Sultana Scones- My Favourite Recipe

I’ve been meaning to write this blog post up for ages. Having a bit more time being in lockdown has given me the time to add more things on the blog. Scone’s have always been one of my favourites. You can’t beat a fresh, homemade scone. One of the things I am really looking forward to doing when cafes and restaurants have opened up again is to meet up with one of my besties, Sharon. We love to put the world to rights and have a good old catch up over a cream scone and a cuppa at Fodder on the outskirts of Harrogate.

This scone recipe works for me every time. I always put dried fruit in mine but if you don’t like it, just leave it out. Make sure you have lots of clotted or whipped cream alongside a good quality jam to serve with it. The last time I baked scones I served them with some Blackcurrant and Sloe Gin Jam which my mum had bought for me when she visited a National Trust property.

To also make the perfect scone, I have a few tips which have helped me over the years.

Remember not to overcook the scones or they will become heavy. You are looking for a soft and light texture here. When you are forming the dough, use a round bladed or palette knife to bring it together a bit like you do with pastry. Try not to handle the dough too much. I do use a rolling pin to flatten out the dough, but I don’t roll the dough much. It’s more like a light pressing. When putting the cutter into the dough, don’t twist it or it distorts the shape of the scone.

My Favourite Sultana Scone Recipe

Makes 12 scones.

You need two baking trays lined with non- stick baking paper. I use a medium sized cutter for my scones. I think the one I use is a 5cm one. Some people prefer plain edges, some fluted. With me, I read somewhere that you use a plain edge for sweet scones and a fluted one for savoury. I must admit I’ve done both, depending on what I fancy using at the time.

Ingredients:

125g butter

450g self raising flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

50g caster sugar

100g sultanas or raisins (optional)

1 medium free range egg, beaten

Whole milk to mix

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190oC/ Fan 170oC/ 375oF/Gas 5.
  2. Weigh out all your ingredients and cut your butter into small cubes.
  3. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
  4. Add the salt, bicarbonate of soda and the sugar and stir through carefully.
  5. Stir in the sultanas if you are using them.
  6. Pour in the beaten egg and work the dough together. You might need to add a few drops of milk as well.
  7. Sprinkle some flour on your worktop as well as on your rolling pin. Then roll or pat the dough lightly. The dough should be about 1.5cm thick. Cut into rounds. Gather up the remaining dough and re-roll carefully taking care not to overwork the dough. Cut more rounds until you have used the dough up.
  8. Put the scones onto your prepared baking sheets. I usually have two sheets with six scones on.
  9. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes.
  10. Allow to cool on a wire rack but serve as soon as you can, the fresher the better!

You can choose whether you want to use a plain or a fluted cutter.

You can’t beat scones served with jam and whipped cream. I love clotted cream as well when I can get hold of it.

I have also baked this recipe as a plain scone as seen in the photo above. This was taken at a family birthday afternoon tea last year and the scones were made without fruit in.

Let me know if you try my recipe and what you think about it.

Stay safe.

Happy Baking

Love Sam xx

Mini Ginger Biscuits

Last weekend I wanted to test out one of the baking recipes in one of the Hairy Dieters books. In their third book: The Hairy Dieters Good Eating there is a recipe for Ginger Biscuits in the Sweet Treats chapter of the book.

Now I have a terrible weakness for homemade ginger biscuits, especially ones with chopped stem ginger in them. I slightly under bake mine as I love them chewy. I can never stop at one. They are so moreish!

What I wanted to know was if they are included in a diet book, what was the difference between these and the ones from my regular recipe? It would be interesting to taste and to compare the appearance. Looking at the photo in the book, it looked like there wasn’t any difference at all, only that they were slightly smaller than the ginger nuts you get in packets of biscuits from the supermarket. Comparing them to my regular homemade ones, they looked half the size. But hoping that meant I wouldn’t scoff two? Even two regular ones wouldn’t be enough more me, haha!

Ingredients wise, I didn’t need anything odd to make it lower calorie or lower in fat. In fact I still thought the sugar content was the same, as well as the butter and golden syrup content of the dough. What differed though, was the recipe asked for an egg yolk and a third more flour than my regular recipe. I wondered how it would work. The ginger flavouring came from ground ginger and two teaspoonfuls was plenty to give it the spicy kick I was after.

