It has been pretty cold here, and I have been pretty busy.
I have been busy plugging away on my cookbook and that has taken a lot of my time. So much of my time, in fact, that I have dedicated very little time to recreational baking. So, when I decided to come out of my writing cave I knew one thing. Whatever I made would have to be easy. It would also have to be tasty enough to chase off the winter blahs. Scones fit the bill perfectly. They are easy, needing the lightest of touches, and they certainty taste good. What I love about scones is their versatility, going from breakfast, to snack, to dessert with only a few additions.
The butter in these scones are incorporated in two parts. First is the brown butter which is rubbed into the flour mixture very well. This ensures that the nutty goodness is evenly distributed, and that the flour is well coated to inhibit gluten development. The second addition is in the form of chilled, cubed butter. This butter adds some lift to the scones and some flaky layers. The finished scones are lightly sweet, lightly nutty, and very tender. I enjoyed these with some strawberry jam which brought a little spring freshness to my chilly winter evening.
Buttermilk Brown Butter Scones Serves 8
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons butter, browned and cooled
3 tablespoons butter, cubed and chilled
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg, beaten
Sugar, for topping
Heat the oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until well combined.
Add in the browned butter and, using your fingers, rub it in until the mixture looks like coarse sand. Add the cubed butter and rub it in until the butter is in pea sized pieces.
Add the buttermilk and vanilla and mix until the dough forms a shaggy ball. Turn the dough out onto a well floured work surface and form it into a 10-inch disk that is 1/2-inch thick. Cut into eight wedges.
Place the wedges on the prepared baking sheet and brush with beaten egg. Dust the tops with sugar then bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the scones are golden brown. Cool slightly before serving.
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