Debbie Dance Uhrig
Today was the first Sunday I’ve had off for a ‘very’ long time, to celebrate the family went out to lunch. Then this evening we joined a neighboring church as their children/youth presented their annual Christmas program. It brought back many, and I mean many, good memories of Christmas’ past. The message was well received and I was thankful to have been present. What I would pass along to others is the need to ‘pay it forward’ during this season. Buy a cup of coffee for someone at the drive thru window, pick up another’s lunch tab, call and spend a bit of time with a senior adult. There are many possibilities for reaching into our communities and giving of ourselves.
I distinctly remember the first time I delivered a pan of scones to a neighbor back in Platte County, Missouri. They didn’t know what they were. There are basically two different versions of scones; American and British. In America the ratio of fat to flour is significantly higher than the British. British prefer to omit the fat and sugar from inside, instead they slather it on while eating. Currants and raisins would be ok to add to the batter but not much else for the European appeal.
Many British pile on salted butter and gooseberry jam or perhaps strawberry jam on their scones.
Usually when you find a good scone at a bakery or coffee house in America we just pick them up and eat them without any embellishment. Scones may have sugar sprinkled over it, powdered sugar, a thin glaze, or no topping whatsoever.
Do I have a favorite location to purchase scones? Yes I certainly do! My favorite ones are at a bakery right across the street, from the front steps, of the Missouri Capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri. The other location is my kitchen!
When you pull my current scone foundation apart you will find my mother’s cloud biscuits with sugar added, and a few ‘little’ modifications. This week I’m suggesting you go with dried cranberries and orange zest in the body of the scone. But you’ll find it easy to go with dried blueberries, almond flavoring and chopped roasted almonds. The kids would love it if you omit any nuts and go with miniature chocolate chips!
Scones can be in about any shape you desire. I’ve done them in round shapes, triangles, squares and 7-8 inch circles. Watch the baking time carefully so that you don’t dry out the biscuit. Also remember that making a scone is like biscuit making. The more you handle the dough the more you break it down and the baked good is tough versus being flaky.
Thinking about something to bake as soon as you arise on Christmas morning?
Make the scones, cut them and then flash freeze for about 12-24 hours on parchment paper. Then bag in a freezer bag. Christmas morning bake them frozen at 350-400 degrees. It will take a bit of additional time over a fresh cut biscuit. Make a light icing the night before and soften it in the microwave that morning. Then grab the coffee and hot chocolate and head for the tree.
This past week I realized how important it is just to have each other. Don’t get me wrong the gifts are nice and greatly appreciated. But…… just being in my home today with my husband and son was one of the best gifts of all times.
Simply yours, The Covered Dish. www.thecovereddish.com
Cranberry Orange Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoons zested orange peel
1/2 cup cold butter
1/2 cup dried craisins
3/4 cup buttermilk
Combine the first 6 ingredients in a bowl. Whisk to blend. Cut in cold butter with a pastry cutter. Add craisins and milk, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened.
Divide the dough in half and roll out each portion onto a floured work surface. If you’re doing a circle style scone, work into a round ball and then pat down into about an 8 inch circle. Mark round scones with an impression for 6 pie shaped wedges, being careful not to cut through. Bake 10-15 minutes at 350-400 degrees. Allow to cool. Yield: Approximately 12 when cut into biscuit portions.