Saturday, January 07, 2006

Banana Scones

Normally, I wouldn't consider bananas to be the kind of fruit that you chop up and mix into baked goods. The soft, velvety texture of bananas seems to lend itself to mashing. But I broke tradition and chopped them up before I added them to these scones. I felt that the texture of the scone would be compromised if I added all that excess moisture. Not that there is anything wrong with a muffin-like scone, but I wanted the hint of flakiness that rubbed in butter gives these to be noticeable.
Butter is probably the most dominant flavor in these scones, accentuated by bites of banana and a kiss of vanilla. The ginger adds a very subtle flavor, but doesn't draw much attention to itself, which is why I think it works so well here. If you want to play it up a bit, stir in some diced candied ginger along with the bananas.
These scones develop a nicely crisp outside with a moist interior. The banana bits seem to caramelise a bit and lend a lovely flavor to the whole scone. In fact, the softness of the banana almost eliminates the need for anything like honey or cream to accompany these. But if you want to use a bit of extra butter, I won't tell.

Banana Scones
1 cup ap flour
1 ½ tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp ground ginger
3 tbsp butter, cold
4-5 tbsp milk (or light cream)
½ tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup banana, diced (approx. half a medium banana)

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and ginger. Cut butter into a few chunks and rub it into the flour mixture with your fingertips.
Mix milk and vanilla in a small glass. Pour about 4 tablespoons into the flour mixture and stir until the mixture starts to come together. Add the banana chunks and continue to stir, adding more milk if necessary, until dough comes together.
Pat dough into a disk about 1 inch thick. Cut into four sections with a knife and place each on baking sheet.
Bake at 400F for 17-20 minutes, until light gold.
Cool on wire rack or eat warm. These scones are best the day they are made.
Makes 4 scones.