Saturday, June 4, 2011


I'm baaaaaaaaack!  

And it's so good to be home!

Home to my hunky hubby (who had the house spotless when I walked in.  Gold star for him!). 

Home to my precious babies.  

Home to my beautiful addition.  

And home to my little blog.  

I love home!

I've been in Austin, Texas attending the International Association of Culinary Professionals meeting.  So amazing.  And yet so overwhelming.  I was like a microorganism in the pond, swimming around with the likes of  Ellie Krieger and Jacque Pepin.   My dear friend Heather designed beautiful business cards for me, but I felt foolishly self-conscious as I handed them out.  Like I have anything to offer these people.  But...the one thing I'm trying to walk away from the conference with is this:  I, as one of tens of thousands of food bloggers, have VALUE.  My blog means something to at least the precious 80 darlings who decide to pop by to see what I'm cooking and writing about on a regular basis.

To celebrate the beauty of this realization and the excitement of being home, I decided to make some scones this morning.  

Scones are sweet, flaky, buttery, crumbly biscuits. 

Translated:  they are like biting into heaven, if one can imagine such a thing.  

And they are easy to make.  

You'll need flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  And butter.  Lots and lots of butter.  Plus some heavy cream.  You know, to lighten it up a bit.  

Essential step:  employ the cutest little helper under your roof.   

And give yourself some GRACE if the photo isn't in focus.  
This is real life.  
Not perfection.

After you mix the dough, 
sprinkle a smooth surface with flour. 
Plop out about half of the dough onto the surface.
Then toss a little flour on top of the plop.
 Now you'll be able to touch it without it sticking to your very bones.  

Shape into a "round." 

Slice the round in half, and then into quarters. 

Arrange on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Make an egg wash, if desired (egg + cream to brush on top to give a yummy, shiny brown finish).

Let your other cutest little helper "paint" the scones.  

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, until firm and golden.
(Firm and golden:  I'd like someone to describe me that way, 
especially during swimsuit season.  :)

We only used the egg wash on the eight scones on the left.  
See the difference?

Enjoy with your cuties. 

Simple Scones*
Makes 16 large scones or 32 small scones

2 sticks VERY COLD butter
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups heavy cream

Egg Wash:
1 egg
1 tablespoon heavy cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees at least 20 minutes before baking.  Set an oven rack in the middle position inside the oven.

Dice butter into 1-inch cubes and refrigerate them for at least 30 minutes or freeze them for 10 minutes.  (Cold butter is the trick here!)

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add the butter, and with a pastry blender or your fingers, press the cubes and break them up into the flour mixture until the mixture is crumbly.  Pour in the cream just until the flour is moistened and the dough starts to come together in large clumps (you might not have to use the full 2 cups).

Generously sprinkle flour on a working surface (countertop, cutting board, etc.).  Divide dough in half (for large scones) or in quarters (for smaller scones).  Place dough on floured surface and then add additional flour (about a tablespoon) to the  top of the dough.  Pat the dough into a thick, rough circle (called a "round").  Cut the circle in half. Then cut each half in quarters.  Repeat with remaining dough.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  

To prepare the egg wash, lightly beat an egg with a fork and then mix in the cream.  Using a pastry brush, "paint" the scones with the mixture prior to baking.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes (for larger scones; about 10-12 minutes for the smaller size).  Scones should be golden brown and firm in the center.

**You can also add dried cranberries, currents, raisins, etc. to this recipe and concurrently experiment with other spices (orange peel, lemon peel, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.).

Recipe inspired by The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Beranbaum