Before you get stuck in to decorating your cakes, its really good to practise all your basic recipes such as a simple sponge, scones, sugar cookies, bread and pastry. The more confident you are at whipping up a tasty pastry or delicious dessert, the better your overall creation will be. There is no point having something looking beautiful if its awful in the middle…that could be a philosophy of life!
For myself, I have had the pleasure of been taught to bake since before I could remember, but my skills didn’t really develop until I did more research in different recipes and tried different techniques. Don’t make the mistake in thinking the first recipe you find will do, try different ones and you will may find you like one better or end up combining two or more!
Here is my favourite recipe for the fluffiest melt-in-the-mouth scones! The secret ingredient is vinegar! (you won’t taste it though).
Fluffy Scones (serves 6-8):
350g self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
4 tbsp sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla
Couple of drops of white wine vinegar
Beaten egg to glaze
Jam and Cream to Serve!
Pre-heat oven 220/fan 200/gas mark 7.
Combine flour, salt, baking powder and butter in a bowl and rub together until a sandy consistency is formed. This allows air to be trapped in the mix.
Add the sugar, 4tbsp if you want to taste a slight sweetness, or 3tbsp if you don’t! make a well in the centre ready for the milk.
Pop a baking tray/sheet in the oven ( I line mine with greaseproof paper) to heat it up.
This is what creates the fluffyness! Put the milk in a microwaveable jug and heat for 30 seconds, till warm. Add the vanilla and a couple of drops of the vinegar (approx. ¼ – ½ tsp).
This reacts with the baking powder to make the scones rise lovely and tall, similar to using buttermilk and a red velvet cake recipe.
You cannot taste the vinegar trust me!
You can use lemon if you are a bit off put by the vinegar, it should do the same trick, I just always get better results with vinegar.
Add the milk mixture into the well of the dry ingredients and combine by using a cutting action with a knife.
That may seem a little strange but it is a very sticky mixture and to avoid knocking out any air bubbles you will find it a lot easier!
Just fold the dry into the wet until it is combined, it may still be quite wet just remember not to handle it too much.
Carefully tip the combined mixture out of the bowl on to a lightly floured work surface.
Only use as little flour as you can get away with without the mixture being really sticky, if you add too much they will be denser.
Next fold the mixture carefully over two or three times till its not as sticky, that’s it! The more you handle it the denser and less fluffy the scones will be, do not knead it!
Take the baking sheet out of the oven.
Pat the dough to about 4-5cm deep, deeper than what you might think.
Get a round 5cm cutter, ideally metal, and if needed dip it in a little flour to make the cut cleaner and easier.
To cut quickly push down as straight as possible, if you cut at an angle the scones will lean over in the oven.
Place on the hot baking sheet.
At this stage do not leave the scones out too long, get the tops brushed in beaten egg and straight into the oven for around 10-12 minutes.
Have a check to see if they are cooked properly, do not let them brown too much, just until golden.
However do not take out too early as the middle may not have cooked through, although I am partial to a bit of doughyness!
……and voila! Finito! Go on cut one in half and see how fluffy they are!
Now I don’t think I have to say how to serve these beauties, but jam and clotted cream are firm favourites!
These are best eaten on the day (I’m sure I’ll manage) but if you do want to save them for another day or so, let them cool a little and wrap them in sandwich bags and put in an airtight container.