Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Cinnamon Raisin Coffeehouse Scones

One way I love to begin any morning is elbow deep in flour, clinking around measuring cups and searching for the open pack of sugar amidst the 9 kinds of miscellaneous sweeteners that have taken over the second shelf of my cupboard. Baking, whether it's for my coworkers on a random Tuesday or a birthday celebration, creates a personal sense of zen and the results (when the desired results are achieved) are some of the most satisfying I experience in the kitchen. The aroma of a sweet bread rising in the oven, the slow peeling of paper from the edges of firm and moist muffins, the breaking in half of a perfectly squishy cookie...not to mention the "oooo"s and "ahhhh"s of admirers who share in a collective comfort brought on by the sheer substantiation of 30 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

In preparation for a very important meeting at work, I was certain that bringing some baked goods was very much needed in order to make our visitors feel welcome in an unfamiliar environment. Half of the group was flying in from the other side of the county and the other local half worked in departments that hardly collide. Homemade goodies seemed a fitting accessory to combat both issues of a room full of out-of-towners and a room full of strangers to boot.

Naturally, some people would eat before the meeting so I searched for something that could be eaten in the morning as breakfast or in the afternoon as a snack, a good accompaniment to coffee or tea. This ruled out anything that serves exclusively as a dessert, like bars or brownies. Cookies are usually a safe call, but I wanted something more unusual and unexpected as an office nosh. I also anticipated a variety of taste buds, some with a sweet tooth and others more adverse to overly sweet foods. This is Phoenix - adventurous tastes are hardly a dime a dozen. I needed something that incognito that looked normal to the hesitant sweet tooth but that would also exceed expectations.

I think scones are generally a crowd-pleaser, so long as they are not too dry, the right amount of sweetness and the perfect size. Cinnamon raisin is a good flavor to accommodate different tastes, as it doesn't need to be overly sweet and even if you don't like raisins you can usually get over it because the combination is so lovely. When I was young, I hated raisins but would rarely be seen passing up a good piece of cinnamon raisin toast. There is just something about the robust cinnamon mixed with something sweet and soft that could make anyone forget about shriveled, wrinkly raisins. I don't believe my co-workers were disappointed with this whatsoever. Both the extreme sweet-tooth bakery fiends and more savory Sallys were appeased by these.

Cinnamon Raisin Coffeehouse Scones
Serves: 6-8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

1 ½ c. Unbleached all purpose flour
½ c. Oat flour
¼ c. Raw sugar
1 tsp. Baking powder
¼ tsp. Baking soda
¼ tsp. Salt
½ c. Vegan margarine, cut into small pieces

2/3 c. Soy or almond milk
½ tsp. Cider vinegar

Mixture to brush scones
¼ c. Soy or almond milk
½ - 1 tsp. Cornstarch

1 c. Sifted powdered sugar
2 T. Soy or almond milk
½ tsp. Vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 400ºF.

In a small bowl, stir cider vinegar into milk and let sit while preparing dough (milk will curdle). Prepare dough in the meantime.

Whisk together flours, sugar, baking powder/soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Blend margarine into flour mixture using a pastry cutter, a fork, or two knives until dough becomes crumbly. Add milk and stir until dough just comes together. Be careful not to over mix the dough.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a wide disk 7-8 inches in diameter and 1-1 ½ inches thick. Cut circle in half and cut each half into 3-4 triangles. Place on baking sheet and prepare the milk wash by stirring cornstarch into ¼ cup milk. Brush mixture over each scone. Bake in oven 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on edges.

Place a sheet of wax paper below a wire rack, transfer scones to rack and cool 5-7 minutes. Prepare the icing by whisking soy milk and vanilla into powdered sugar. With a spoon, drizzle icing over each scone. Let the icing set an additional 2-3 minutes before serving.

1 comment:

  1. Gotta try these. They look easy and delicious. Of course, easy is the most important element for me, as I am not as accomplished a cook as you. Thanks.