For the past few days, I've been contemplating making scones. Not just any scones, but Ina Garten's cranberry orange scones. From Tuesdays till Fridays, Barefoot Contessa is on air back-to-back starting 1pm. Ina's scones were just so inviting they literally had me at "4 cups of flour."
1. There is no stand mixer in the kitchen.
2. There is no heavy cream in the fridge, only some half & half. (When did I last use it? Hmm...)
3. There are exactly 4 eggs, meaning there won't be any for the egg wash.
4. There is no orange for the zest. This one's fine since I can use the zest from the husband's grapefruit.
So how now brown cow? To proceed or not? Do I have the guts to face possible failure? Worst case scenario: into the bin. Do I have the heart to throw a mixture of butter, flour, half & half and cranberries into the bin?
1. Use my fingers to "mix" 4 cups of flour to 3 sticks of butter.
2. Half & half should be fine, right?
3. I'll steal a spoonful of lightly beaten eggs for the egg wash, and add half & half to the egg wash mixture.
One hour later, my shoulders were sore "mixing" the flour and butter by hand. The kitchen counter wasn't built for my height (5' 3"). I alternated between tip-toeing and using my shoulders to lift my arms higher. But hey, my fingers were very cold since it's snowing heavily outside with the kitchen window ajar. So it should be good.
The real mess began from the point that first lump of dough hit the floured counter. It was so wet I eventually added close to a cup more of flour, just so I could gather the dough and form into shape. Any shape! There was no point cutting it - I basically used my cake server to make a cut, then scraped portions of the dough off the counter and finger-swept them onto the baking pans. Oh by the way, no dough cutter in this little kitchen either.
The scone-hopefuls looked like cute little lumps found only in playschool art rooms. Cute - ugly but adorable! After the egg wash (which was really a scam) and sprinkling of coarse brown sugar, I said my prayers and into the oven they went.
All's well that ends well. Nonetheless I will remember: when I finally have the KitchenAid Artisan 5-quart stand mixer (a tie between Ice and Pistachio), I'll make Ina's scones for the "opening ceremony". Can't wait for that!
Makes 16 (3-inch rounds)
4 cups flour, more for shaping
1/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
Zest of one grapefruit
3 sticks unsalted butter, diced and kept chilled
4 large eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons half & half, chilled
1 cup dried cranberries, lightly coated with flour
2 tablespoons coarse brown sugar
1. Preheat oven to 400-F.
2. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl, add sugar, baking powder, salt, zest of grapefruit and mix to aerate.
3. Add the diced butter. With cold, clean hands, gently rub butter with the dry ingredients, constantly scooping the contents of the bowl up with both hands and letting them fall between your fingers. You are done once the mixture are grain-like (think uncooked couscous).
4. Beat the eggs lightly in a separate bowl. Transfer one tablespoon to a small bowl and set aside.
5. Add half & half to the (nearly 4) eggs. With your dominant hand stirring the dough slowly, pour in the egg mixture over 3 intervals. Add dried cranberries to the dough and mix well.
6. Transfer the dough to a well-floured surface. Keep your hands floured and add more flour to the dough as you shape it into a rectangular block of 1-inch height.
7. Cut out desired portions and place them, an inch apart, on parchment-lined baking pan. The dough will expand during the baking process.
8. Add 2 tablespoons half & half to the tablespoon of egg (which you had set aside) and mix well. Brush the mixture on top of the portioned dough, and lightly sprinkle brown sugar across the baking pan.
9. Bake for 28 minutes on the upper third section in the oven.