Friday, March 4, 2011

cream cheese scones

Aaah, so good to be back home. While I've enjoyed bouncing from one city to the next for work, I very much missed my own bed and of course, my family.

First thing I did this morning? Tea, scones and blogs. I love waking up in the morning before anyone else has gotten up, fix myself a cup of English Breakfast tea (with cream and sugar, please!) and leisurely peruse my favorite blogs and news sites. This morning, however, I was able to enjoy a sumptuous little treat. I had made a batch of cream cheese scones this past sunday and they've kept surprisingly well through the week! I warmed one up, topped it with apricot preserves. A perfect addition to my morning routine of tea and blogs.

This is where I got the cream cheese scones recipe. This book was given to me for Christmas by my friend and Santa Monica carpool buddy (Thanks Chieko!). This recipe uses simple ingredients and it's fairly easy to follow. The scones come out moist, almost cakey in texture and with a mild creamy flavor. They're perfectly lovely served with quality preserves (such as Bonne Maman) and a side of berries. Highly recommend giving it a try for a yummy Sunday breakfast!

Ingredients: (makes 16 triangular scones)
3 cups bleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar (I used a heaping 1/4 cup of sugar as I prefer just a bit more sweet flavor)
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces cream cheese, cold and cut into 20 pieces
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into 12 pieces
2 large eggs, cold
1/3 cup milk, cold

Special Equipment Needed:
Food processor

  • Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees.
  • In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • Place the cream cheese, butter and eggs in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse 6 to 8 times to combine. Mixture will look a little curdled.
  • Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the dry ingredients and the milk. Pulse 3 times and scrape again.
  • Pulse 3 more times and invert the dough into a floured work surface. Carefully remove blade. Fold the dough several times to make it smoother. Do not overwork it.
  • Divide the dough into two equal pieces and press each piece into 6-inch disks. Arrange the disks of dough onto prepared pan (jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper) about 3 inches apart.
  • Use a knife to cut the disks into 8 equal pieces, cutting only about halfway through.
  • Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle sugar on top.
  • Bake scones until well-risen and golden on top. This took me about 20 minutes.
  • Cool scones on pan for a few minutes, then separate with a knife at the marked divisions.
  • Serve immediately with high quality preserves. These will not need butter or cream toppings as they are already rich enough on their own.

Additional Ideas:
  • Serve with sliced berries.
  • Or for a tropical touch... Dice papaya and strawberries into small pieces. Squeeze some fresh lemon or orange juice on top of diced fruit. Sprinkle with a bit of sugar and combine well.
  • Add orange zest, chopped craisins or blueberries to the cream cheese/butter/egg mixture before adding the dry ingredients.

The food processor made the task of making the dough so extremely easy.

One of the reasons why we had Carrera marble installed in the kitchen is because I knew marble makes for an ideal baker's work surface. The marble stays cold even in hot weather so it helps keep dough manageable. I just sprinkle flour and work the dough right on top of it.

Here's to a wonderful weekend!

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