve made scones before, usually from the Fisher Fair Scone mix or, in a pinch, from Bisquick, ’cause that’s how I roll with all these kids. Imagine my surprise, then, when Brenda sent me this recipe which took exactly the same amount of time to make scones from scratch, for a total mixing and baking time of 25 minutes. To be honest, I felt a little stupid for using a mix all these years, but that works out well because I asked Bruce and Brenda for a Stupid Easy recipe, and I was planning to publicly malign them for only sending an easy one, but now I know they had faith I’d deliver the stupid part myself. (Psst… they didn’t. They’re nice people.)

This morning, because I care about you and I’m willing to sacrifice myself for the greater good, I made scones. The kids complained, but I carried on. Of course, the kids were complaining about each other and not about the scones, but I say whatever we do while kids complain earns us extra bonus parenting points. Which can be traded for nothing except feeling superior, but sometimes feeling superior is worth it, right? Yes, right.

Anyway. Here for your cooking pleasure are my directions for making scones. Brenda’s directions differ slightly in that they are concise, coherent, and don’t contain ridiculous asides about what to wear while baking, so I’ve offered hers at the bottom of this post in case any of you like things that make sense.

Here we go!

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Easy Peasy FAST Homemade Scones
Recipe by Brenda of Newberg Bakery
Superfluousness by Me

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Step 1: Scones should always be made while wearing your pajamas. Preferably not attractive pajamas. We’re talking comfort here, not beauty. For example, I like to wear the gray, shapeless University of Washington t-shirt I stole from my dad’s dresser in 1991. The neck is frayed. The color is terrible. There are tiny holes everywhere. And this baby is as soft as Egyptian cotton. Probably. I’ve never felt Egyptian cotton, but I hear it’s soft, man.

You, of course, can wear whatever grody pajamas you want. Sweats or yoga pants are usually a good choice, especially when the inner thighs have worn through. And it’s obviously better if you plan ahead and don’t change out of your pajamas from the night before, especially if you’re making scones for dinner.

P.S. The 1980’s banana-clipped high pony tail is optional but an excellent way to dress up your scone-making ensemble. Highly recommend.

photo 2Step 2: Assemble ingredients.

You’ll need:

  • 2 c. flour
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c. milk

Step 3: Mix the dry ingredients and cut in the butter.

I dumped the first 4 things in a bowl and added softened butter. I think you’re supposed to use cold, hard butter; the kind that had a rough childhood and yells at kids to stay off his lawn. But softened butter is way easier to manage. This is probably why my pie crusts suck, but never mind that; softened butter worked fine for these scones and I didn’t have to put up with all the grumbling from the cold, hard butter.

photo 3photo 4For those of you who didn’t grow up with a mama who taught you these things, here’s how you cut in butter:

You literally cut the butter into the dry mix. Using 2 knives like scissors, one in each hand, cut back and forth through the bowl until the butter and flour form small pea-sized bits. Ta da! Success!

Note: I used salted butter because I think for myself and you can’t tell me what to do. (Also, I really desperately didn’t want to take 1,000 kids to the grocery store for unsalted butter, which I didn’t have.)

Step 4: Add stuff if you want. Brenda recommends 1/2 c. of inclusions like chocolate chips or fresh fruit or white chocolate chips with dried cranberries. That last is one of my favorites. I’m also a huge fan of my sister-in-law’s frosted lemon scones, which she manages to make gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free because she’s a practitioner of black magic, but I don’t know what all she uses for flavoring other than eye of newt, so I’ll have to figure out a way to bribe her to let us in on her lemon scone secrets another time.

Might I also recommend peach cinnamon scones, chocolate chip scones drizzled with cinnamon honey, candied orange and macadamia nut scones, blackberry lime scones (tiny bit of lime juice + lime rind + fresh blackberries), and/or vanilla scones coated in orange vanilla icing? Yeah. Gonna have to go make more scones right now.

As for me, I made plain scones. I know… what? But seriously, there’s something amazing about the simple original with blackberry jam. They were calling my name, and who am I not to listen to their siren song?

Step 5: Stir in the milk. 

Brenda said, “If you need more, add just a bit at a time so as to not make them too sticky to handle.” I needed ~3 Tbsp. more milk than the 1/2 c. the recipe calls for.

photo 5The very best part about stirring in the milk is the fact that you need to be sure not to stir too much. Stop stirring when the dough comes together into a slightly crumbly ball. The less you stir, the lighter and fluffier the scones. So basically, the lazier you are, the better this recipe works. Or, put another way, I’m making scones for dinner for the rest of my life.

Step 6: Shape the scones.

photo 8Brenda recommends dusting your counter top or cutting board with flour and using that as a surface for shaping your scones. I bypass that entirely because I have a 20-year-old Pampered Chef baking stone that’s so seasoned (read: ugly and wonderful and absolutely nothing sticks to it) that I don’t need a separate surface. I just shape ’em on the place where I’m going to bake ’em.

Shape your dough into a ball and press it down. Then cut scones into 8 equal wedges and place them, separated, on your baking sheet or stone.

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Step 7: Bake.

Bake your scones in a preheated 425 degree oven for 18 minutes. Mine were done at 17, so start checking after 15 minutes or so. You’ll know they’re done when they’re golden brown and you can’t stand it; you have to eat them right now.

Step 8: Pull them out and eat them hot.

Yum. Also, yum.

This, in my humble but completely correct opinion, is the Ultimate Pacific Northwest Breakfast. Hot coffee, fresh scones, bowl of blackberries.

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Drizzle honey liberally and this = perfection.

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Scones:
Brenda’s Real Recipe and Directions

Ingredients:
2 c. flour
3 T. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
6 T. unsalted butter
1/2 c. milk

Mix the dry ingredients. Cut in the butter.

Add 1/2 c. of inclusions if desired: 
Chocolate chips
White chocolate and dried cranberries
Toasted nuts
Fresh fruit
Etc.

Stir in the milk. If you need more, add just a bit at a time so as to not make them too sticky to handle.

Dust board/counter top with flour. Shape dough into a ball. You can either press it down into a circle and cut into halves, then quarters, then 8ths or you can cut the ball in half and make two portions of a total of 16 smaller scones.

Place on baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven at 425 degrees for 18 or so minutes.

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NewbergBakery

You can check out the Newberg Bakery Kickstarter campaign here!
They’re almost 75% funded with 7 days to go.
Every donation of any size helps.

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P.S. Guess what my kids were doing while I was making scones?

Did you guess playing nicely in the backyard where I sent them after all of the complaining?

Why, yes! You’re right! That’s exactly where they were.

Except not in our backyard.

Nope.

photo 3 (51)My 6-year-old boy children and their 6-year-old boy cousin scaled the fence to the neighbors’ yard to hang out with their (granted, super adorable) teenage girls.

Yes, that’s right. Because that’s practically the same thing as, “Go play in the backyard.” I mean, I didn’t specify which backyard was “the,” now, did I?

And our neighbor, being the best neighbor in the history of the world — never, ever cold, hard butter — and shockingly never incensed by the shenanigans of my children or their irresponsible mother or the heinousness of our house/yardkeeping skills, rewarded the littles with Popsicles.  And texted me pictorial evidence from her phone.

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I’m telling you; it takes a Village. Of course, I’m not sure what our Village is trying to teach our kids, but we have Popsicles and scones, so who cares?

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