Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Simple Things: Multigrain Scones

I really have been enjoying graduate school so far. The one thing that I miss is cooking for people. And the fact that I don't have people for whom I can cook means that I need to make things either (1) in small enough portions that they only feed me or (2) make things that can be easily saved for another time.

As such, I have really become fascinated by the simpler foods: things that can be made simply, but still taste delicious. So, here is my first post on the simple things that make me smile.

I loosely adapted these multigrain scones from my favorite white-flour scone recipe. I actually cannot find where the scone recipe originated-- but it might have been something like My First Baking Book. I didn't have any currants, and, in my view, white flour scones without currents are really boring. American scones-- those wedge-shaped frosted things you find in coffee shops-- tend to have all sorts of flavors added to them to combat this problem. I, however, wanted something simple, so I rummaged through my cupboard and tried something out. It worked and I really like them.

The following recipe has many different possible variations. Play around with it! I will put the variations in endnotes so the recipe is easier to follow.

Multigrain Scones (can make between 8 and 16 scones, depending upon the size)

  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour [1]
  • 1/4 cup red whole wheat flour [2]
  • 1/4 cup grains (I used Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain Hot Cereal) [3]
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (or 1 tablespoon) baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar [4]
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cold (1/2 of a stick, 4 tablespoons)
  • 3/4 cup milk [5]
  • 1/3 cup currants [6]
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Mix together the flours, grains, salt, baking powder, and sugar in a bowl.
Dry Ingredients
  • Cut the butter into pieces and add it to the mixture. Use a large fork to mix the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is the consistency of bread crumbs.
  • Then add the milk (and optional currants).
  • Mix until a sticky dough forms. If it is not sticky, add more milk. Only mix until the dough forms and all the dry spots are gone. Do not overmix.
Sticky Dough
  •  Drop them onto a pan in chunks between the size of chestnuts (produces about 16) and the size of half a tennis ball (produces about 8). I do not tend to shape my scones. However, you can shape your scones like wedges, like Southern biscuits, or in various other ways.
  • Bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees F or until they are brown around the edges.
  • Eat within 24 hours. 
  • They can also be frozen to preserve freshness. Wait until they cool completely and then put sets in airtight containers and put in the freezer. You can warm them in a toaster oven directly from frozen (bake at around 325 until hot all the way through and brown on top-- usually 3-4 minutes in my toaster oven). Otherwise, you can thaw them for a few hours and eat them at room temperature.
I really love these scones. They are faster to make than bread and I can freeze a bunch of them and toast them fresh each day.

  1. By this, as per usual, I mean whole wheat flour from white wheat (as opposed to red wheat). You can use either hard or soft wheat for these scones. The harder the wheat, the more dense the texture will be. I tend to use hard wheat because it's what is available to me (as I am restricted to the grocery stores within walking distance). However, soft wheat is generally more flavorful. Beware though, if you use soft wheat, you must reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe. 
  2. If you like the richer nuttier flavor, switch amounts for the red wheat and the white wheat in the recipe, or just make the entire thing red wheat. If you do this, you will have to add a little bit more liquid. If you want lighter/whiter scones, replace this with white flour. 
  3. You can use any multigrain mix which appeals to you (or obviously mix your own). The important thing is the courseness of the grind. You need the pieces of grain to be about the size of an amaranth grain). If you've never seen amaranth, I highly recommend adding it to breads that you plan on toasting, but another reference might be about 1/2 the size of a piece of toasted wheat germ. If it's too big, it will be crunchy. 
  4. If you like sweeter scones, you can add more sugar either into the mix or on top. I sprinkled about half a teaspoon of cinnamon-sugar on the top of each of my apple scones when I made them (replacing the currants with chopped apple). You can also glaze them, if you so desire. Sue has some creative ideas about glazing in her various scone recipes.
  5. I use nonfat milk because I like my scones lighter (and also because it has less calories). However, you can also use any other kind of milk. I made the most recent set (the ones pictured with the currants) with lowfat buttermilk because Servia had some left over from Christmas. They were a little heavier and more tender than the ones that I make at school. If you like heavier scones, try with buttermilk or cream.
  6. Currants are optional. You can also substitute raisins, fresh chopped apple, chopped nuts, dried fruit (cranberries, etc), fresh blueberries, etc. I tried them with chopped apple once and I quite liked them. However, if you want a distinctly apple flavor, you may want to try adding more apple than 1/3 cup or substituting a small portion of the milk with apple juice or apple cider.

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