Last weekend I was so excited as I knew I would have a bit of spare time to focus on baking something delicious. You see, two months ago I started a new job and I’ve had precious little time since then to do much for myself, let alone spend time in the kitchen. It’s weird, but it honestly felt like I was beginning to go through withdrawal as during the prior 6 months, I only worked 3 mornings a week and now this 5 mornings a week is killing me! Yes, I hear you laughing away, given that the majority of the world seems to work full time, but as a working mum, afternoons are taken up with sport, homework, shopping and any other number of things that can be squeezed in. I realise I’m still very lucky, but I so so so miss at least having one day at home, 5 glorious hours to myself between the morning and afternoon school run, where I could get the housework, washing, cleaning, ironing, shopping…and of course, my weekly batch of cookies, a cake or time in my beautiful kitchen trying out something new.
But alas, as Saturday afternoon drew closer and was eventually upon me, I was actually beside myself with anxiety – so little time yet so many recipes I wanted to try! Baking is one of my passions and lead me to begin Chocolate Goose, allowing me to share my passion with you, but I haven’t even been able to write anything for almost two weeks now so tonight is the night. I dithered for so long last week and had about 6 recipe books open, cross checking various recipes and eventually only had enough time to do these quick and easy scones. They are absolutely delicious, with the buttermilk giving them a very light, fluffy texture and I had the dough thrown together in a matter of minutes. You do need to be gentle, though, when making scones, as you don’t want to overwork the dough, which will cause the end product to resemble a rock bun instead of a delicate tea cake.
I also find that the weather affects how much or how little liquid the flour wants. Last Saturday was a rainy, overcast day, with a lot of moisture in the air, so I ended up using a bit more flour than the recipe calls for; so just add a little at a time as you work the dough. It was very sticky at first, but came together nicely. I hadn’t made these in a very long time and I had forgotten how relaxing and mesmerizing the process of squishing the butter and flour together can be. The reason you use only your fingertips is that the temperature of your hands will warm the butter to the point where it will begin to melt. The gentle rubbing together of your fingertips results in a fine crumb, instead of a melted buttery goo.
Sweet scones served with jam and cream are always good friends, but I was especially proud of my Plum Jam that I made this past Summer from the plums off our plum tree. I’ll have to share that recipe with you too some time soon.
2½ cups self-raising flour
2 Tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
50 g cold butter, cubed
1¼ cups buttermilk
a little milk for brushing
- Preheat the oven to 210°C. Spray an oven tray with oil or place a layer of baking paper into the tray.
- If you have a food processor, you can put the dry ingredients into the bowl. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, but as I don’t have a food processor and I prefer using my fingers anyway, you might want to try this: put the dry ingredients into a bowl and add the cold cubes of butter. Using your fingertips, gently rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. A good 10 minutes should do the trick.
- Make a well in the centre of the flour/butter mixture and pour in about 1 cup of the buttermilk. Use a knife to mix it quickly into a soft dough. Add a little extra buttermilk if necessary to bring all the ingredients together.
- Lightly flour the bench top and tip the scone dough out onto it. Gently work it, adding a little more flour if necessary. Pat it out to about 3 cm thick, don’t roll it.
- Use a 5 cm cutter dipped in flour to cut the dough into rounds and place them on the prepared tray. You will need to dip the cutter into the flour after each cut out as the dough will be very moist inside.
- Brush the tops of the scones with milk and bake for 10 – 15 minutes until they have risen and are golden.
- Serve with jam and freshly whipped cream.