Daring Bakers’ January 2012 Challenge: Back to Basics

Scones are awesome. Which is convenient, since they were this month's Daring Bakers' challenge, and we've enjoyed several batches over the past four weeks.

Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers' host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!

I made my first batch almost as soon as the challenge was announced, and they tasted lovely but were more than a little flat. I made two half-batches, and flavoured one with 1tsp honey and some fresh thyme leaves, using oat milk as the liquid and dairy-free margarine, and added 1 tsp poppyseeds to the other batch, dairy free margarine again, and used orange juice as the liquid. Mini-M was a fan, and didn't seem to care that they were flat as pancakes!

After investing in some new baking powder, things started looking up (quite literally!). Next up I did a batch made with goats yogurt as the liquid, and an egg thrown in for some added protein for Mini-M. They definitely rose a little - an improvement.

Lastly, I went a bit experimental, and made some spicy cheese and tomato ones, replacing the milk with bloody mary mix, and sprinkling some grated sheep's cheese on the top. They were definitely my favourites - yum!

Here's the basic scone recipe we were given - it's a good one, and stands up well to all sorts of messing about with, as you can see! If you want a bit more detail regarding the method, and want to understand the science behind scones, then the Daring Kitchen Scone Recipe page will sort you out, and your scones will be wonderful, sky-high and light evermore!

Scones (Makes 6-8)

  • 140g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 30g fat (be it hard dairy free margarine, butter, or even lard!)
  • 120ml liquid (traditionally milk, but it seems like most things work!)

Grate your fat and stick it in the freezer for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile preheat your oven to 220C, and grease a baking tray.
Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together.
Rub in the chilled grated fat, working quickly and lightly to keep the fat cold.
Add most of the liquid and mix briefly - it should be a soft dough that is sticky but workable. If need be, add the remaining liquid.
Knead briefly on a floured worktop, the roll out until just under an inch thick.
Cut out scones, re-roll the scraps and cut again, and place on the baking tray.
Brush with a little extra liquid or egg wash to help the tops colour.
Bake for about 10 minutes, until risen and golden.