Jan woke up in the mood for scones. She knew that I have had a jar of double strength orange-infused sugar sitting on my counter melding for two weeks now. She asked for orange scones.
I looked at the last time I made English scones and I realized that there was no sugar in the recipe. They really did not need sugar, the blueberries made it sweet enough, but if I was going to use the orange-infused sugar I was going to have to add it. I did not want my scones to be overpoweringly sweet so I decided to start with 2 tablespoons and a sprinkle a bit on top.
After reading several sources on the internet, it seems the difference between an English scone and an American scone is the sugar. Although I have seen recipes claiming to be English that included sugar, the sprinkling of sugar on top definitely make these American scones.
Karl’s Orange-Infused American Scones
2 cups cake flour
4 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2+ Tbs. Karl’s Orange-Infused Sugar, separate uses
6 Tbs. butter, cold
1 egg, lightly beaten
milk, added to the egg to make ¾ cup
2 Tbs. cream
1. Heat oven to 400º F.
2. Measure the flour, baking powder and salt in a flour sifter. Sift the dry ingredients several times to mix them thoroughly.
Tip: The trick to any quick bread is to not overwork your dough. By completely mixing the dry ingredients you do not have to worry about pocket of baking power later when you add the wet ingredients.
3. Stir in 2 tablespoons of orange-infused sugar.
Note: In my original recipe I used the zest of one orange per cup of sugar. For this batch I used the zest of two oranges.
4. Slice the butter into thin pats and cut it into small pieces with a pastry cutter.
Tip: If you do not have a pastry cutter you may use a fork or squeeze the butter with your fingers until it resembles crumbs. However, be careful not to melt the butter into the flour.
5. Put the egg into a measuring cup and beat it lightly.
6. Add enough milk to make ¾ of a cup of liquid and beat lightly to mix completely.
Tip: Many recipes call for buttermilk, whole milk or cream, but I use 1% lactose free for Eilene. They may be less rich, but we think they are just fine.
8. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and gently fold the dough with a spatula.
9. When there is no more dry flour showing, stop and let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
Tip: You do not want to overwork the dough. The more you work it, the more gluten is created. This is a good thing for breads, but a bad thing for scones and biscuits. The more you knead the dough the tougher your scones will be. Resting your dough allows the last of the dry flour to absorb the last of the liquid without creating more gluten.
10. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and pat it into a ½ inch thick square.
Tip: How thin you pat your dough depends on how high you like your scones. If you prefer you may pat your square as thick as 1½ inches for a really tall, fluffy scone.
11. I use a bread scrapper to cut the dough into 9 or 12 portions.
Tip: If you really like round scones, you may use a cutter to make 2 to 2½ inch rounds. However, if you do this, you will have to gather up the scraps, reform them into a sheet and cut again. These second cuts will be a little tougher than the first cuts and you will always end up with one ugly, last-bits scone.
12. Put the scones on a Pam-ed baking sheet and brush the tops with the cream.
13. Sprinkle the tops with a bit of orange infused sugar.
14. Bake for 13 – 14 minutes, until well risen and golden.
15. Serve immediately, while still warm from the oven.