Biscuits and Scones and the new dating relationship has a lot in common. With all three, you need to start with a gentle hand. For the first six months, you practice the art of listening, showing kindness, and tact.
In dating, this is also the time you allow the ‘real’ you begin to emerge. Your likes, dislikes, and yes, even a bit of attitude on occasion. All of these things go a long way towards deciding whether or not to progress to the next level.
Baking biscuits and scones fit neatly into this same stage. On a basic level, biscuits and scones are very similar. They both begin with flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. But that is often where the difference ends.
Biscuits use buttermilk, which adds butter and acidity. This is what makes them so flaky and able to almost melt in your mouth.
Scones, on the other hand, use cream and eggs, which creates a denser dough. In some cases, a ‘sweet’ scone also has added sugar. If made right, they can still be tender.
The beauty of both biscuits and scones is that they are delicious ‘plain’, but pair well with a multitude of added ingredients. My biscuit specialty is Cheese Biscuits, and occasionally I up the savory side of them by adding crumbled bacon.
For my scones, however, I like adding fruit, citrus zest, and occasionally pecans. But a scone made with sharp cheddar cheese is a perfect complement to Chicken Salad and soups.
The Trick to Biscuits and Scones
To make those biscuits and scones fluffy and delicious, the art is in how you handle the dough – or rather, how very little you handle your dough.
Both require mixing the dry ingredients first. From there, it is necessary to ‘cut in’ shortening or butter. When this step is done, you need to make sure the dough closely resembles a cornmeal or damp sand texture. It will be very crumbly.
If you are adding other ingredients, such as chopped fruit, citrus zest, cheese or other additions, add them at this point. Stir them in until just incorporated.
From this point forward, you want to stir or handle your dough as little and gently as possible. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add your buttermilk (to biscuits) or cream and eggs (mixed together first) to your scones.
Using a fork or a dough whisk, gently incorporate the dry and wet ingredients together. Try your best to do this in as few strokes as possible.
The Floured Board
Once everything is blended together, place the dough on a very-well floured board. Using your hand, pat the dough into a circle that is approximately 1/4” to 1/2″ thick for biscuits – 1/2″ to 3/4” for scones.
At this point, you can use a cutter for the biscuits. First, run your cutter through a bit of flour. Placing the cutter as closely as possible, cut circles from the dough. Place the biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet with the edges touching.
The remaining dough can be gently kneaded and patted out again. However, try to get as many biscuits cut with very little dough left over. A third kneading and cutting may make those last biscuits a little tougher.
With the Scones, you can place the dough directly on the baking sheet. Using a dough blade or sharp knife, cut the dough into triangles – but do not pull them apart. Once they are baked, you can gently separate them.
With biscuits and scones, you can use a cookie cutter to create various shapes. When I have had a few friends over for a luncheon, my favorite way to serve Cheese Scones are in heart shapes. They add a bit of festive flair to the luncheon table.
Baking Your Biscuits and Scones
Biscuits and scones are baked at a high temperature for a short time. Many recipes call for the oven to be preheated to 400 degrees and higher. This allows them to rise rapidly, yet still bake on the inside and brown up nicely on the outside.
Are you Ready to Try your Hand at Biscuits and Scones?
Then by all means, let’s get started! To make Biscuits, just venture over to Biscuits – How to Make a Southern Delicacy. Everything you need is waiting for you there!
The recipe for Lemon Scones can be found HERE. It is a simple recipe and perfect for a snack, served with Afternoon Tea or for a luncheon.
There is More to a Scone than just Baking!
Scones made with citrus zest just beg for a little bit of Lagniappe. That little bit of extra comes in the form of whipped cream and Lemon Curd!
Originally, scones were served with clotted cream, a delicacy that originated in Devon and Cornwall, England. But a perfect substitute is a simple whipped cream made from heavy whipping cream with a bit of sugar added.
Lemon Curd, however, is the ‘icing on the cake’ – so to speak. You can purchase a ready-made Curd in most grocery stores, but it can be expensive. It is very easy and more cost-effective to make yourself, and can be made in as little as 15 minutes.
Before you start baking, try your hand at making Lemon Curd. Then, when those delicious scones come out of the oven, you will be ready to indulge as your Curd will have cooled sufficiently to use!
- 5 egg yolks
- 1 cup Sugar
- 3/4 cup fresh squeezed Lemon Juice
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
- 1 stick Butter, cut into small pieces
Fill the bottom of a double boiler 1/3 to 1/2 full of water, and bring to a simmer. Place the second pot on top. Using a whisk, mix the sugar and egg yolks until smooth. Add the juice and zest, and stir until well blended.
Add the butter one piece at a time, and whisk until it has completely melted. Continue whisking until the Curd has thickened. Remove from heat.
You may strain your curd through a fine sieve if preferred. Allow to cool. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
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