So, I’m in the process of reviewing a cookbook called Biscuit Bliss by James Villas. Since I am not a southern cook, I considered myself to be generally clueless about biscuits, and I was right. My first attempt totally failed, but you’ll have to wait for the review to hear that story. This story is about scones. Mr. Gorilla, being the Anglophile, LOVES scones, so I thought I’d try my hand.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am not as scone-intensive as the next lady – every time I’ve tried them in the past I’ve found them to be quite dry and crumbly, and not sweet enough. So I had high hopes for Mr. Villas’ recipe. Even though I threw my trust in him, I still altered a couple of things about the recipe, just to hedge my bets.
1. The recipe itself is for plain old scones, but I added cinnamon ’cause I felt like it.
2. I did not knead the dough. I’ll tell you when we come to it.
3. I topped mine with loads of coarse cane sugar before baking. ‘Cause I like sugar.
4. I didn’t use a biscuit cutter, ’cause I don’t have one.
Here it is, folks – the most awesomest, moistest scone you will ever eat!
(adapted from Plain Scones, in Biscuit Bliss, by James Villas)
2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons cinnamon
1/4 cup cane sugar
Preheat oven to 425, and line a baking sheet with parchment.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Feel free to add more cinnamon if you’d like.
Add the butter, and rub with your fingertips until the mixture is crumbly. MUCH more pleasant than using a pastry cutter, let me assure you.
Gradually add the milk until a soft dough forms. You may not need all of the milk, or you may need a bit more. Use your judgement.
Here is where I differ from James: instead of kneading the dough on the counter, I squish it around gently in my hands (over the bowl) for a couple of seconds, just until the dough holds together and seems uniform. So do that.
Now, swipe the parchment off of your baking sheet and put it on the counter. Place your ball of dough on the parchment, and using floured hands (yours, of course), pat the dough into a rectangle about 3/4 of an inch thick. Coat the top of the rectangle with the cane sugar.
At this point, James whips out his diamond-honed biscuit cutter, but I don’t have one, and using a glass makes them come out flat. So here’s what I do. I cut the dough into squares, but I do not separate them. I then make diagonal cuts to form triangles, but still, I do not separate them. I simply pick up the whole shebang by the parchment, transfer it to the baking sheet, and throw it (place it gently) in the oven for about 12-15 minutes.
Here's how they come out of the oven. Nifty!
I let them bake as one piece, but the cuts make them easy to separate when they cool. This method keeps them moist, and prevents the sides from overbaking. It’s great!
So yeah, these scones were amazing, even three days out. Great recipe, James.