Saturday, September 8, 2007

One Hot Kitchen

Let me tell you--it's too hot to be baking. Really. It was a scorching 95*F outside today, and silly me, I procrastinated all week and HAD to bake today.

You see, I am the co-host of a bridal shower tomorrow.

Yes, a dear friend of mine is getting married soon, and tomorrow is an afternoon tea bridal shower, for which I baked scones tonight, along with a yellow cake to be used for a strawberry trifle. My scones turned out so well that I felt I must share the recipe.

See how good they look?

Chock full of dates and dried cranberries, lightly sweet and not your typical 'gut bomb' scone, these are light with a fine crumb. Perfect with butter and jam.

Cranberry-Date Drop Scones

2 cups cake flour
1/4 cup sugar (or 1/4 tsp stevia powder for a no-sugar-added treat)
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup dried cranberries (craisins)
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup light cream

Preheat oven to 425*F. Lightly grease a large cookie sheet.

In a large bowl, whisk together cake flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda and nutmeg. With a fork, quickly work the butter into the dry mixture until it resembles crumbs. It's okay if there are some chunks of butter--they should be no larger than the size of peas. Stir in dates and dried cranberries. Add egg and light cream, and stir until just mixed. Do not overmix--stir only until it comes together.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto baking sheet. Bake about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and serve warm, slathered with butter and jam alongside a hot cup of tea. Or cool and store at room temperature for future scone bliss.

Scones can be held at room temp for about a day. If you want to store longer, they should be frozen, wrapped in plastic zip-top bags. When you want to eat them, thaw on the counter, then bake in a 350*F oven for about 10 minutes, or until warm.


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