If I were a British newly-wed and had to impress my in-laws with my culinary skills , I would make these cheddar cheese and parsley scones without a flinch of an eyebrow. Or maybe some lightly sweetened plain scones with a generous smattering of whipped cream and fresh berries from the garden would surely get me in their good books right away. Thats how I feel about scones ; a great deal of confidence resting on the fact that these have to be one of the easiest and quickest things to bake. Now, I’m not sure whether this very Indian scenario of the bride’s first impression can be extrapolated to the British way of life, I am pretty sure of my inability of early morning cookery prowess to attempt making something which involves more than a couple of steps. These according to me will win a lot of hearts, British or not.
Scones just grew on me. What I have realized from my previous attempt at making scones and also while I made them this time is that they are an equivalent of the quintessential Indian Pohe (a breakfast dish made of beaten flattened rice). I know that sounds ridiculous – owing to the fact that they are made with ingredients that are poles apart – but yes, when it comes to the attributes of both of them as a breakfast option you would see the similarities. Just like a steamy hot plate of Pohe, these are quick and easy to make and require just a handful of ingredients. They also double up as a tea time snack and can be made ahead.
Scones are a form of quick bread that originated in Scotland. You would be bewildered at the number of scone recipes you would find over the internet since they can be made both the savory and the sweet way. This recipe for scones is from a baking class I attended and so it wouldn’t be right to post the recipe on this blog. The recipe originally had chives as the herb ingredient (apparently cheddar cheese and chives make the perfect flavor couple), but due to its unavailabity we used dried parsley instead. You can experiment with the cheese and herbs here, but be careful of the salt content, as it varies with the kind of cheese you are using and butter (unsalted or salted). The rich buttery texture, the light savory flavor due to the cheddar and a dash of mustard and the fresh earthy aroma of parsely make it the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea.
Scones are highly versatile when it comes to the ingredients but the technique for making them remains the same. The butter which goes into the flour should be cold and cut into cubes for easy mixing. If you are using your hand to make the dough, rub the cold butter into the flour till the flour appears like coarse bread crumbs. Whatever liquid your recipe requires, be it milk or cream, make sure it is straight from the fridge. Gently turn the dry and the liquid ingredients in the bowl till they come together in a single mass. Knead it just a few times till it forms a cohesive mass. Do not over knead ! Flatten it into a rough disc and cling wrap it and store it in the refrigerator for atleast half an hour before you roll them out. Roll the dough into a disc with a thickness of about 2 cm and cut them with a cookie or biscuit cutter.
Here are links to some scone recipes from blogs I love