Last year I went on an Ottawa road trip to check out my nation's capital for the very first time and hang out with my good friend Priscilla. I could have visited Ottawa back in grade 8 but that's a long story I'll save you from having to read..I'm really thoughtful like that, lol. Anyway, my Ottawa trip unfolded itself to be into a fun week - Priscilla and I set out as tourists to cover some touristy sights, ate delicious girly desserts at cafes, checked out various restaurants and even felt adventurous enough to go white water rafting.
One day while on the hunt for a loaf of bread, Priscilla mentioned how her colleagues had been raving about this local bakery called 'Art Is In', so on my last day there I made it a mission to go find this place and stock up on baked goodies for us to snack on our long drive back to Toronto. I am infamous for being directionally challenged and even though my sometimes unreliable best friend; the GPS got me lost and made me run around in circles, I eventually found the place. Success! Based on the caption of this post you can probably guess which baked item ended up being our favourite; yes, the scones! To be honest, I can't exactly recall what fruit 'Art Is In's' version contained but what I do remember is that it was absolutely delicious and that I needed to find a recipe that would be equally great. After giving it much thought I decided blackberries, orange zest and almonds would make a wonderful combination for my home baked batch this Christmas'y winter season. These scones are just as delightful as the ones I purchased from the Ottawa bakery considering my family and I inhaled them in minutes...and because I tasted both, duh!
Credit: The Vintage Mixer
I followed Becky's recipe for the most part with just one minor modification and it turned out Ah-mazing! Grocery store scones have nothing on these delicious treats - they are the best! Definitely a recipe I'll be re-visiting again.
**You can also substitue the blackberries with blueberries, raspberries, cranberries cut up strawberries, etc. and combine your own preference of nuts if you enjoy a slight crunch.
- all purpose white flour - 2 cups plus more for dusting (for an even healthier option, substitute 1 cup with whole wheat flour)
- baking powder - 2 teaspoon
- baking soda - 1/4 teaspoon
- salt - 1/4 teaspoon
- butter (salted or unsalted) - 1/2 cup shredded cold butter
- blackberry - 1 pint carefully cut into quarters
- orange zest - zest of 1 large orange
- sugar - 1/2 cup
- sour cream - 1/2 cup
- 2% milk - 1/2 cup
- almonds - 1/4 cup skinless crushed almonds
Note before you start! The trick to baking perfect scones is to work really fast with cold ingredients. And when the time comes for you to add the berries, you need to work gently from that point onwards, otherwise your scones will look grey with all the juice of the berries having been incorporated into the dough.
Grate 1/2 a cup of butter on a box grater and refrigerate until it's ready to be used.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together 1/2 a cup of sour cream with 1/2 a cup of milk and also refrigerate until it's needed.
In a large bowl, add 2 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, zest of 1 large orange, 1/4 cup of crushed almonds and 1/2 a cup of sugar - ensure it's all combined.
At this point, take your pint of blackberries, wash them, cut them gently without squishing them into quarters and keep aside in a bowl (drain out the liquid) . Clean your counter (scrub/clean) and flour generously. Take out a large baking sheet, layer with parchment paper and set the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in the microwave in a tiny bowl and now you have everything set and ready for you to move speedily along.
In the dry ingredients mix (the flour, etc.), add the grated butter and with your hands gently combine until it's somewhat crumbly. Add the yogurt and milk mixture and fold in with a spatula until all the ingredients are combined.
On your work surface dusted with flour, transfer the dough, dust the top with some more flour and knead with floured hands. If the dough is sticky, add flour a bit by bit until it is no longer sticky. Now the dough is ready but you've also warmed up the dough with the warmth of your hands, so quickly roll the dough out to a large square and fold the dough into thirds, then fold the outer layers in from the outside so you have a pocket square.
Place the dough onto a flour dusted plate and store in the freezer for 5 minutes.
5 minutes later, roll the dough back out into a square, carefully sprinkle the cut berries and fold the dough gently back into thirds each way until you have a concealed square without squishing the berries too much. (I didn't do the following, but it might be better to sprinkle half the berries on the first layer, then fold into thirds and sprinkle the rest on the third, then fold into thirds again...this way you have more berries right in the middle of the scones).
Eat plain, with devonshire cream, butter or jam. Any combination of these will give you an equally tasty result! Care for a cup of tea with these scones? *insert british accent* =D