Saturday, October 6, 2012

Candied Ginger Scones

You know that episode of The Office where Michael burns his foot on a George Foreman Grill? I fear this may be my future. And by that, I mean burning my foot, not being the manager of a paper company’s Scranton branch.

See, the heat isn’t on in my apartment yet. This wasn’t such a problem the past few weeks, with the temperatures hovering around 60 most days and even passing 70 on occasion. But now, in the midwestern fashion of dramatic highs and even more extreme lows, the temperature dropped a solid 30 degrees overnight. And my apartment has become a very large, very expensive refrigerator. 

I have been keeping warm by wearing multiple sweaters, wrapping myself in blankets, and keeping the oven on to get a little bit of heat into the chilled wooden floors and icy window panes of my apartment.

While this last step may pose a fire hazard, I’m tired of feeling like a character in a Dickens novel. But, I have a new fear of slipping or tripping in my kitchen and putting my foot in the broiler. Of course, standing in front of the oven and alternately standing on my right foot, then my left, then back again, so I can evenly toast them may add to the likelihood of this outcome.

Turning on the oven and not baking something really goes against my core beliefs so I’m really thinking of churning out another batch of these amazing Candied Ginger Scones. I made them a few weeks ago to take to coffee with a friend and must say they are some of the best scones I’ve ever made.

The warmth that the ginger, both ground and crystallized, imparts in these scones is perfect for a chilly fall morning with a cup of strong coffee. The lightness created by folding in the whipped cream lends an almost flaky quality to the pastry. A generous sprinkling of turbinado sugar keeps things sweet.  

Candied Ginger Scones (makes 8 scones, adapted from Sur la Table’s The Art and Soul of Baking)

2 cups all purpose flour

1 TBSP baking powder

¼ cup sugar

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground ginger

¼ cup candied ginger, finely chopped

1 ¼ cups heavy cream, chilled

¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes

1 egg, slightly beaten

¼ - ½ cup turbinado/raw sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, ground and crystalized ginger and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat cream on medium-high speed until fluffy and it begins to hold soft peaks, about 3 minutes. Set aside.

Using a pastry blender or two forks, cut butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse sand and there are no large pieces of butter left (we don’t want anything bigger than a pea).

Pour half of whipped cream into the flour and butter mixture and gently fold into batter, going slowly and stopping when only a few streaks of flour remain. Add reaming whipped cream and gently fold until dough is fully formed.

Turn dough out onto a generously floured surface and knead a few times to bring dough together (add a bit more flour to the dough if it feels particularly sticky). Form dough into a 7-inch disk and cut into 8 equal wedges.

Place wedges 2 – 3 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with egg and sprinkle (as lightly or heavily as desired) with raw sugar.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 – 18 minutes, or until the edges and bottoms are the slightest shade of golden brown.

Allow scones to cool on pan for a few minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Scones are best served the day they are made.

Michael Scott would love these scones. And you will too. 

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