Comfort cooking, British style
by Mary Cokenour
Now I happen to be a fan of recipes originating from the United Kingdom, and I am generally referring to England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland (some areas that the Utah pioneers were from); not all the other countries that were invaded and/or annexed while the Brits were out conquering the world.
Many times I have heard that the food from these countries is boring and bland, but I do not agree.
One huge mistake many Americans make when traveling to foreign countries is to compare “American food” with that country’s food. It is a big mistake. What we refer to as “American food” is a mixture of so many cuisines., How can we judge our food against the common food of another country?
I have even met people who refuse to eat the food when in a foreign country and will only eat “Americanized” food prepared in their hotels. Ridiculous! They might as well just stay home and gone to the local diner for vacation, saving money on airfare.
I have a friend who would make authentic scones for us whenever we visited her back in Pennsylvania.
How are they authentic? She is from Yorkshire, so I believe she knows what she is doing with respect to English cooking.
I am also a big fan of many of the British chefs, so not only do I have cookbooks, but I watch their shows intently to make sure I get a recipe correct. While they may often delve into the realm of “haute cuisine”; the basis of the recipes is the comfort cooking they are raised on.
Onto scones, which originated in Scotland, made from unleavened oats and cooked on a griddle. With the invention of baking powder, scones could now be baked; the Brits sweetened them up with the sugar and fruits.
Now, scones can be sweet, savory, herbal and/or cheesy; they can be served at any meal, or just make a handy little snack. The traditional wedges are still popular, but they can also be baked much like a drop cookie; they are not as pretty as the wedges, but still taste wonderful.
Cold weather, while invigorating, also brings images of being bundled up in a warm blanket, perhaps a mug of hot chocolate soothing the trembles. For hubby and me though, we enjoy hot cups of tea with warm scones to munch on at our leisure.
We put on our English accents, which we do quite well, and pretend to be in our lovely cottage in a quaint little village.
Oh, you might be saying, “that is too silly for me” or “seriously?”, but for us, the role play keeps the relationship fresh, new and adventurous. If more married couples indulged in each other, instead of everyone and everything else around them, the rate of divorce would certainly decline. However, I digress once again, this post is about scones, not relationship counseling.
I am going to be giving you a basic recipe for scones including a few ideas for different flavorings. What you do for your taste is exactly that, for your taste; so play with the basics and enjoy the results.
Basic Mix Scones
Ingredients: 2 and ¾ cups all-purpose flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, ½ tsp. baking soda, ½ tsp. salt, ½ cup cold, unsalted butter, cubed, 1 large egg, beaten, 2/3 cup milk
Preparation: Preheat oven to 400F; spray a large baking sheet with nonstick baking spray; or use a nonstick baking sheet. Parchment paper works well is you do not want to use the spray, or do not have nonstick baking sheets.
In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking salt and salt; work butter, with fork, pastry cutter or hands, into the dry ingredients until it becomes crumbly.
In a small bowl, mix the egg and milk; make a well in the dry ingredients and pour liquid into the well. Mix together thoroughly until the dough can be shaped into a ball.
On a lightly floured board, roll out the dough to ½” thickness; mark out wedges with a knife or use pastry or biscuit cutters for rounder scones. An ice cream scoop can also be used with the dough for a more rustic look to the scones. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Makes 12 scones.
Cheese: Add ½ tsp ground black pepper and ¾ cup shredded cheese (Fontina, Cheddar, Swiss) to the dry ingredients.
Sun-Dried Tomato: Add ½ cup diced sun-dried tomatoes and 1 Tbsp. Italian herb mix to dry ingredients.
Chocolate Chip: Add ½ cup chocolate chips and 3 Tbsp. light brown sugar to the dry ingredients.