Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Unbearable Lightness of Scones

When I lived in New York, I worked for several years in 7 World Trade Center, the first building to go down on 9/11.  It was across the street from the rest of the Trade Center, connected by a pedestrian bridge that looked like a giant gerbil tube.  A small Devon & Blakely sat at the foot of the building that directly faced 7 World Trade, and I occasionally stopped there on the way to work to pick up one of their fabulous sugar-encrusted cranberry scones.  Warm with real butter - ecstasy!

We don't have a Devon & Blakely in Phoenix, so now when I'm hungry for scones I make them myself.  I've tried to develop a version that's as good-tasting as D&B's but not quite such an indulgence.  That means I make them much smaller than the D&B scones and usually leave off the sugar coating - but feel free to add it if you want to.

We normally don't buy flavored yogurt any more, preferring to eat low-fat plain yogurt with real fruit instead, but it does work beautifully in this recipe.  We think the subtle fruit flavors eliminate the need for jam or jelly.

Orange Yogurt Scones with Dried Cranberries

2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup dried cranberries
6 tablespoons cold butter
1/4 cup Eggbeaters egg substitute (or 1 beaten egg)
6 ounces Yoplait orange creme yogurt

If the dried cranberries are extremely dry, plump them up by soaking them in orange juice for about 15 minutes.  Drain before using.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.  Cut in the butter.  Add the cranberries and mix well.  Add the egg and yogurt and blend to make a very soft dough.  Form into rough balls (they should look like drop scones) and place them about 1 1/2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until the scones are puffy and golden.  Cool on a wire rack.

If you want a sugar crust on the scones, brush the top of the dough with milk and sprinkle with sugar.

Update: I believe Devon & Blakely uses fresh cranberries in their scones, which makes their sugar crust almost mandatory.  I use dried cranberries because fresh ones are available in this area only a few weeks every year, but they are quite a bit sweeter than the fresh berries.  If you prefer a tarter snap in your scone, try chopped dried apricots, dried sour cherries, or frozen cranberries instead.

"I want to work on some more complicated baking... and it would be interactive!" ~ Lisa Loeb 

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