Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Recipe: Cinnamon Scones

These are the greatest thing in my personal baking repertoire.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold butter cut into pieces
1/2 cup Hershey's cinnamon chips
1 large egg
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 capful imitation vanilla extract (optional)

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees. Have a large, ungreased baking sheet set aside. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together thoroughly in a large bowl. Drop the margarine in and cut with 2 knives or a pastry blender, tossing the pieces with the flour mixture to coat and separate them as you work, until the largest pieces are the size of peas and the rest resemble breadcrumbs. Do not allow the butter to melt or form a paste with the flour. Stir in the cinnamon chips. Whisk the egg, cream, and vanilla together in a separate bowl, then add to the flour mixture. (Keep some of the egg mixture back - maybe about half a teaspoon. It will be used later.) Mix with a rubber spatula or what have you just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Gather the dough into a ball and knead it gently against the sides and bottom of the bowl, turning and pressing until most of the loose pieces adhere to the dough and the bowl is fairly clean. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and pat the dough into two 6-7 inch rounds, each about 3/4 inch thick. Cut each into 8 wedges and place at least 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. Brush the tops with the remaining egg mixture and sprinkle with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Bake until the tops are golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool on a rack or serve warm. Excellent with tea.

Adapted from the recipe for Classic Currant Scones found in the 1997 edition of The Joy of Cooking. For a lower fat recipe, substitute margarine for butter and half and half for heavy cream.

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