This post is the epitome of my personal brand:
Not knowing what i’m doing -> trying anyways -> failing? -> adjusting ->trying again!
This is the story of why you should test your recipes the beforehand, be weary when following online recipes, and when in doubt: ask your colleagues and friends for advice on a given recipe. This week, I decided to give the kids a shot at trying an item I personally have never made before: Scones! With new recipes, I generally prefer to try them ahead of time to make sure I at least look like I know what i’m doing.
On a late Tuesday eve, I ran to the grocery store to pick up a few items before they closed, and decided to do some late night baking – something I usually do when i’m neglecting responsibilities (ie- my blog, weekly readings, laundry, etc.) I had found a recipe on a fairly reputable cooking page (Taste of Home) which I had recognized on the shelves of magazines displays many times… which gave me the impression that it was going to give me the recipe I wanted! When reading over the recipe, I was happy to see that there were only a few steps (easy for the kids!)… But also suspicious!
When comparing this recipe to every other recipe I had looked over, I noticed that this was the only recipe that did not specify how to blend, and asked for melted butter. This was my first red flag, seeing as all of the other scone recipes stressed that the butter must be cold, and either cut into the flour or grated in and then mixed until crumbly. I decided to go with my gut and grate the cold butter instead of melting it, however- I made the baking amateur move by using a hand blender instead of mixing with a spatula, and then my hands.
⇒ Scones are a very old fashioned, traditional recipe. Other than using a food processor for the flour in some cases, there should be absolutely no hand blenders or mixers or kitchen aids involved!! This I learned the hard way!
I noticed right away that the batter for the scones were very very sticky. I could barely get it off of my spoon! This didn’t seem quite right, but I decided: heck it. Let’s see what happens! The result? OK! But not quite what I was aiming for. The recipe also called for lemon yogurt instead of cream, which made it a lot more moist than I anticipated. The scones were blueberry and lemon flavoured, and didn’t taste all that bad! But they were too big, too doughy, and not crispy at all. I realized after that an egg wash may have helped, so I took note of that for tomorrow’s class.
The next day…
I went to my coworker, an experienced baker, expressing my concerns about my scones. She almost had a heart attack when she learned that I used a hand blender for scones !! (ok ok ok now I know!) She gave me another recipe from a “tried and true” personal favourite blog of hers called the Dreamy Cream Scones
I had an hour before class started, so I decided to try it out for myself. Instead of yogurt, I used cream. I cut the butter into little cubes, ensuring they stay cold, and then cut them into my flour mixture with two knives (and then my fingertips), I used fresh lemon zest for taste, I did NOT OVERWORK THE DOUGH, oh- and I added a light egg wash. The difference? WORLDS!
They were easy enough for the kids, and took the perfect amount of time – even leaving a bit of time for clean up! Like myself, the kids learned the importance of not overworking dough more than needed, cutting butter into pastry recipes, and the purpose of using an egg wash! While I didn’t have blueberries on hand, I did have cranberries which were given as an option to add into the scones, however, most kids just settled for lemon. Still good!