Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Cheeseboard's Currant Scones

It's not really possible to eat low fat all the time, not without missing out on something really tasty every once in a while, so even if your New Year's resolution is to eat healthier, just keep in mind that eating healthier doesn't have to mean excluding everything that could be described as "decadent." It just means eating less of those items. Really good scones usually get that way because of the liberal use of butter and cream, so it is best to eat just one, but do take that one because you'll be missing out if you're never had a really good scone.

This recipe is from the The Cheeseboard in Berkeley, easily one of the best - not to mention one of the most interesting - bakeries in the SF bay area. It is a collective, so all the workers are part owners of the bakery and basically seem like one big family. The Cheeseboard sells everything from baguettes to sticky buns depending on what day of the week and time of day it is, but everything they sell is excellent. This scone, although fairly simple, is one of their best sellers. It was their "original" scone and on a busy Saturday, the tiny shop can sell through over 500 of them.
The scones are moist, flavorful and tender, with a nice, but slight, crispness to the outside. Dried currants are more easily found at natural foods and gourmet stores, but if you cannot find them at all, use small, dark raisins.

Oh, and Happy New Year, everyone!

Currant Scones
(from The Cheese Board: Collective Works)
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup butter, chilled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup dried currants
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup buttermilk

coarse sugar, for topping

Preheat oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar together in a large bowl.
Add in butter, toss to coat, and rub in with your fingers (or a pastry cutter, if you prefer) until only pea-sized chunks remain.
Stir in currants, then add the cream and buttermilk, mixing only until the ingredients just come together into a ball. It is ok if there is a little flour left at the bottom of the bowl.
Divide dough into 12 balls (about 2-in in diameter, although the cheeseboard's seem to be larger in the shop) and dip the top of each in coarse sugar before placing on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack.
Makes 12.