Saturday, January 29, 2011

Kids Bake Dried Fruit and Cream Scones

Very little kneading required for these scones

By Ed Bruske

aka The Slow Cook

If you have a few minutes to chop dried fruit, these scones are surprising easily and some of the best we've ever tasted. They come strait from Marion Cunningham's The Breakfast Book, but if you aren't making them for breakfast, organize your own tea. They'd also go swell with a cup of hot chocolate.

They're made with baking powder--a combination of baking soda and cream of tartar--which activates and gives the dough some lift when you add the cream. The crumb of these scones is light and--because of the heavy cream in the mix--noticeably creamy. For dried fruits we chose what was readily available at the local Harris Teeter: apricots, cranberries and raisins. But you could just as easily use prunes or dried figs, even dried apples, I suppose, or cherries.

As usual, I let the kids in my food appreciation classes--currently baking classes--do all of the work. They struggled a bit trying to make little pieces out of dried appricots with their steak knives. But that's the beauty of cooking with kids. Give them a tool and a task to perform, and they are set for the rest of the day. Just make sure they're using the knife properly and not chopping their fingers. (We haven't had an accident yet because our first rule is, "No blood in the food!")

Start by mixing together in a large mixing bowl 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup chopped dried fruit and 1/4 cup golden raisins. Stir in 1 1/4 cups heavy cream, scraping the bowl until all of the dry and wet ingredients are incorporated. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead perhaps eight or nine times, or until though holds together in a smooth ball.

Pat the ball into a circle about 10 inches around. It will be about 1 1/2 inches tall. Cut it into 12 wedges and place these on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush the tops with melted butter (you'll need a scant 2 tablespoons) and dust with granulated sugar.

Place the scones in a 425-degree oven for 15 minutes, or until they are lightly golden.

Chopping dried cranberries

These scones are especially delicious served fresh and warm from the oven. But they will keep several days in a well-sealed tin.

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