Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Midweek Roundup: These Scones "Get a Tick of Approval"

Photo by Nicola
She Bakes the Cake

I think these scones got "ticks of approval" from everyone, although there was a lot of discussion about what constitutes a proper scone and the difference between English, Australian, New Zealand, and American scones.  

For Nicola, a proper scone was one made by her grandmother, who made great scones simply by virtue of making a lot of scones, all the time.  She lived on a farm and had a "big family and random workers to feed.  Scones were always on the 'menu' for soup lunches, post dinner dessert and smoko for the shearing crews and other farm workers."  Although Nicola's grandmother might have tut-tutted at the cream cheese, cream, and dried blueberries, Nicola herself was not tutting.

Although Vicki has English ancestors, scones weren't a tradition in her family.  Biscuits ('breakfast biscuits") and tea with plenty of milk and sugar--that's her family's style.  So she had a "long history of scone envy," which she can now get rid of because she can make scones with the best of them.  And she even added the optional raspberry caramel sauce (which I will include as an option with the Irish Cream scones, whenever they come around).  That sounds over the top, but delicious.

Rachel didn't mention a family scone tradition, but she might be starting a new one.  She likes having some "grab and go" food on hand for her teenagers, who started school this week but who hate getting up in the morning.  (Of course they do, but they probably loved waking up and crying at 5:00 a.m. when they were babies).  I used to bribe my daughter with doughnuts to get her to the school bus on time.  I used to think I'd never be the kind of mother who would bribe her child with sweets.  Not that Rachel was bribing her kids.  Two more things about Rachel's scones:  she uses lemon oil instead of rind so she doesn't have to endure the "guilt-inducing sight of zested lemons slowly drying in my fruit drawer."  And, in the interests of science, she bought a scone from a coffee shop to see if it was better than Rose's scone.  Guess what?  It wasn't.

Jen thought the scones were not merely better than coffee shop scones--they were the "best ever."  "Tender and flaky and buttery and utterly delicious."  Her only complaint--the recipe should have made more scones.  Maybe just a few too many steps for just eight scones.  "Clearly I think a scone recipe either needs to be one bowl and take ten minutes to make or I need a multi step scone recipe to yield a thousand scones."  Do you realize that if you made a thousand scones and froze 999, you could have a scone for breakfast (or tea) every day for nearly three years?  It's a tantalizing thought.

Catherine's first reaction to a lemon blueberry scone was to say, "that's not a scone!"  It turns out that it is, though.  With an authentic "sconny (sconey?)" texture.  She used lemon rind and dried cranberries in these, and loved them, but warns you not to tell people about the ingredient list when you offer them a scone.  She has plans to make a passel of those (probably not a thousand) for an upcoming fundraiser, where she will label them "American Scones."  She anticipates a sellout.

Patricia gave us a freebie--she not only blogged about the scones--"delightful--soft, billowy, and full of wonderful flavor," but she also told us how to make homemade clotted cream.  Have you ever had it?  I ate it every day when I was in England and Scotland this spring (I seem to have a thing about eating scones every single day) and it was single-handedly responsible for the five pounds I gained over two weeks.  I can't say that I regret being FPO, though, and Patricia gives a very do-able, step-by-step explanation of how to make it yourself.  Thank you!

Tony was so taken with this recipe that he made it absolutely as written, which may be a first.  Tony served these to guests, and he heard someone comment, "Looks like Starbucks."  Not knowing whether to take that as a compliment or a complaint, he announced to all that they should enjoy his "HOMEMADE SCONES."  Whereupon they quickly vanished.  None left for the hopeful person who texted Tony the next day to ask whether any were left.  

And welcome back to Nancy, who, as she promised she would, still bakes along occasionally.  Nancy's changes were to bake the scones as squares, not as triangles or circles, and grate frozen butter to make for easier mixing.  Nancy thought these scones were "wonderful," even after they'd been frozen.

Orin most definitely did not have any kind of family scone tradition.  In fact, she had never tasted one until she came to the U.S.  She found it to be "dry and flavorless" and never tried it again until this week's assignment (thanks for giving it a try!).  No dry and flavorless scones in this cookbook--these were "soft, moist and flavorful."  And they were "super easy and fast to make, no tea or clotted cream needed here as the scones are divine just as is."  (But if you ever feel the need to add clotted cream, you know where to find a recipe).

Kristina was a bit vague about these scones, except to say that they were indeed quick and easy.  For some reason, the scones seemed to disappear from her home.  Jay said he only tasted one, and it's simply a mystery where the rest could have gone.  The only thing I can think of is that there's a scone cat burglar in the neighborhood, and you'll have to do a better job of hiding them next time you make them.

Faithy says everything there is to say about these scones in the first paragraph of her blog:  "These are very good.  With crisp flaky crust and yet tender on insides.  I love them!  Everyone in my family said these are so good.  Plus they are so easy to make."   Yes.  Now I want to make them every day.  

Back with us again after a several-week hiatus in which she tended to a bed-ridden husband, made macarons for 250 people, and found a new home for her noisy rooster, Milagritos made it unanimous for these scones:  she found them "delightful, tender, and aromatic."  Perhaps not as good as the miracle scones her mother-in-law with the magic touch makes, but very good.  Milagritos also explained some of the differences between Australian and American scones.  "Australian scones tend to be less flaky and more cakey but very moist.  The good ones just melt in your mouth.  The also tend to be round, [see Catherine's] plainer and are meant to be served alongside some cream and preserves.

So now we know.

Next week:  Luscious Apple Pie.  I've made it, and yes, it is luscious.  Like so many of Rose's recipes, it calls for lengthy periods of refrigeration, so plan accordingly.  (I didn't, and it was still good).  It is made with the cream cheese pie crust recipe.  Someone once asked me if Rose or Woody owned stock in a plastic wrap company.  I'm beginning to ask myself the same question with regard to a cream cheese company.  Not that I'm complaining.

REMINDER:  There's a "secret" Facebook page for the Alpha Bakers--if you're on Facebook and want to join the Alpha Bakers FB group, let me know and I'll invite you to join.  You won't be able to see it unless you're a member.


  1. It was good this week, the feedback was all positive, and we had a few of our Alpha Bakers back to baking with us. Congrats on the photo Nicola and thanks for the great round up Marie.

    I'm going to have to google 'passel'.

  2. Congrats Nicola! This looks like the perfect gaggle of scones to sit down with a pot of tea.

  3. Thanks for the top spot Marie! Great round up. I need to get on to that clotted cream recipe!

  4. Hi How does one join the alpha bakers group ? Is open to any baking fanatic !