Treacle scones are traditionally made with a bit of cinnamon, but I thought I’d try ginger for a wee change.
This is the recipe I used, although next time I’ll alter it a bit and you’ll see why below. Sometimes it can be helpful to see mistakes and then possibly avoid making them yourself.
Ingredients and Method (all in a oner because I’m lazy)
1. Switch your oven on (with a shelf near the top) at a high heat. I used 210ºC in a fan oven, which I think is 230ºC in a normal electric oven and about gas mark 8.
2. Using your fingertips (you can use an electric mixer but I prefer the old-fashioned method), rub together:
6oz self raising white flour
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
2oz butter/margarine (I used solid baking margarine)
1oz soft brown sugar
2oz (1 tablespoon) treacle
1 teaspoon ground ginger (or more if you like it fiery, or cinnamon if you prefer)
some crystalised ginger chopped up (optional, I used about half an ounce)
1 beaten egg (retaining a little – a level teaspoon or so – for brushing on top of the scones before they go into the oven, if you like them to come out shiny)
2 tablespoons milk
What you should end up with is a soft, pliable dough, not like this (apologies for poor focus, my hands were sticky), which is too wet:
It was at this point that I realised I should have used less milk, or possibly omitted it altogether. I used a large egg and the treacle gave a bit of moisture too. This is how I would tweak the recipe above, just add a wee spot of milk at a time if you think the mixture’s too stiff. It should be soft and dampish but not so wet that it sticks to your hands.
To rectify the situation, I added a bit of flour, to get a consistency that was still a bit on the damp side but at least prepared to come away from the bowl:
4. Take the dough out of the bowl and plop it onto a well floured work surface.
5. Handling it lightly, flatten it out on top so that it’s more or less even all over and as thick as you fancy making it. I tend to make mine about the thickness of the height of the scone cutter, probably between 2cm and 3cm thick.
6. Shoogle the cutter into the flour on the work surface and plunge it straight down into the dough without twisting:
If your mixture’s very wet, as mine was, you might have trouble getting the dough out of the cutter:
I had to resort to turning the cutter upside down and gently persuading it to fall out of the top:
When I managed to get it out I popped it on a baking tray:
7. Cut out the rest of the dough (there is invariably a wee bit at the end that doesn’t make up a full size scone, in which case I form it lightly into a sconeish shape) and put all scones onto the tray.
8. Brush the tops (and sides, if you’re feeling meticulous) of the scones with the leftover beaten egg (you can use milk instead but egg gives a shinier finish):
If you cook the scones at a lower temperature than I did you might find that they don’t get crispy on the outside, and I know some people prefer a chewier textured top, in which case use a lower heat. I like mine crisp outside and soft inside, however, which is why I go for the high heat.
For the last 4 minutes I turned my oven down to 190ºC (210ºC/gas 6 or 7) because the scones seemed to be getting quite brown. I don’t always do this, but I was cooking these for a couple of minutes longer than I might have done with a drier mixture.
The finished result demonstrates what happens when the scone mixture is too damp – the scones have keeled over instead of rising up:
The tops were crisp but the inside was soft and, most importantly, there were lots of air holes that made for a light texture. The scone I had melted in the mouth in a way that my scones don’t always do, and I think that was due to using a higher than normal ratio of fat to flour.
Not too bad for a morning snack, particularly with a nice pot of jasmine pearls tea: