B-b-b-baking: Scones that don't moo.

This is the stuff. Smitten Kitchen, I love you.

I wanted to do some leisurely baking while studying for my midterm this week, and remembered that P is a big fan of scones. Done.

Things I have learned today about scones:
- Using cold butter isn't actually necessary unless you're doing something more pastry-like, or closer to buttermilk biscuits. Vegetable oil should work just fine as well. (I tend to use vegetable oils for my cakes and muffins and such more so than butter, and they turn out awesomely.)
- Once you have a base for something like a cookie, cake, muffin...scone, perhaps? You can have fun playing around with flavours. Just take whatever fruit/filling/topping from the recipe, and substitute it with something different. Of course, you want to keep in mind how much certain things complement one another. The last thing you want is a whole batch of gross whatever you made.
- Scones generally come in batches of 6, which is a nice size to work with. That way, there are less things to throw at birds and other such wildlife. (This takes me back to the cornbread disaster from a couple of years ago. I made really bad cornbread, and went to a park to dispose of it. Those poor seagulls. Not. I hate seagulls. I've been crapped on twice.)
- Scones will always go well with tea, but apparently, they are also awesome with chocolate almond milk :P
- Scones, like other baked goods, taste quite different between just coming out from the oven, and being cooled and packaged. Hint: Scones are best eaten fresh out of the oven.
- For whatever reason, I think scones taste best in triangular form rather than any other shape. It's probably just a psychological thing, but oh well~

Smitten Kitchen is amazing. Intriguing combinations of flavours, innovative recipes, and gorgeous pictures. One of my food blog gods. She had this beautiful scone with roasted pears and chocolate. I love pears, and although I don't really like chocolate most of the time, I'm sure with dark chocolate, it would be absolutely divine. Unfortunately, I didn't have pears, but I did have an Asian pear and some apples and coconut. I didn't have heavy cream, but coconut milk is a really good substitute. It's dairy-free and has a similar consistency. Perfect. I decided that since I was opening a can of coconut milk, I might as well use it up and make two batches. But in case Asian pears and coconut didn't go together (which I now know pair deliciously), I tried using another fruit combination of mango and banana. Tropical stuff...something like that.

Surprisingly, Batch #1 with Asian pear and coconut was my favourite. I was originally going to try Asian pear and almond, because almonds go well with pears and apples, and other like fruit. But, you know...I think this might actually be my favourite flavour of scone! The taste and texture are subtle and gentle, but comforting as it should be with a cup of tea...mmm...

Batch #2 was more for P because I know he likes bananas and mangos. Right after coming out from the oven, the banana flavour was quite strong and slightly tart. Somehow, it tasted better to me after having cooled down. But, not bad. Not bad.

The coconut milk made everything so fluffy and creamy which was exactly how it should have been. Mmm... Definitely doing this again. Especially with Asian pears. A new sweet flavour combo to add to the list.

After being drenched in egg wash, and ready to be baked. Asian Pear-Apple-Coconut on the left, and Mango-Banana-Coconut on the right. As you can see, the firmer fruit (especially after being roasted) doesn't leak so much moisture, so the shape holds a bit better. Mangos and bananas are just dripping of juice. Even after dabbing with a paper towel, it wasn't bad, but went more blob-like.

Because I reused the parchment paper from roasting the Asian pears and apples... Parchment paper is expensive, okay? :/
They look like apple pies in triangular form. It's awesome.
Yeah...so I didn't take a picture before eating one. In my defense, I didn't eat the whole thing. I split it with my parents and brother, so there!

The New Go-To Scones of Pure Awesome (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
*makes 6 large scones*
The Scone
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
6 Tbsp all-vegetable shortening
1 egg
1/2 cup coconut milk (I always use the Aroy-D canned ones.)
1 Asian pear and 1 Gala apple/1 mango and 1 banana
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Egg Wash
*Makes more than enough for 2 batches of scones*
1 egg
1 tsp water
1/2 tsp table salt

1. Preheat oven to 375 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Wash, peel and dice fruit. Make sure the pieces aren't too thick. (If using firm fruits like apples, pears, etc. roast on a lined baking sheet for 20 min. so the fruit will be softened for the scone. If using moister fruits like mangos and bananas, it might be a good idea to reduce the liquids in the dough slightly. I didn't do this, but they still turned out quite nicely.)
3. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
4. In another bowl, beat sugar and shortening until combined. Add egg and coconut milk, and beat until combined.
5. Fold together wet and dry ingredients until about combined. Add in fruit and shredded coconut until just incorporated. Be careful not to overmix or your scones won't be very delicate.
6. Flour the back of a pie dish and shape the mixture into a round disc to fit the back. Use a floured spatula to divide the dough into 6 even slices.
7. Place each scone onto a lined baking sheet, and round off corners so they don't burn.
8. Using a pastry brush, combine egg, water, and salt to make egg wash. Brush egg wash across surface of each scone.
9. Bake for 30 min. (It's best to bake one batch at a time so you get a nice apple pie kind of look on the tops of both batches. I was impatient and put both trays in at the same time. As a result, I had to bake the second batch for an additional 6-7 min to get browned.)
10. Enjoy warm scones with some tea, and you are set!

These scones were just awesome. I think it will be my new go-to scone base, and I'll play around with different flavours to find even more things that are amazalicious.

Close-up of the Asian Pear/Apple/Coconut Scone from Batch #1 :)
(Thanks again to P for taking a nice picture for me!)
On another note, if you want a good dessert scone, you have to go to the Arbour Restaurant in the Rutherford House Historic Site. Ask for their scone with homemade raspberry butter, or just go all the way for High Tea. When I get the chance, I will definitely follow up on the Arbour for you all. :D


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