Though fanatical cooks are loathe to admit it, sometimes good things come in, well, packages. Big or small, it doesn't matter; a mix can produce lovely muffins and brownies, and one of my friends, a talented home cook, swears by her cake-in-a-box. Still, I'm more in the made-from-scratch camp myself. It's fun playing mad scientist, slinging flour hither and yon in the adorable sushi apron that stands in for a white lab coat.
One day recently I was groping around in my cabinets for something to do and brushed up against a bag of scone mix. "Why not?" I thought, and set to work. The resulting scones were studded with a few fragrant raspberries and quite satisfying with a healthy pat of butter and some jam. When Mr. Food Musings devoured one and asked for more, I sparked to my new mission.
The very next day I made my first batch of scones from scratch thanks to a recipe from another trusted home cook. I started by doing some research on scones, digging into Nick Malgieri's baking tome and surfing the web for advice. Several batches later, I feel like an old pro.
Berry Scones (based on Amy's Fruity Yogurt Scones recipe)
I have made these several times, experimenting with egg washes, cooking temperatures, berries, and mixing techniques. This is the version that works best for me in my kitchen. Keep in mind that I'm as lazy as they come, which is why I trotted out the food processor to incorporate the butter. You do want to be very careful not to overmix the dough; it will make the scones turn out dense and you'll have been better off with a mix.
Despite haughty comments from an English friend to the effect of scones not being scones if they're made with anything but currants, I am not bound by any childhood cultural prejudice, and raspberries and dried blueberries are next on my list to try.
1 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 TBSP sugar
1 TBSP baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup blackberry yogurt
heaping 1/2 cup fresh blackberries, roughly chopped
2/3 TBSP raw sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a big bowl combine the first four ingredients. Dump the dry mixture into the food processor bowl. Add the butter and let fly until coarse crumbs form. Pour mixture back into your mixing bowl and add the yogurt and berries. With a wooden spoon, mix very gently. The dough will be sticky, and I usually stop mixing it when there is still some fine flour silt on the bottom of the bowl, working that last bit in on the next step. On a floured surface, pat the dough into a 7" circle with a slightly domed center that gives scones that nice fat shape. Cut into 4 wedges, sprinkle with the raw sugar, and bake an inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 22 minutes. Serve immediately, or cool completely on a cooling rack before stashing them in a tin for safekeeping. Great with fresh butter or clotted cream (if you can find it), a thick smear of blackberry jam and a cuppa.