Great for Tea or Coffee
For the first time today, we had real spring weather. It was exciting, because we had an overnight ice storm two days ago, that snapped tree branches, downed power lines and left several thousands of people without power in Ontario.
Today I had a very funny experience. I was trying to grill bell pepper (capsicum) using the oven grill, and doing so many other chores in the house, so I decided to leave the oven door slightly ajar, as a quick reminder that it was on. Unfortunately the little heat that was escaping through the door triggered all the smoke alarms within vicinity, including the ones upstairs. They are kind of linked.
In the last house we lived in, two years ago, all you had to do was to fan the heat or smoke away from the detector and that would automatically stop the alarm beep. Unfortunately, I have never tried to figure out how to switch off our current smoke alarms (they are more modern), so this noise went on and on and on for about 15 minutes because I couldn’t figure out how to stop it. I opened doors, windows, fanned the area around the detectors, but the noise didn’t stop. It was so frustrating and the noise was so loud, I couldn’t think straight.
After pressing all visible buttons without success, I pulled the detector out of the ceiling socket and eventually, it stopped, but not immediately. It was such a relief. I was left wondering how one can spend so many years in school and still not figure out how to turn off a smoke alarm?? If like me you haven’t figured this out, do so when you are not under pressure. Guess how I spent my evening today? Reading “ How to turn off a smoke alarm,” apparently it can be quite complicated, so I feel much better.
Remember to assemble all ingredients before you start
These scones were really nice and they are easy to prepare, once you get used to kneading this kind of dough. It will take a few trials before you become an expert, but do not give up, if you are new to this.
Cranberry and Chocolate Chip Scones
Preparation time: 20 minutes; Baking time: 12-15 minutes; makes: 8-12 depending on size and thickness.
- 250g (2 cups) self-raising flour
- Pinch salt
- 60g (¼ cup, ½ stick, 4tablespoons) butter, cubed
- 2 tablespoons castor sugar
- 50g (¼ cup, 2oz) chocolate
- 20g (2 tablespoons, 1oz) dried cranberries
- 1 egg, beaten, lightly
- 60ml (¼ cup, 2fl oz) milk
- 60ml (¼ cup, 2fl oz) sour cream
- Milk or egg, for glazing
- Preheat oven to 425℉ (220℃). Brush baking sheet with melted butter or oil. Sift flour and salt into a large bowl. Add cubed butter and rub into the flour briefly, and lightly, using your fingertips, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add sugar, chocolate chips and cranberry, stir to combine. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture.
- Combine milk and sour cream. Add egg and almost all the combined milk and sour cream to the well. Mix with a flat-bladed knife, to a soft dough, adding more milk, only if necessary.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface (use self-raising flour) and knead briefly and lightly, folding it back over itself, and pressing down (about 20 seconds). The dough should just lose its stickiness.
- Press or roll out dough to a flat round, about 2 cm thick. Cut dough into circles using a floured, 5 cm cutter. Pile the scraps together and press or roll out. Cut more pieces (do not re-knead).
- Place the scones on the prepared baking sheet (baking tray). Glaze with milk and sour cream mixture. Sprinkle with a little sugar, or if preferred glaze with egg for a shiny crust. Bake 10-15 minutes or until well-risen and golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack. Serve with butter or any filling of your choice.
- Variations: you can vary the dried fruits to your taste (currants, raisins, chopped dates, prunes, apricots or mixed fruit)
Points to note:
- Please note that oven temperatures are given as a guideline only. You may need to add or reduce the suggested temperature depending on your oven. I baked at 430°F (220°C) for 15 minutes.
- I always weigh my ingredients, especially the flour and butter. You can use cup measures, but please note that if you scoop flour directly from the bag you will end up with 150-185 g of flour instead of the recommended 125 g. I suggest you spoon the flour into the cup, heaping it up over the top, then slide a knife across the top to level off the extra. Be careful not to shake or tap the cup to settle down the flour or you will have more than you need. You can also sift the flour first then scoop.
- The secret to light fluffy scones is ‘very light handling of the dough.’ Over handling will result in tough scones.
- I prefer to brush my scones with egg because it gives a brown and glossy finish.
- You can cut the scones into squares or any other shape you desire.
- Scones are best eaten while they are still warm and fresh, but can be frozen up to three months.
- For soft scones, wrap in a clean tea towel while still hot. For a crisp top, place on a wire wrack to cool.