Black Friday Morning Scones
Baking is all sorts of things to all sorts of people. Comforting, evocative, mouth-watering, triggering. For me, it is a chief tactic for endearing myself to others, and once I’ve endeared myself to them, it’s how I continue to tell them that I love them, appreciate them, adore them — and/or really want them to like me. For better of for worse, it’s how I became president of my high school, won my first marriage proposal, and most likely how I snagged an insanely handsome and enchanting beau. The only downside to this strategy is that it’s a bit of a crutch, and I’ve managed to avoid addressing the shortcomings in my social skills by working a magic that’s more comfortable for me.
Over Thanksgiving I spent time with some wonderful, kind, hospitable people at their cottage/mountain house/chalet/whatever people in this country call it, and I let it slip that I used to work at a scone shop. Naturally, as soon as that was out of my mouth I was committed to making scones for breakfast the following morning. Let’s just say the scones made me look great.
The good news? They can make you look great too. These scones are flaky, sweet-but-not-too-sweet, a little moist, and a pleasure to behold. Who doesn't like a beautiful pastry?
Black Friday Morning Scones
Disclaimer: This is not the recipe for Baker & Scone’s scones. If you want those, you’ll have to go to Toronto. Which you totally should.
Yield: 8 scones
3 cups flour, plus some extra for your work surface
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. baking powder
2 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh cranberries.*
1 cup milk
(I used fresh unpasteurized goat, but I can’t reasonably expect you to have that on hand. I don’t know if/how this recipe works with non-dairy milk, but I can try it and report back. Or you can try it and report back.)
2 tsp. lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup (1 1/2) sticks butter or Earth Balance (the one that says “Great for Baking!”), cold and cut up into little pieces.
2 tbsp. coarse sugar for topping
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and place a rack in the lower third. Make sure there is space above this rack, as the scones will rise quite a bit.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Pour the lemon juice into the milk and set it aside.
Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and lemon zest in a mixing bowl. Add the cranberries. Add in the butter and work it in —gently— with your hands until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
Make a well in the center and pour in almost all of the milk. Leave about a tablespoon at the bottom of the measuring cup. Toss gently with your hands until the ingredients are just combined. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface; it’s okay if it’s a bit crumbly. Press the dough together, and then press it down until it’s about an inch thick. Fold it over itself, give it a quarter turn, and repeat 3-4 times.
If this is confusing, make hundreds of batches of scones until you have an innate understanding of how the dough should feel … or watch this video.
Cut the dough into two even pieces and shape each into a disc (that means it’s pretty flat on top) 2-3” tall. Cut the discs into quarters, place them on the baking sheet, brush them with the rest of the milk, sprinkle the tops with coarse sugar, and pop them in the oven. Bake 20 - 25 minutes or until golden-brown, rotating the baking sheet every 7 minutes or so. I challenge you to wait ten minutes to let them cool before serving.
*actually, the cranberries that I used had this done to them. They were gooooood.