It’s that time of year again. We turn our clocks back. The sun sets before 5 and I hunker down for six months of winter. My thoughts turn to baking, nostalgia eating, and comfort foods. Most weekends once cooler weather hits, if I have no particular place to go in the morning, I try to bake something to go with my morning coffee. The trick is find something simple, straightforward, and (relatively) quick because drawn out and complicated before morning coffee is just not a good idea. Scones are nice because they have some substance and aren’t club-you-over-the-head sweet. The only problem is it’s just me and what am I gonna do with 10-12 scones when I really want 1 or 2. Scones, unlike many baked goods, go downhill fast. Out of the oven they are nice and delicate. Later in the day they are high calorie hockey pucks.
America’s Test Kitchen to the rescue. (One of the few major food mags/recipe sites that puts out recipes scaled for 1-2 people.) I had a scaled down version of cream+currant scones from one of their magazines I picked up this summer that I’d been meaning to try out. I neither had nor like dried currants so my mind got to working. I thought back to some ginger scones I was overly fond of as a college student in DC and started rummaging through the cupboards for ingredients. Half an hour later, I had four warm, delicate scones. Just the right number. Just the right texture. Totally scratched my scone itch. (Don’t be put off by the amount of cream or butter in this recipe. It’s the difference between a light and fluffy scone and leaden, dense flour brick. The key is not to overmix.)
Ginger Cream Scones
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen, reminiscent of Teaism’s Ginger Scones
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces and chilled
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoon turbinado sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Pulse flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and ginger in food processor to evenly combine (about 3 pulses). Scatter butter evenly over top of flour mixture and pulse until it resembles coarse cornmeal with slightly larger butter lumps (about 6 pulses). Transfer mixture to bowl and stir in crystallized ginger. Stir in cream with rubber spatula until dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.
Turn dough and any floury bits onto lightly floured surface and knead until rough, slightly sticky ball forms, about 5-10 seconds. Shape into 5-inch disk about 3/4 inch thick. Cut into four wedges using sharp knife or pastry scraper.
Place wedges of dough on baking sheet. Brush lightly with heavy cream and dust with turbinado sugar. Bake until tops are light golden brown, 18-22 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Transfer scones to wire rack and let cool for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.