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Is there such a thing as a MOIST Scone?


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Hello Everyone!

I need some help and education here! Here's my gig:

Scones have never been an item on my "Hit Parade"... but as a personal chef... I do Tea Parties on occasion, and somewhere there exists a RULE that you have to serve SCONES. Sooooo, not being a 'fan'... it has been a struggle for me to find a recipe for a MOIST one. Not being fond of them doesn't make for an interesting study topic, recipe-wise, but being the die-hard researcher that I am... I am on-the-hunt!!! I am thinking that it might be a simple case that in my experience, I have never had a GOOD SCONE. (This same arguement has been applied to eating fried Liver...) Though they may be jam packed (--no pun intended...) with currants, dried apricots, dates, blueberries, etc..., and boasting of a heavy cream or cream cheese base, not to mention the butter in the dough... I still feel you could sand blast the side of a house with the crumb texture! The ones I made for a tea party I did yesterday were beautiful looking, sparkled with sugar, and smelled of the perfume of mediterranean dried apricots and Fiori d' Scilia... And you could TASTE all that, but they were DRY! I even made them small, --not those gargantuan ones you get at the Coffee Shops of the world --the size of Arizona... and as DRY too. I think I have made my point.

I don't care if you are sitting in a "parlor", all dressed up and sipping some delightful Darjeeling, or Earl Grey... if it is me, and I score a plate of food with a scone on it, chances are that it looks REALLY PRETTY, but looks are deceiving! Upon my first bite, I either feel like I am going to choke trying to wash it down with the tea, OR the thing simply disintegrates as soon as I lift it with my dainty little fingers. In which case, I will skillfully wrap it in a napkin and ditch the thing in the nearest "dustbin". (Hey! Maybe that why TEA was invented!!... to WASH DOWN SCONES!... but I digress...) Can anyone out in Egullet Land educate me about these little mysteries? I am a "baker" and not shy about doughs, batters, etc. It may be that I just have not cultivated the correct appreciation for them. Maybe it is a matter of an acquired taste...

Maybe I will have a deep-fried Twinkie instead.

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Me mum spent years before finally perfecting hers. It's moist and not at all dry unlike the the versions you find sold here in the US. Didn't realize how good her scones were til I move to the states.

Fear not, the elusive moist scone does exists, unfortunately I don't have her recipe.

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My mother liked moist scones, and made hers quite differently from my grandmother.

Apart from that, I suspect that US flour is much higher in protein/gluten than UK flour. You might want to either find a flour that is slightly lower in gluten, or failing that, add in some cake flour (see what proportion suits you). I believe US bakers have a favorite flour for biscuits - "White Something-something"???

Grandmother's method: classic "cut butter into dry ingredients", add milk, knead 3 turns only, cook at the top of a very hot oven (400 - 425F or hotter, depending on your oven. Crowd scones very close together on the baking sheet so that they keep each other a bit moist. Lay a linen towel (that is, not too dense and heavy) over a cake-cooling tray, put baked scones on it and fold the towel over lightly, allowing them to cool that way.

Mother's methodf: "melt and mix" - melt butter and half milk together, add rest of milk (so that it's not too hot), pour into a well in the dry ingredients, mix/knead just till mixed. They will be very sticky, so turn onto a really heavily floured board or cloth and cut as fast as possible. Bake in a very hot oven as usual - but you must preheat the oven before you even start to mix ingredients, or your scones will be rising (and falling again) on the tray as you twiddle your thumbs waiting for the oven to come up to heat.

To be honest, many Japanese don't really "get" scones, so I add 1 beaten egg to add flavor...sshh!

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My mother liked moist scones, and made hers quite differently from my grandmother.

Apart from that, I suspect that US flour is much higher in protein/gluten than UK flour. You might want to either find a flour that is slightly lower in gluten, or failing that, add in some cake flour (see what proportion suits you). I believe US bakers have a favorite flour for biscuits - "White Something-something"???

That would be "White Lily", and actually the method for scone making is quite similar to the method for biscuit making in the Southern US tradition. I had an Aunt that made "scalded milk" biscuits that were quite similar to your Mother's method.

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I would suggest substituting a bit of sour cream or yogurt for your part of your heavy/double cream.

Adjust the flavors as appropriate and watch them as they bake.

This is obviously experimental...

Pick up your phone

Think of a vegetable

Lonely at home

Call any vegetable

And the chances are good

That a vegetable will respond to you

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I once made the biscuit recipe off the bag of I believe White Lilly. they had to be baked in a cake pan for support, if you could coax a scone recipe from that biscuit recipe all will be well in the world.

Those biscuits just fell open crying for the butter ...it was beautifull

tracey

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Scones are not supposed to be like american biscuits. They are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.

There is a whole thread on scones.

This is my tried and true recipe.

Those triangle things they serve in the States are not scones.

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
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The scones at Alice's Tea Cup here in NYC are quite moist, crunchy on the outside, and delicious. One day, I found a chunk of melting butter inside of one and realized why. :wink:

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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Scones are not supposed to be like american biscuits. They are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.

There is a whole thread on scones.

