I spent three formative years in Ireland when I was age 9 until age 12. I can’t say I was old enough to appreciate all of the Irish cooking – but there were a few things (other then my first introduction to salt and vinegar “crisps” (chips))that I still think of often! One thing I still dream of is their brown bread or soda bread – I haven’t attempted to make that yet – please send recipes if you have one! But my favorite warm treat was fresh baked scones.
Our neighbors, Delma and Finbar, who became like grandparents to us – would have them freshly baked in the morning. I’d run over eating as many as I could! They’d be smothered in butter and fresh jam. Afraid to attempt scones for so long – I recently tried them. Melissa introduced me to Nigella Lawson and I’ve had great success with the few recipes I’ve made from her book! The best part of this recipe is that you can make as many or few as you want and then freeze the rest. When waking the kids for school in the morning, don’t I look like Martha Stewart with fresh scones baking in the oven?! They don’t have to know I made them a month ago on a rainy Sunday!I altered them by adding a bit more salt and sugar to give them just a bit more flavor. I also omitted crisco and used only butter. My kids like them with butter and jam or with just butter served up next to some scrambled eggs.
Adapted from Nigella Kitchen, Buttermilk Scones
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cream of tartar
3 tsp superfine sugar
½ tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1 ¼ buttermilk (I used low-fat)
1 egg, beaten, for an egg wash (optional)
2 inch round cookie cutter, fluted is great if you have it
- Preheat oven to 425 and prepare baking pan with parchment paper or greased with butter. Mix the flour in a bowl with the baking soda, cream of tartar, and sugar.
- Chop the butter into pieces and drop them into the flour.
- Rub the butter into the flour using your hands and then pour in the buttermilk, working everything together to form a dough.
- Lightly flour your work surface. Pat the dough down into a round-edged oblong about 1 ¾ inches thick, then cut out 2 inch scones with a biscuit cutter.
- Arrange the scones fairly close together on the baking sheet, and brush with egg wash (1 egg beaten) to give the golden tops. Bake for 12 minutes – scones should be dry on the bottom and have a light feel. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Serve with butter or jam.
Freeze note: Baked scones can be frozen in airtight containers or resealable bags for up to 1 month. Thaw for 1 hour at room temperature and warm as above. Unbaked scones can be put on parchment lined tray and frozen until solid and transferred to freezer bags. Freeze up to 3 months. Bake direct from frozen as directed in recipe allowing extra 2-3 minutes baking time.