I don't usually participate in the Barefoot Bloggers bonus recipes. After doing Tuesdays with Dorie, Craving Ellie in My Belly (both weekly) and Barefoot Bloggers (twice a month), I generally want to focus on recipes I want to make from other bloggers. But when Em of The Repressed Pastry Chef picked the bonus recipe for this month, I had to do it. See, I love scones but I've never made them, and I knew Ina's recipe had to be easy enough for a scone-making newbie like me.
I've seen Ina make scones on the show a couple of times (maybe it's the same episode and I've watched it more than once!), and that was good because some of the lessons she taught made this an easy recipe. Some of the Food Network feedback said the scones were too salty, and some said they needed more orange zest or extract, and some said more sugar. I thought the salt level was fine, but I agree they could have been a little sweeter and had more orange flavor. Perhaps if I had used Dorie Greenspan's technique of rubbing the zest with the sugar before adding it to the bowl, it would have brought out more of the orange flavor.
Ina's technique of letting your mixer do the work was wonderful. I was extra careful not to over mix the dough. I wanted to add pecans for some crunch, and I mixed them together with the dried cranberries in the empty cranberry bag, before adding the flour and shaking it up. In hindsight, my dried cranberries were a little too dried, and I should have rehydrated them (which you can do by putting them in a steamer basket over boiling water).
When I turned this out to shape the dough and cut it out, it was very shaggy, which I expected. I rolled it only to get it to the 3/4" thickness, and floured a 2" biscuit cutter before cutting each scone. I baked off a few immediately (the dough was absolutely incredible!), then put a few in the freezer for another day, and the rest went into the refrigerator to bake and take to work.
My 2" guys baked for about 20 minutes, and I think that was a bit too long. Since they were smaller than the 3" Ina recommends, you may want to check them at 18 minutes. Even so, they were fluffy, tender and delicious, in short, nothing like the "scones" you can get at national chain coffee houses.
Next time (and there will be a lot of next times) I will up the orange zest, use Dorie's zest/sugar rubbing technique, increase the pecans, decrease the dried cranberries (or use fresh!) and add slightly more sugar. But before I make these again, I want to see if I can replicate (and improve) the lemon curd scone served at my favorite coffee house. With Ina's tender scone as a base, you can go in many directions with this recipe. Check it out here or here. And my thanks go out to Em for choosing this wonderful recipe. Now I know how to bake scones!