Wednesday, June 30, 2010
The Modern Baker Challenge: Butterscotch Scones
I, like many of you out there, have had a love affair with Butterscotch all my life. As a child, I used to snatch up those little Butterscotch hard candies from Brach's in the yellow wrapper that no one else liked. All buttery and- well, certainly not Scotch-y, as I later would find out.
The thing is, I don't really like butter. Okay, okay, I don't like butter on bread, since the butter just takes over the taste of the bread, and I really dislike how Germans put butter on sandwiches that you get at a bakery. It's funny, because, in the States, you would probably get mayonnaise. When I make sandwiches, I tend to counterbalance the flavors. Mustard on one side, and either Tomato Jam or Fig Jam on the other. Just to get a half-savory sweetness to cut the mustard.
Butterscotch, on the other hand, is almost the polar opposite of mustard. Sweet and buttery and- well- you can't really describe the flavor. It's almost as though you made candy out of butter. Although I'm not a straight-butter fan, I am a fan of butter in things. Pound cake, muffins, a very light coating of butter on sourdough pancakes? Butter caramels, Lemon curd, Butter Pecan Ice Cream? Vegetables sauteed in butter and thyme? Broccoli soup where the ingredients are butter, water and Broccoli? Yes. Yes to all of them.
So, when I found out that The Modern Baker Challenge was making Butterscotch Scones, I jumped on them. I mean, who doesn't love Butterscotch in things?
In case you're wondering, the Butterscotch flavor comes from the butter, cream, and the brown sugar. Though I doubt that creaming them together will give you Pure Butterscotch Heaven (as found on the Smitten), you can certainly try. In the case above, and on the advice of other Modern Bakers, I also added a handful of Butterscotch chips, imported into Germany from the States, just to up the ante.
I have to let you in on a dirty little secret of mine- I don't sift the flour. I used to when I used measuring cups, but now, I just sort of throw the dry ingredients together and just stir with my Zeigefinger. Part of the reason is that my old, really good sifter gave up the ghost, and I replaced it with a really cheap one from IKEA. Unfortunately, you really do get what you pay for, since the sifter can't handle more than a handful of very white flour.
After following a lifetime of recipes, I also tend to skim recipes instead of reading them, unless I'm reading them for fun, in which case I tend to visualize the process. Here, for scones like for many cakes, you mix the dry ingredients together, cut the butter into the flour, and then mix in the almost dry.
Since I don't have a food processor, I tend to do most things by hand. In this case, the eggs and cream are whisked together separately, then poured into the dry-ish ingredients instead of pulsed in a food processor. I have, however, been thinking of getting one, just for the singular purpose of making killer hummus.
When the batter dough looks like it's remotely coming together, you turn it out on to a floured board. You're actually supposed to fold the dough over on itself to give it a final mixing, but, because my bread habits tend to sneak into everything, I kneaded it just a little bit.
The only problem I had with this recipe was the size of the scones.
It makes twelve, where it really should make eighteen.
But since I actually managed to read this part of the recipe, I decided to trust Nick Malgieri and divide each third of dough into a further four.
The flavor was amazing. Though when you compare the scones to Butterscotch hard candy, the concentrated flavor of the candy always wins.
But if you can't get Butterscotch candy, and, like me, you never eat ice cream at home, which sort of precludes you from making Butterscotch sauce in any form, these are definitely what you need.
Although on second thought, some Butterscotch sauce drizzled on these might not be half-bad. Would that be overkill? Well, considering there is a recipe for Triple Chocolate Scones in the book, I would say that Triple Butterscotch Scones would fit right in with the rest of the quick breads.
For more of these wonderful scones, check out these other Modern Baker Lovers (though no Jonathan Richman, so don't ask!):
Phyl from Of Cabbages and King Cakes
Andrea from Family & Food & Other Things
Heather from Tease-spoon of Sugar
Renee from Every Pot and Pan is Dirty
Abby from Stir It! Scrape It! Mix It! Bake It!