I don’t know about everyone else, but Mother’s Day is all about the food for our family. If Mom had it her way, we would continuously cook and eat for the entire day, but instead we stick to two main meals, brunch and dinner. Brunch is something special—it’s not every day that you get to gorge yourself on pastries and sausage only a few short hours after round one of breakfast. In fact, it’s really just a second breakfast, which is common only in Hobbiton. Those hobbits really know how to enjoy life.
One of the stars of the brunch show is the scones. They’re amazing on their own with lots and lots of butter, but simply incredible covered in lemon curd or jam and topped with a dollop of whipped cream. As I am at least half Irish, a love of scones is programmed into my DNA. My grandma, who was from Cork, used to make them all the time, and in Ireland they’re as common as a green blade of grass. My family has endured much controversy over scones—more specifically, the issues of which recipe to use and what to put in them. I, for one, do not really have a major recipe preference as long as the scones do not contain raisins. Unfortunately, I am in the minority and so sometimes have to suffer through the excruciating experience that is a raisin scone. There are many foods that I have grown to like over the years, but raisins do not make that list. I remember getting a box of raisins in my Easter basket and trying so hard to like them. But I would get as far as two or three raisins and have to stuff chocolate eggs into my mouth to mask the flavor and texture of those little shriveled demon-grapes. Although, if raisins made me eat more chocolate, maybe they’re not so bad after all.
To those who love raisins: you’ll love them in these scones. To those who don’t: it’s a hard life, but you can simply make the scones without. The beauty of being the chef is that you get to make the calls. Therefore, leave those raisins in the back of the lazy susan where they belong.
Most importantly, Happy Mother’s Day!
Plain Scones (Raisins Optional)
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cold
1 cup raisins or currants (omit if necessary)
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Sift the flour, baking soda, and baking powder together into the bowl of a stand mixer. Cut up the cold butter into 1 inch cubes.
With the paddle attachment mixing on low speed, add the salt and butter to the flour mixture until the butter cubes are about the size of small peas. If adding raisins or currants, add them now. Push the dry ingredients to the sides of the bowl, leaving a well in the middle. Pour the buttermilk and cream into the middle and then mix just until the ingredients come together.*
Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Trying to keep it in a rounded shape, use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a circle 1.5–2 inches thick. Cut the dough in half, then half again, and then each slice in half; you will have 8 triangular scones. If you wish to cut them smaller, that’s up to you.
Place the scones on a sheet pan with at least 1 inch of space in between them. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until slightly golden brown on top.
For the daring folk out there: plain scones are insanely easy to alter. One delicious way to switch up these scones is to sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar before baking—the smell as they bake is luxurious. Or, if you want to get even crazier, mix the cinnamon into the butter beforehand. I encourage you to use your imagination!
*If you’re making these by hand, simply mix everything together with a wooden spoon and make the well as such. Manually mixing the liquid into the dough is a bit of a workout, but it will most likely just make you enjoy the scones even more.