Wednesday 21 December 2016

Simple Christmas Cinnamon Scones

   My dad has been regaling me with tales of deceptive Christmas scones. Three times now he's been in a cafe and bought a Christmas scone, each time hoping for cinnamon but, in typical English fashion, not asking, just assuming, and eating it with muttered complaints when struck with disappointment. One was a plain scone stuffed with cranberry jam, the next had cranberries in it, all of which had sunk away from the edges to be invisible until bitten, and the third was filled with orange and lemon zest. All he wanted was cinnamon spice, but apparently everyone's idea of a 'Christmas scone' differs. So I thought I'd make him a batch.
   I've made scones before, they're not hard, but ratio of spices is an art and it's one I can never get right. But I couldn't find an uncomplicated recipe - one I could easily adjust to make a smaller batch in case they were awful. In the end I took a basic scone recipe from an old cook book and guessed on the spices.

   My dad ate the lot and asked me to make more a few days later. That's a win. I'm making more for Christmas Eve.

Makes 8-10 scones; 150 cals each
150g self raising flour
50g chestnut flour (or replace with another 50g plain flour)
pinch of salt
50g unsalted butter
25g caster sugar
50ml milk
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
dash nutmeg
Extra milk for brushing
Extra cinnamon for sprinkling
Make it healthier:
Swap the self raising flour for whole meal or oat flour with 1/2 tsp baking powder
Swap the unsalted butter for grass-fed or coconut oil - though the latter, in sweet baking, leaves a coconutty taste
Swap the sugar for unrefined like Billington's
Swap the milk for semi-skimmed or almond milk

1. Heat the oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7 and lightly flour a baking tray/cookie sheet

2. Combine the flours and salt in a bowl, then rub in the butter.

3. Stir in the sugar and spices, then add the milk a little at a time to create a soft dough. Add more if needed.

4. Lightly flour a work surface and turn the dough out onto it. Roll or pat it out to about 2cm thick and cut with a scone or cookie cutter. Transfer the cut out dough onto the floured cookie sheet/baking tray and lightly brush with milk. Sprinkle a little more cinnamon over each brushed scone. If you have a little dough left over, treat that one too so you have a sneaky little taster when they're out of the oven.

5. Slide the tray in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, until they're lovely and golden and plump.

Leave to cool a little - they're best warm, in my opinion, but they're gorgeous both warm and cold.


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