I like something sweet with my 11 o’clock coffee at the office, but the coffee shop at the corner offers mostly cakes, or overly sweet or heavy pastries. And I couldn’t really afford to keep up a daily cake habit, not for my waistline nor for my wallet!
Luckily, there are scones. Deliciously crumbly and not too sweet, they are perfect as a mid-morning snack. I make a batch once or twice a week most weeks. Now, I know, can’t nobody be dealing with complicated recipes and mountains of washing up twice weekly in the evening after work and commuting and possibly even a stab at a social life. But the recipe I am sharing today is not called “Weekday Scones” for nothing. It takes about 45 minutes from the moment you pull out your mixing bowl until you’re done, washing-up included. Ooohhh…magic.
We’re talking few ingredients that you might have in the house anyway (flour, butter, baking powder and yoghurt), minimal number of utensils, nothing more complicated than weighing and stirring. And perhaps chopping, depending on your choice of flavour. This is the other winning factor: the basic recipe is simple, but really flexible in what you can add to it: fruit – fresh, frozen or dried -, nuts, seeds, chocolate, spices…
Makes 4 smallish, 3 lady-fist sized or 2 greedy-face sized ones
You need: Utensils: Baking tray, mixing bowl, scales and measuring spoon, (soup) spoon, pastry blender or knives, perhaps a rubber spatula to scrape the bowl.
Flour – 200g (1 2/3 cup)
Salt – a pinch
Baking powder – 2 1/2 teaspoon
Cold butter – 50g (1/4 cup)
Yoghurt, plain – 200g (a GENEROUS 3/4 of a cup)
…and flavouring things. About a handful of things, about raisin-sized, so cut them if they are bigger: hazelnuts, walnuts, peanuts, banana, raspberries, blueberries, apple, apricots, sesame seeds, dates, dark chocolate, white chocolate, poppyseed… And spices if you wish: cinnamon, cardamom, saffron, orange zest, vanilla…
I recommend going for two, maximum three flavouring ingredients. Here are some ideas:
– Raisin – classic! Very nice toasted and spread with butter
– Rum raisin – if you have remembered to soak them a few hours earlier…
– Hazelnut and dark chocolate
– Blueberry – I add the blueberries frozen from the bag, that way they keep separated
– Raspberry – with or without white chocolate!
– Apple and cinnamon – another classic combination
– Carrot, ginger and walnut – very good with whole-wheat flour, if that’s your thing. Since the carrots gave the mix a slightly vegetably/far too wholesome flavour, I added some brown sugar too.
– Cherry and chocolate sprinkles – I used tinned cherries for this. Juicy fruit like that is very nice because of the juicy bites you get.
– Pear and vanilla
– Orange zest and poppyseed – my flatmate’s favourite! Because I am nice and I do share!
– Coconut and kiwi – Summery!
– Coconut and mango – a good way to use leftover coconut milk: substitute about half the yoghurt with coconut milk. Not all of it, or the dough won’t come out as well.
– Banana and walnut – good with whole-wheat flour. If you have a very ripe banana, mash it up with a fork and stir it in the yoghurt before adding. The dough will be deliciously moist and subtly banana-flavoured. Add some cinnamon and/or nutmeg and/or a tiny bit of star anise for aroma.
– Banana and peanut
– Banana and crushed peanut M&Ms – making good use of the leftovers of a cinema-sized bag of M&Ms
NO SUGAR? – I don’t usually add sugar. I like my scones plain, and most of the time, the flavouring ingredients I use add all the sweetness I need. Sugar plays no functional part in the recipe, so go by your own taste.
What to do:
– Take your baking tray out of the oven and turn the oven to 250C. Line your baking tray with paper.
– Mix flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Add any dry spices you are using.
– Add the cold butter in chunks to the flour mix, then cut it into the flour with a pastry blender or two knives.
– Add any other dry or dryish ingredients.
– Then the yoghurt and any liquids you might want to add (rum…). As soon as you add the wet ingredients, you need to stir and mix it all together. A soup spoon or similar is enough. In general, it is not a very wet dough and will just about stick together. You’re done mixing when all the dry ingredients are absorbed, after about a minute.
– Then, spoon the dough in heaps as big as you like them on the baking tray (they will not rise much), and put them into the oven for about 15 minutes. They are done when they are slightly springy, but not soft to the touch anymore.
Pro-Tip: While the scones are baking, put all your utensils into the mixing bowl, add warm soapy water and wash. That way, the washing-up is done by the time the scones are coming out! Winner!
Tell me: What’s your favourite flavour of scones?