Sunday, November 4, 2012

Apricot and Almond Scones – easy, lazy, delicious !

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I’m a brunch kinda gal. I’d rather skip breakfast than breakfast in a hurry so my cupboards are usually bare of boxed cereals (unless specifically bought for a recipe). So when my nieces and nephew come for a sleepover, there is usually a mad scramble to find hungry tummies something to eat in the morning. Luckily they are used to this routine by now and know that empty cupboard breakfasts can produce French toast (in about 20 minutes); buttermilk pancakes, (about the same); and that scones, while taking just a bit longer, are a fun hands-on activity, and open to all sorts of flavour customisation: apple... nutella... chocolate chip...
My latest favourite is Apricot and Almond. This mixture is easy, lazy, and delicious. Kids (of all ages) love to get involved in cutting out and glazing.  Guaranteed a big hit with little and large tummies alike.

For 8 or 9 scones you will need...
... to preheat the oven to 200
150g plain flour
75g wholemeal flour
50g ground almonds
10g baking powder
¼ teaspoon fine table salt
50g butter, cut into small cubes
100g ready-to-eat dried apricots, very finely chopped
½ teaspoon almond extract (optional)
150mls fresh milk 

To glaze
1 egg, beaten (or a little milk for a less glossy finish)
a little brown or white sugar for sprinkling  

1                    Place the white flour, wholemeal flour, baking powder, ground almonds and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub it into the flour, lifting and crumbling the mixture between your index and middle fingers and your thumbs, until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
2                    Add the chopped dried apricots.
3                    Mix the almond extract (if using) with the milk, and pour into the bowl. Mix gently until the ingredients have formed a soft dough and no dry flour remains.
4                    Lightly flour your hands then turn the mixture onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead gently to form a ball. Pat the dough out into a round approximately 2cm thick (you could use a rolling pin for a more professional finish but I’ve found that hungry kids don’t much care for perfect symmetry).
5                    Using a 6cm (3”) cutter, stamp out scone shapes from the dough reforming any scraps into a ball and once again patting into a thickness of 2cm. This mixture yields between 8 and 9 scones.
6                    Place the prepared scones on a non-stick baking sheet and brush the tops with beaten egg. Sprinkle each with a pinch of sugar and bake in the preheated oven for 12 – 15 minutes until risen and golden brown.
7                    When cooked, remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack for about 5 minutes before serving with butter and jam. Scones are best served the day they are made but generally there are no leftovers so this won’t be a cause for concern J

Note: You could use your food processor for the first 2 steps, using whole almonds for better flavour and simply roughly chop the apricots, letting the processor do most of the work. I prefer to mix in the milk by hand as overworking the dough can make it tough.

It's called the fastest bread in the West because one moment it's there and next it's scone ...
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