12 November 2009

Cranberry White Chocolate Scones

I discovered these last year and have made several variations, including chocolate toffee scones. This version, however, remains my favorite. This recipe is great for make ahead or individual baking as well. Simply freeze the shapes scones on the baking sheet, then transfer to an airtight container, separating layers with parchment. When you're ready to bake, simply remove the number you need and bring to room temperature. Bake as usual. I suspect you could get away with popping them directly in the oven, but I haven't tried it.

Cranberry White Chocolate Scones

5 Tbsp unsalted butter, frozen
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 Tbsp (to taste) finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing

Grate frozen butter on a large hole box grater. Quickly spread shavings in a thin layer over a plate and return to the freezer for 5 minutes.

Combine flour, baking powder sugar, and salt in a bowl and mix. Add lemon zest. Grab the butter from the freezer and add it to the dry mixture. Using a pastry cutter, 2 forks, or 2 knives, cut in butter until the mixture resembles course meal. We're talking crumbs here, not paste.

Add chopped cranberries and chocolate chips; mix. Stir in cream slowly until the mixture comes together in a ragged ball. There will still be lots of loose mess, but that's fine. If it seems too sandy and dry, you can add more cream, but be cautious.

Dump batter onto a well-floured surface and work into a rough ball. Press ball into a rectangular shape, about 8" tall and 12-14" wide. Now fold, literally fold, the dough like it's a letter going into an envelope by bringing up the right third over the top, then the left third. Likely it will still be a mess, but that's just fine; the messier it is, the flakier it will bake up. Press the dough into a rectangle again, perhaps vertically this time to shake things up, and fold like a letter again.

From here press into your cutting shape. I prefer a right triangle myself, so I cut into large squares and then cut each of those on the diagonal. You can also press into a circle and cut it like a pie or use a biscuit cutter for perfectly round scones. I don't recommend the cutter because the dough will change as you continue to re-press it for multiple cuttings. You should get 8 hefty scones or 16 more sensible ones.

Line a baking sheet with parchment and transfer the individual scones to it. Brush the top with cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar, pressing slightly to embed the sugar. Bake 12-15 minutes (less for smaller ones, more for larger ones) until golden brown on top. Remove from oven an carefully lift parchment to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container; that is, store them if they don't get eaten right away.

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