Last weekend, not yesterday but the first weekend of March, I made scones before heading out to the plant sale. I bought a package of Sticky Fingers Tart Cherry Scone mix. It was easy and it was good but the only thing I could think while eating the scones was that surely, I could make scones from scratch and they'd be warm and wonderful. Yesterday was the day that I set out to appease this simple yet nagging challenge I'd presented to myself.
I found two recipes that I wanted to try. One was for savory pumpkin scones with parmesan and the other was for buttermilk scones. Michael thought the pumpkin scones sounded good and they sounded good in that they were different from all the other recipes which were really all very close cousins of each other.
I should have really considered the outcome based on the ingredients. For one, there wasn't a lick of sugar. Not a lick. I put in a dollop of applesauce just to try to save their little scone-y souls. The benediction was not enough to counter the whole wheat flour and yogurt that was used in place of cream. Yet Michael really liked them, in fact, I believe he may have preferred them to the buttermilk scones because he sounded disappointed to learn that I had divvied them out amongst the neighbors to nibble on **like hardtack in case the end of times should fall upon us. He was left with a total of three very healthy savory pumpkin parmesan scones.
I, on the otherhand, couldn't help but feeling duped. I felt duped that the recipe called these bread things scones and not biscuits because that's what they really were and I am not partial to biscuits for breakfast. Though some people are, I know. I once took a road trip to Arkansas with a Pentecostal preacher that devoured two plates of biscuits and gravy for breakfast. I could see that he had spent a lifetime of choosing biscuits over a booth because he could not physically wedge himself into the generous bench seating that the restaurant had to offer. But the man was happy and the man could tell a story. He was a brilliant storyteller and I wished that I had been more gracious towards him since 90% of the reason that I went on the road trip was to hear his stories. The other 10% was just plain curiosity about Arkansas. We went to visit the old gallows of Ft. Smith where he told me the history of Arkansas and Hanging Judge Parker but that is another post for another day.
Back to biscuits. Back to scones. The Pumpkin Parmesan scone recipe went into the recycle box shortly after I made the Buttermilk Scones. This second batch of scones called for whole buttermilk, twice the amount of butter mixed into all-purpose flour and sugar and vanilla, etc. The buttermilk scones were exactly what I wanted - not too sweet, but formidable. No, there wasn't any fruit to dot the bready landscape but I don't know why you couldn't add some if that is your bent. I found the recipe on bakingbites.com aptly titled Rustic Buttermilk Scones. The only thing I might stress regarding homemade scones is not to overmix the dough. It will quickly become tough and elastic.
This if for you. You have all week to pick up what you need from the grocery so you can make these next weekend. Enjoy!
RUSTIC BUTTERMILK SCONES
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 425F. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add pieces of butter to the flour and rub in with your fingertips, or cut in with a pastry blender until mixture is coarse and sandy and no pieces of butter larger than a big pea remain.
Stir together vanilla extract and buttermilk, then pour them into the flour mixture. Stir with a fork until the dough comes together into a rough ball. The dough should be slightly dry, not sticky. If the dough is too dry to come together, add an additional tbsp of buttermilk. If dough is very sticky, add in an additional tbsp of flour. Knead dough by hand in the bowl for 20 - 30 seconds, folding it over itself a few times. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces and drop onto lightly greased cookie sheet.
Bake for 15 - 19 minutes, until scones are light golden.
* original URL to article: http://bakingbites.com/2013/08/rustic-buttermilk-scones/
**OK. They were nothing like hardtack and I seem to be the only person that was not wowed by the first scone recipe. But I was looking for sugar!