This is my tried and true recipe.

Those triangle things they serve in the States are not scones.

I think you would be quite surprised at the variety of textures and flavors that are present in American biscuits. Just as there are scones, and then there are scones - there are biscuits and then there are biscuits. Biscuits range from puff pastry type layers, to a crumbly and almost cookie like texture, and everything in between, depending upon the shortening utilized - type of flour - any additives - and of course the method of preparation. It has been my same experience with scones sampled around the US. There is a fast food place in the US called Hardee's that used to make (maybe still does) a "Cinnamon Raisin Biscuit" that reminds me a great deal flavor and texture of the scones that a neighbor lady, who was a Brit and lived next door to us when I was a military brat, used to prepare. Yep, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, as you describe. Hardee's did put a pretty nasty icing on the biscuit though, that my neighbor lady didn't and probably wouldn't put on her scones.

Every scone recipe I have ever read, anywhere including dozens sourced in the UK, uses the same sort of methods and basic ingredients used in every biscuit recipe I have ever seen. In fact, I feel certain that we owe our biscuit heritage, and even the term "biscuit" to the British Isles. White Lily flour, the biscuit aficianados preference, is low in gluten, and would be an appropriate flour to substitute I would think, if that is the difference that some have noted in this thread. Flour, salt, butter and milk? Yep, sounds like a biscuit recipe to my frame of reference. Until the mixture resembles bread crumbs? Yep, only when making biscuits you say "resembles cornmeal." Add liquid all at once? Usually. Knead quickly? Always. Roll and cut? Yep. 450 for 7 to 10? A little high on the temp for my usual recipe, but I have seen recipes that high and higher. The proportions are probably a little different, would have to double check.

I guess I need to break down and do some extensive scone baking and try some of this out. But my gut tells me that if you can bake a moist biscuit, you could probably produce a moist scone.

Edited to add: now that I look more closely, the photograph with the "All Purpose Scone" recipe you posted I would have taken for a basket of classic White Lily biscuits, down to the split scone's shape and texture. You can find a photograph and recipe here:

http://www.whitelily.com/RecipeBox/Recipe.aspx?ID=91

Just for giggles, here's White Lily's Scone recipe:

http://www.whitelily.com/RecipeBox/Recipe.aspx?ID=66

You can also order the flour directly from the website, $2.00 for 5lbs, only to the continental US though.

Edited by annecros (log)
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Every scone recipe I have ever read, anywhere including dozens sourced in the UK, uses the same sort of methods and basic ingredients used in every biscuit recipe I have ever seen. In fact, I feel certain that we owe our biscuit heritage, and even the term "biscuit" to the British Isles. White Lily flour, the biscuit aficianados preference, is low in gluten, and would be an appropriate flour to substitute I would think, if that is the difference that some have noted in this thread. Flour, salt, butter and milk? Yep, sounds like a biscuit recipe to my frame of reference. Until the mixture resembles bread crumbs? Yep, only when making biscuits you say "resembles cornmeal." Add liquid all at once? Usually. Knead quickly? Always. Roll and cut? Yep. 450 for 7 to 10? A little high on the temp for my usual recipe, but I have seen recipes that high and higher. The proportions are probably a little different, would have to double check.

Yes, scone-making is all about method. As long as the flour/fat/liquid ratio is right, the minor details dont matter. (Low gluten flour is best though). There must be quick mixing, minimal handling (if you roll them, roll them quickly and lightly, or better - gently pat the dough out), and hot oven. If you like them to have a crisp crust all down the sides, put them on the tray a little apart, if you like them soft, put them almost touching (so they rise and join together in the oven) and then cover them with the tea-towel when they come out of the oven.

Disappointing texture is usually due to over-handling or over-cooking.

And, as mentioned, it is the jam and cream that you put on top that is crucial.

Those of you in the States are going to need recipes to use up a lot of pumpkin soon, and pumkin scones are an Aussie icon. Here is my recipe:

1 oz butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

2 cups mashed pumpkin

2 cups self-rising flour (or plain plus baking powder)

You can rub the butter in, or melt it, or cream it with the sugar - then make the dough up and cook as usual.

These Lemonade Scones are easy too (that is, lemonade as in fizzy carbonated drink - soft drink, pop, soda, whatever you call it wherever you are)

2 cups self-rising flour (or the plain with baking powder)

pinch salt

dessertspoon sugar

2/3 cup lemonade

1 cup cream

Usual method.

Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

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Hey THANK Y'ALL for ALL of your experiences and insights on my SCONE gig! After reading everyone's contributions... I want to tell everyone that being a Souther'nah, I use White Lily for all my pie pastry, cakes, biscuits, and any "soft" baking. (I do not use it for my bread baking... not enough gluten, etc.) I also pay close attention to overworking the dough/batter concept, and feel reasonably sure I did not cross too many lines on that part of it. My oven was fully preheated at 425 degrees. (I felt that was a pretty extreme temp to use, but trusted the recipe I was using... I think it is interesting to note that the recipe called for to bake the scones at the 425 preheated temp for 15 minutes, then without opening the oven door, just cut the temp off in the oven, and let the scones sit for another 10 minutes! Instinctively, I decide to go ahead and humor the recipe, but SIT THERE at the oven window to see what would happen. The bottom cookie sheet totally burned up within 3 minutes!!! The scones on that sheet were tossed out. The upper middle sheet looked great, but I pulled them at 5 minutes. They looked fabulous. When I tasted one of them, I again was disappointed that they were more like American Shortcake, then a soft moist texture. After reading all of your comments, I realize now that I really did NOT understand the true characteristics of scones at all! (I suggested that this might be the case...) Like I said... the FLAVOR of the scones was wonderful. I had issues with the crumb issues! This being said and now realize this and will base my further "study" on this premise. I appreciate the comments that told of the importance of adding jam, double cream, butter, etc on TOP of the scone. Personally, I have never done this. And after considering the concept, I am thinking that this is the same thing we do when we make toast --although not exactly the same texture at all. The scones I made for the tea party I did, were made in advance of the event, (an hour...or so). So, this being said, they were cooled down totally. I did not gently heat them up, thinking DISASTER if I did. All the folks at the tea party commented on them, and said they were delicious... but I think it is more ME that is skeptical. After all of your help and comments, I have decided to continue my study down the "Scone Road". I thank everyone for all of the suggestions, and techniques!

P.S. This is the 2nd POST I have done since joining Egullet. I am struggling with navagating the system, and when I finally found my post... I was AMAZED with the number of responses... and from all over the world it seems!! I went upstairs to tell my daughter about all the people that took the to help me out, and she laughed at me! She could not believe that I did not realize that the Net is the NET!!! and it is everywhere. I do know this, but I guess have just recently started jumping into wonderful conversations with so many different people! I think it is cool!! And, if you are chuckling at me... it is OK!! I am just a South'ran Gal... living amongst cotton and tobacco fields.... But I can COOK LIKE HELL!!! Thanks to everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Thank Goodness eGullet ans saved you from the deep fried Twinkie.

Speaking of toast - whereas (as you know) scones dont keep well, and need to be eaten on the day of baking, there is nothing wrong with splitting and toasting any leftovers and eating them up with jam and cream the next day. Or Golden Syrup is good too.

Please keep us informed of your experiments!

Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

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Lemonade and Cream scones made in muffin tins, split through top, filled with strawberry jam, then whipped cream then a fresh strawb ( greenery included) on top. Dust with powdered sugar.

Now lets get talking Pikelets!

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Now lets get talking Pikelets!

Pikelets! A tablespoon of Golden Syrup in the batter is my secret.

Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

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In the light of the global debate on scones (and I dont think anyone claimed they were "American") - I just have to share this little hilarity with you.

I was researching something else and came across an article in the London Times of February 1939, called "IN AN AMERICAN KITCHEN, Dishes Men Like". After recipes for Yankee Meat Cakes, Chipped Beef in Cheese Sauce (used to fill Shredded Wheat breakfast cereal biscuits?), Baked Beans and Sausage, and Strawberry Shortcake, and a couple of other things, it had this:

A TEA SUGGESTION.

This is one man’s favourite tea “accessory”.

Take any scone recipe and cut dough in small rounds ½ in thick. Spread chopped marmalade on half the rounds, being careful not to go over the edge, and cover with the remaining rounds. Press the edges together and bake in a hot oven until lightly browned and puffed. Remove and coat with melted butter and serve immediately.

So - marmalade filled scones are an American Man's treat! Any comments?

Naturally, the article was aimed at women, and started with:

Men’s culinary enthusiasms range from the sublime to the ridiculous, but with one accord they all cheer certain dishes. Cooking for men is one of the few efforts in which a woman can invest her time and energy with selfish abandon and yet emerge with the men entirely on her side and gastronomically grateful. You might try these American favourites and let them turn into your triumphs.

Happy Feasting

Janet (a.k.a The Old Foodie)

My Blog "The Old Foodie" gives you a short food history story each weekday day, always with a historic recipe, and sometimes a historic menu.

My email address is: theoldfoodie@fastmail.fm

Anything is bearable if you can make a story out of it. N. Scott Momaday

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There are specific ingredients that retain moisture in quick breads. Sugar is one, and odd as it may sound, oatmeal is another.

I used to use this Oatmeal scone recipe from Bon Appetit

until I lost it several years ago.

While searching for another recipe I discovered it on SOAR, now RecipeSource and have used it several times.

Whole wheat pastry flour has very low gluten as does White Lily, Red Band and Martha Washington white flours.

Check at your local health food stores if you can't find it in a regular market. Otherwise just use one of the "soft" wheat flours I named. One of them should be available where you live.

You can toss the oatmeal in a blender and pulse it a bit to pulverise it a bit to make it easier to blend.

If you use any regular flour, which has gluten, even if you mix it with cake flour, you have to be careful not to work it too much and develop the gluten, otherwise the scone will be tough.

This explains some of the chemistry involved: ABCs of baking. gluten/fats/sugars/leavening

a bit more info.

and some more about functions of various ingredients.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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