Making ginger biscuits requires the melting method with the butter, golden syrup and sugar is melted together on the hob. Once this has melted, in goes the egg yolk.

After this, I weighed out the dry ingredients and combined them thoroughly. You want the gingery flavour throughout. According to the recipe it said the dough would be dry and crumbly. This was not, in fact it was the complete opposite and I had to add a little extra flour to get it to work into a ball!

Each biscuit was meant to be about 15g or teaspoonfuls of the mixture dropped onto the lined baking trays. Teaspoonfuls looked so tiny and it was very fiddly to do this. No wonder I only got about 18 cookies and there were meant to be 25! Never mind. I just hope they tasted good.

Unfortunately I was very disappointed with the appearance of the biscuits. They did not get the distinctive crack that ginger biscuits are meant to have even though I put the 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda in the mixture. In my regular recipe it is meant to have a whole tsp so maybe that’s why. But the biscuits pictured had cracks on them! They just looked boring and unappealing to me. Appearances can be deceptive though. I tasted one and was pleased they were delicious! I had to hide the rest away in a box in the cupboard before I ate the rest!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Eccles Cakes.

 

A couple of weeks ago I tried my hand at Eccles Cakes for the very first time.
 
A few weeks ago when I was watching The Great British Bake Off my hubby said to me that a lot of bakes he finds far too sweet and sickly. As someone with a sweet tooth I found this difficult to understand. Although I do find as I’m getting older my taste buds are changing…

One bake hubby likes though are Eccles Cakes. A few weeks back he was tempted when our local Booths store had some on special offer in packs by the front entrance. He came home with some and was asking if they were easy to make. To be honest I didn’t know as I’d never made them before. I knew they were made with puff pastry, my nemesis in the kitchen. Why faff about all day making your own when you can use Jus Rol. Even Mary Berry says it’s ok, and if the First Lady of Baking says so then that’s fine by me. 

I’ve never had a thing for Eccles Cakes. I think it was because my Nana used to buy them from a local bakery and by the time we got to eat them they were always dry and stale. 

So, I thought as it was half term week and I’d have a little more time to play about, I’d have a go at some home made Eccles Cakes. Paul Hollywood has a recipe in his British Baking book and wait for it… lo and behold he says you can use ready made puff pastry to make them! What?! Couldn’t hear him saying that on Bake Off!

So, Jus Rol it was then. I’m far too busy to faff about making puff pastry. 

Paul’s recipe was very easy to follow and even had some step-by- step pictures and instructions to follow when making up the Eccles Cakes.

First I washed some currants, dried the, and then added them to a bowl with melted butter, caster sugar, some nutmeg and lemon zest. It was a delicious aroma and was very tempting to stick a teaspoon in and eat a few mouthfuls!

Next I rolled out my puff pastry on a lightly floured worktop and cut out rounds with a circular pastry cutter. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the one the right size, used an 8cm one instead of the 10cm one that Mr Hollywood suggested. After the rounds had been cut out, I spooned carefully the currant mixture in the middle of the pastry.  This was then finished off by brushing the rim of each Eccles cake with water then gathering up all the edges over the filling. I then pressed the gathered edges to seal the Eccles cakes and turned them face down on my lined baking tray.

I then flattened the top of the Eccles cakes with my hand and made 3 slits on the top of each one. They were then brushed with milk and put in the oven to bake for about 15-20 minutes.

I forgot to sprinkle the tops with caster sugar even though I’d put some out ready in my sugar dredger. They still looked ok though.

 

My Eccles Cakes came out a lot smaller than they should as I used the wrong size cutter.
  
My husband loved these Eccles Cakes .
 When they were warm out of the oven I took one to hubby with a cup of tea. He scoffs it down and asked for another one. They were smaller than the ones in the shop and although I’d only baked 12 and had filling left over he was allowed seeing as it was a long time til dinner! After dinner everyone else had apple cake and custard but hubby asked for more Eccles Cakes. I had to put the rest in a box to hide from him!

Well I don’t think I’ll be baking hubby a cake for his next birthday, he can have a giant Eccles Cake instead with a candle stuck in the middle of it! He has asked if I’ll make them again at Christmas, maybe I could try a version with cranberries in it.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx