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A scone is a quick bread, but it is unclear of the true origin of the word—be it from the Scots, Brits or Germans. I do like the the word scone as it may have derived from the Gaelic term "sgonn" meaning a shapeless mass or large mouthful. Scones are usually round in shape, although some are hexagonal as this shape provides for space-efficiency while baking. Other shapes include triangles and squares.
Why Buttermilk? Using buttermilk instead of cream, makes for a lighter, more bread-like scone. The scones are baked at a higher oven temperature which produces a darker, crispier crust. Using Buttermilk will also result in a more tender, creamy texture with a rich buttery taste and a bit of tang, somewhat similar to a good Greek yogurt. TIP: Not to worry if you are just plum out of buttermilk; regular milk + vinegar will provide the same results.
Start with good ingredients and the results will provide tastier, better results—specifically use a good quality flour.
Easily prepared, baked and enjoyed in under an hour—have a good cup of hot tea and jam with my Irish Scones.
George's Irish Scones
Makes 8 scones in a 9 inch round pan
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2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) very cold sweet butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons pure cane granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk, *made into buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup raisins, **plumped
1/4 teaspoon white vinegar, for making milk into buttermilk
*Add white vinegar to milk to make the buttermilk. Allow to sit 5 minutes to sour.
Pre heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add cold butter to flour and blend in by hand until the butter resembles fine crumbs. Add granulated sugar and mix into flour.
Combine beaten egg, vanilla, and milk. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, toss in plumped raisins and mix by hand until a dough forms. It will take about one minute of kneading until the flour is absorbed. Turn scone dough on to a floured surface. Form in the shape of a ball, do not over knead. With a rolling pin, flatten out dough to one inch thick.
Place the round scone dough into a 9 inch cake pan. With a bench scraper or knife cut though the dough across four times dividing into eight equal pieces. Immediately bake for about 16-18 minutes until dough sounds hollow, a sign it is fully baked.
Serve warm with jam and clotted whip cream.
**To plump raisins add 2 tablespoons of water and heat in microwave for 30 seconds.