A long time ago in a city by a bay, there was a young lady named Lisa. Her job was to solve mysteries. She met all sorts of people and made her way around the city getting documents from courts, registries, and different offices. She loved reading what she found, because there were answers. Lots of answers. More information than she could have ever dreamed. That job changed her life in many ways and moved her in directions that she would have never imagined. Little did Lisa know that her routine of buying a glazed orange scone each morning before work would also greatly impact her future...
Yes, that Lisa was me. The time was the late 80's and the place was Boston. I worked for the state and there was a bakery called Warburton's on the corner of Park Street across from Ashburton Place on Beacon Hill. I'm sure that some of you from the Boston area might remember it. Warburton's was taken over by Au Bon Pain and I guess the rest is history. Au Bon Pain is everywhere now. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
But I'll never forget Warburton's. That's where I found my love for scones. I had always imagined that scones were dry and tasteless, but these scones had flecks of orange rind and a sweet glaze. They were perfection.
At some point, I decided that I wanted to try and bake scones myself. How hard could they be? I found a book aptly titled Simply Scones and have been baking scones ever since.
I've adapted the Classic Cream Scones recipe over the years and have many variations. I change the flours, add cocoa powder, different fruits, and spices. Sometimes I use a glaze. My imagination is the only limit.
Scones are great for breakfast, because they're a bit different than a muffin or toast. They make a meal feel more special. Scones are a nice gift too. They ship well and people really appreciate them. I was even able to help raise money for Haiti by donating scones to an online bake sale. So you never know what scone baking skills can do.
And my curious nature and love for research has helped me in another endeavor. Years ago, I learned that my maternal great-grandmother ran a tea room in Cambridge. I thought that was pretty cool and wanted to find out more about it. I never got around to looking before, but lately I've been doing more in-depth research into my family history.
I've been inspired by watching the television shows History Detectives, Faces of America, and Who Do You Think You Are?
So recently I've been making my way around Boston again gathering information. Only this time it's personal. My family tree. I know what I'm looking for and where to find it. Who knows what family mysteries I'll uncover? Or answers that I'll find. For now, here's the scone recipe. Adapt to your heart's content and let me know if you try it.
(makes 8 large scones)
1/3 cup Smart Balance or butter (softened)
1/2 cup vanilla rice milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
dash of salt
1/2 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Take out baking sheet and dust with a little flour. Use your hands to spread the flour over the sheet.
In large bowl, use a wooden spoon to combine Smart Balance (or butter)with sugar, vanilla, and egg. Add in salt, baking powder and some of flour. Stir well then add rice milk and the rest of the flour. Stir until combined. Add raisins and stir well. Use your hands to form a ball from the mixture and place onto baking sheet. All the flour may not be completely combined. Pour excess flour onto the ball.
Use your hands to continue forming the dough. Add a small amount of additional flour if dough is too sticky to work with easily. Press dough down into a stretched out circle. Cut dough into 8 pieces by cutting in half vertically and horizontally and then cut those pieces in half. Separate pieces from each other on the baking sheet. Scones will rise and spread out. Bake for 20 minutes. Scones should be lightly brown. Let cool for about 5 minutes.
If you want to add glaze or frosting to top it off, then spread or pour it on now. I don't usually measure the ingredients out for a glaze. Take a little Smart Balance or butter (maybe 3 T) and soften it in the microwave. Add a pinch of salt, about 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 3/4 cup powdered sugar and enough vanilla rice milk (or other milk) to get it to the right consistency by stirring it in.
For those of you who may prefer a set recipe, then I highly recommend Magnolia's Vanilla Buttercream Frosting. The recipe makes enough frosting for a layer cake, so you can make it and have extra or quarter it, so there won't be so much. To make the frosting more like glaze, add a little more milk or use less powdered sugar, so it will be more liquid. Enjoy!
*Updated 6/23/2013* Just realized that I never updated this post to include the comment that I received on my blog Facebook page almost a year ago to the day. Below is the comment that I received from Scot Montgomery.
I saw your post on scones. I helped start and run Warburtons in Boston from 1979 to 1985. Just kind of cool that someone remembers. I went to England and brought the recipe back with me. We had 6 bakeries in Boston. Our blueberry muffin was also quite popular.You really never know who will read a blog post!
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