My husband just left on a business trip to London, and I know for certain that he will be ordering one of his favorite meals, Fish and Chips, multiple times over the course of the week. Las Vegas isn't overflowing with places that serve authentic British pub fare (although I should mention that the Crown and Anchor Pub on East Tropicana is his choice for best Fish and Chips in town, and believe me, he has tried them all), so he is looking forward to getting his fill.
Fish and Chips would not be my first (or second, or third....) meal choice after getting off the tube from Heathrow. Having much more of a sweet tooth, I would surely make a bee-line for afternoon tea at some posh London hotel. I wouldn't be going for the tea mind you (I don't really drink tea), but for the scones.
Scones are a British snack of Scottish origin, and in Great Britain, their name is often pronounced to rhyme with "John" instead of "throne." They can be sweet or savory, although in the U.S. scones are typically sweet. If you have never had a really good scone, you might think of them more as "stones," because of their tendency to turn out like hard and crumbly hockey pucks. The key to really light, moist, and flaky scones is to not overwork the dough so that it doesn't become tough. The butter should also be really cold so that it can create a coarse meal as opposed to a creamy texture when blended with the dough. These delicious carrot-ginger scones are versatile in that they can be served for breakfast, brunch, afternoon coffee, alongside a bowl of soup, or even as a decadent dessert under ice cream drizzled with warm raspberry sauce. No tea required! Here are a few tips for scrumptious scones:
- Scones can be stored for up to 2 days in an airtight container at room temperature. The dough can be frozen for 2 weeks, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. Thaw at room temperature before proceeding.
- Instead of using regular granulated sugar for sprinkling on top of the scones, you can use turbinado, which is a coarse brown sugar (think Sugar in the Raw.) This adds a wonderful texture to the top and looks very nice after the scones have been baked.
- If you don't have buttermilk on hand, you can create a substitute by combining ¾ teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice with ¾ cup of milk, and letting it sit for 15 minutes at room temperature.
- Crystallized ginger is also called candied ginger, and it can usually be found in the bulk department of grocery stores. If it is not there, it may be with the dried fruits, baking section, or I've even seen it in the candy aisle. To save yourself time, I recommend just asking someone when you get there. It has a very strong flavor, but if great for adding spice to recipes or hot drinks. It also helps to cure nausea and motion sickness, so buy a little bit extra for an easy home remedy. Store it in an airtight container or it will get rock hard fairly quickly.
Makes 12 scones
2 ½ cups flour, plus more for shaping dough
¾ cup oats
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅓ cup sugar plus more for sprinkling on top
12 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup finely grated carrot
2 tablespoons diced crystallized ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 large egg
¾ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg white beaten with 2 teaspoons cold water for the egg wash
Preheat the oven to 425F degrees. In the bowl of a food processor combine the 2 ½ cups flour, oats, baking powder, salt, orange zest, cinnamon, and ⅓ cup sugar. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the carrot and ginger and pulse until just blended.
Whisk together the egg, buttermilk, and vanilla in a bowl until blended. Add to the flour mixture and pulse until just blended. The dough will be sticky.
Transfer the dough to a well floured surface with floured hands. Divide the dough in half, and pat each half into a ¾ inch circle. With a floured knife, cut each circle into 6 wedges. Place the wedges on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Brush the top of each scone with the egg wash and sprinkle each with ¼ teaspoon sugar.
Bake for 15 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of a scone emerges clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.