I've been really enjoying Ina Garten on the Food Network lately. She's great at using a few ingredients to make something really special. I like her "doesn't-have-to-be-perfect" approach to cooking and baking. While I, personally, still really enjoy meticulous chopping and measuring, it's nice to sometimes let all that go, just throw some good stuff in a bowl, mix it up, and add heat. Ina really seems to enjoy what she's doing and how simply she does it. That's kind of inspiring to me.
I was watching Ina a few days ago as she made her signature strawberry scones. My past few attempts at making scones have been just awful. They come out flat and tough. Having not tried scones in two years but feeling much more comfortable with my knowledge of what makes a scone good, I decided to give it a go. If they sucked, I'd only be out a few bucks, as the ingredients are relatively affordable and easy to find.
I didn't have any dried strawberries, but I did have like three bags of chocolate chips in my fridge that have been screaming at me everytime I opened the door. I decided to use these to make chocolate chip scones. And I decided to bake said scones to the musical stylings of Mr. Barry Manilow.
It's a Miracle.
Here's what I used (minus the flour/baking powder/salt/sugar mixture already in the mixing bowl):
The absolute most important thing is to keep everything very cold until it goes into the oven. This was nearly impossible at my old apartment, which was extremely difficult to cool, except on the coldest days of the year. When the cold butter, cold eggs, and cold cream go into the hot oven, all their moisture evaporates. The gas from the evaporation pushes the scones up and makes them super flaky.
Working very quickly, I mixed everything up, then rolled out the dough (which smelled like heaven, by the way):
A simple egg wash and a sprinkle of sanding sugar:
And after 20 minutes in the oven - success!
These came out flaky, delicious, not too sweet, and beautifully browned.
If you've got an itch to bake and have these simple ingredients in your pantry and refrigerator, I highly suggest you try these. You can put in almost anything your precious little heart desires.
This One's for You, Barry: