Currant Scones

currant scones

I love these scones.  Love love love love love.  And love is probably an understatement.

Is this the best scone recipe out in the world?  Um.  I dunno actually as I made these once and I have never made any other, that’s how much I love them.

Which is funny too as I have about twenty or so scone recipes stashed away currently.  That I’ve never tried.

I’ve had scones from bakeries.  Not often though as they’re harder to find.  In the U.S. anyway, I should qualify.  I remember seeing them all over the place when I was in the UK many a year ago.  Obviously.

None have compared to this recipe.  Bakery bought have been too hard or too dry or too chunky crumbly, too sweet or too anemic to bother considering.  Or just bleh, not tasty.

Even more many a year ago, I purchased this cute little book, Biscuits and Scones by Elizabeth Alston,* when I lived in Ithaca, New York.  Not realizing what a momentous occasion it would be purchasing this lil’ thing until decades, ahemyears!, later.

In all fairness, I haven’t made many recipes from this book, though now having this baking blog, who knows, I may start working my way through it.

It’s not often I buy a baking book, to be frank.  Because I’m trying to curtail things, possessions?  Partly. 

If I do, it has to majorly wow me with its recipes, its variety or contain several I Just Have to Haves.  No offense to cookbook writers but it seems many a book, the recipes are variations of themselves or bent a wee narrowly towards the author’s tastes which may not be mine.

Of the things I have made out of this book in question, yes, several are kinda variations of the same so maybe that’s why I haven’t baked my way through.  Her buttermilk biscuits?  Nope.

But.  But.  The more I come across recipes in the world, I find I’m drawn to Ms. Alston’s.  Such as in the Women’s Day Desserts* book, where I found Breezy’s Chocolate Chocolate Birthday Cake and other serious winners.  Years later discovering she was the editor, the world hummed in harmony for me.

So I’ve since purchased all her little books.*

But I had baked up her Baking Powder Biscuits eons ago.  Like all the time.  And still do on the somewhat regular.  So good.  So simple and so good.  Slightly warm from the oven with a fat smear of butter?, oooOOooh heaven.  Ok, I’ll share those one day. 

And I made those Currant Scones.

These get made less often though as uh, there’s this uh severe predicament of incessantly stuffing my face with them going on so I uh, need to temper the frequency of baking these.

So what is a scone?  Bon Appetit has a not so serious opinion.  And who knows, maybe I’ll try their recipe to compare.  An egg?  Weird.  Though the more I research, I guess eggs are common.  Weird.
Several folks actually say the main difference between a biscuit and a scone is the addition of an egg.  Huh. 

But Ms. Alston is English, I gotta take her no-egg word for it.  

Fine, whatever, ya know what?  I do not care, pffft, I love this darn recipe.  Do not care.

Scones are somewhat similar to biscuits but are not.  They’re slightly sweeter, slightly drier, not about the flaky layers, are tender but sturdier.  Heh, aka, complicated beasts.  Wait no no no, not really!

These particular scones are buttery, tender and light with soft dewy crumbs, a hint of sweetness, and the pop of tart currant nibbles.  Yum. 

And yes, I know, I should have (and meant to) share this recipe right after the Irish Soda Bread Muffins as a way to use those leftover currants. 

This recipe couldn’t be any simpler though.  And in short order, like within all of twenty minutes, you’ve got breakfast or a snack or a coffee/tea tasty treat.  Wow, right?!

Start by slicing your butter into cubes and pop them in the freezer for a few minutes.  Or, you can grate the butter too which I always always forget is a great option.  Not sure why.  Once you’ve got that done, get that oven heating. 

cubed butter
As you can see, I’m a cuber. Gotta remember to try the grating technique sometime though.
Toss the dry ingredients into a medium bowl sans the sugar and give a quick stir-around fluff with a fork.

flour salt baking powder in bowl
Dry ingredients, in a bowl. Although heh, ha, it looks like I toss the sugar in with everything. Eh, that’s fine!
Go grab that butter and with a pastry cutter* chop it into the flour mix making finer granules.  
butter cubes added to dry ingredients
Preparing to injure my hands but it’s so worth it.
Yes, inevitably the cutter slips or tilts like when wearing too high heels and I whack my fingers or knuckles or my hand cramps….ugh, these darn cutters do kinda suck but the butter stays colder longer.  (Although, having scrolled through that link, I might try this one* as it looks like it resolves all the typical issues with these stupid tools despite its flat bottom.)

Also inevitably I’ll mush the butter into the flour mix with my fingers as well to blend a little further. 

butter in crumbs and pea sizes
And voila, butter cut into the dry ingredients!
Sprinkle on your sugar, of which I always do the quarter cup versus the third.  Stir that in with the fork, toss in the currants, and pour on your milk.  With the same fork, stir everything around.  It will be very clumpy. 

milk and currants added
Adding in that sugar, currants, and the milk here….getting closer to happiness!

chunky batter lightly mixed
Here’s how the dough should look after you mixed in the milk.
Flour your counter a tad and pour the bowl contents onto it.  Gently, while not being overly touchy-feely as to warm the butter, smush and lightly form the dough into a ball, smoothly kneading it politely 10-12 times at most. 
scone dough ball
Omg, I’m dying now knowing it’s only a few short minutes before these are baked and my eyes are fluttering into the back of my head.
With a knife (doable) or a pastry scraper* (best/easiest), divide the dough in half.  Form each half into a general ball then gingerly flatten until you’ve got about a six inch diameter circle. 
divided dough ball and one round flattened
Here the dough has been halved and one half is flattened. Fancy happenstance that my pastry scrapper has inches on it.
With that same knife or scraper, cut the disc in half, then at ten and four, two and eight cut further into a total of six slices.  Repeat with the other ball and it’s bake time!

Now, you can either set the slices closer together for softer finished sides or further apart for crispier browner sides, totally up to you. 
dough cut in 6 and set on baking sheet
On the left, wedges apart for crisper edges and fyi, that’s unseparated on the right, too close together.  Give about 1/4″ gap for the softer sides.
I’ve done both and either way, it’s full-on Cookie Monster.  

Cookie Monster eating all the cookies fast

No joke.

Before they head in, you can brush them with cream, sprinkle on some sugar, up to you as well.
A nice toasting in the oven for about twelve minutes or until they’re nicely light golden and holy crap, hold on for a slice of nirvana. 

baked currant scones
I don’t have these in the house currently so looking at this image is a real issue.
These get loosely stored in a kitchen towel for a day or two then into a zipper bag, if they even make it that far.  

I eat them as-is, straight up, delicately warmed or with butter or with honey or *gasp* honey and butter but however I eat them, I truly cannot stop myself.  It’s utterly embarrassing. 

“Hey babe, whatcha think of these here scones?”

“Uh, yeah, I mean, they’re fine I guess.”  Fairly, this type of baked good, Mike’s not into it.  Or maybe he’s not into currants, I’m not sure.  I’ll have to ask.  Or maybe I won’t as huh, I guess it’s up to me to eat them all. 

Mmm, boo hoo, so sad. 

Bwah ha ha ha ha haaaa!
currant scone with butter and honey
I mean, c’mon now. How can you resist that?! Aw man, I gotta go, I’m drooling all over the place….

Note:  This content originally appeared on Flaky Bakers.

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