Friday, February 28, 2014
Cookies & Cream Scones
We were hit with a huge rainstorm last-night/this morning. It got so bad that I barely made it down our steep dirt road to get the older kids to school this morning; only to pick them up an hour later because I was worried if I waited until after-school the road would be so washed out there would be no way to pick them up, or make it back home. So, needless to say, we are home bound until the weather clears up and we can fix the road. I say "we" because it's a private road so we don't have the luxury of having the city or county maintenance people come out and fix it for us, like those people who don't live on the top of a hill in the middle of the country. :)
Well, we are making the best of things. And, for me, one of the best things to do on a rainy and stormy day is to make scones. If you follow my blog, then you already know this about me (as evidenced by my multiple scone posts: Strawberry Scones with a Vanilla Glaze; Maple Oat Scones with a Maple Glaze; Blueberry Chocolate Chip Scones with an Almond Drizzle; Sweet Potato Pecan Scones with a Maple Glaze). Why do I love scones so much? Because they are the perfect compliment to a warm drink on a cold and cloudy day. They bring comfort to me just as much as a blanket and a good book. So, it was pretty much a given that I was going to make scones today. The question was, what kind?
I have a lot of Oreo cookies that I bought because they were on sale, so I decided to create a new flavor that never seems to go wrong: Cookies & Cream. There's just something about adding chocolate sandwich cookies to things that make them so interesting and appealing. Think of Cookies & Cream Ice-cream, or my Chewy Cookies and Cream Cookies. So, why not put them into scones? Well, I did and the scones are delightful! Crisp and light on the outside, soft and flaky on the inside with just a little sweetness. I cut back the amount of sugar from my usual scone recipe and they turned out perfectly. These scones really are something special.
Here's how I made them:
I put a bunch of chocolate sandwich cookies into a zip-top bag, and sealed it up.
Then I crushed them with my rolling pin. I didn't want to pulverize them, but I wanted the pieces to be small enough that I could get a little in each bite. I set my crushed cookies aside and started on the base for my scones.
3 cups flour, 1/2 cup of sugar and 5 tsp baking powder went into a mixing bowl:
I "whisked" them together using my pastry cutter. (I have to use this later anyway, why dirty as whisk too?)
Then I added 2 sticks of COLD butter, cut into small cubes.
I cut the butter cubes into the flour until most of the butter pieces were the size of peas.
It's ok to have some bigger pieces and some smaller pieces. It's actually to be expected. The butter is what makes the scones flaky, so don't cut them down too much.
The next thing to go in are the cookie pieces. I added 1 1/2 cups. I'm guessing it's about 15 or 16 cookies (I crushed 20 cookies, but didn't need all the pieces). Just mix the cookie pieces into the flour mixture thoroughly.
Then I added 3/4 cups cream (they are cookies and cream scones after all),
and 1 beaten extra large egg (that is the size that was on sale, so that is what I bought at the store this week. If you use a large egg you will want to add a splash more cream to compensate).
I mixed everything together lightly with a fork (because that is the way my dad taught me, and so I always mix my scones with a fork).
When the mixture is all wet and starting to clump together, like this
then they are ready to turn out onto a clean work surface. If you are unsure that the seemingly dry batter will stick together, take a handful and squeeze. If it sticks together like this, then it's ready.
Just dump everything onto a clean work surface. I know it doesn't look like much right now, but it will.
(Remember to take off your rings first. I actually did today - that's highly unusual for me. I usually forget and my rings get all gooped up.) Just press the dough down . . .
and fold it over onto itself. It will be a big mess initially, but it will come together after just a few folds,
Just keep pressing . . .
and folding. These folds are helping to make the buttery layers in the scones, and also make the dough form a solid mass that you can cut. (This was my last fold. See how the dough is one solid mass now?)
When the dough comes together, press it out into a square. (Flour the work surface under the dough to make sure that it doesn't stick while you're cutting.)
Using a pizza cutter (which I think is the easiest knife to use for this), cut the square into thirds. (You can actually cut the scones into any shape you like. This is just what I did.)
Then cut the dough into thirds again the opposite way, creating 9 squares.
Finally, cut each square in half diagonally, creating 18 triangles. The main idea is to get all the scones the same size so that they cook at the same time. So, any shape you choose to make your scones, just make them similar in size. To me, a triangle will always be the perfect shape for a scone.
Place the cut scones onto a parchment lined baking sheet, at least 1 inch apart. They grow when they are cooking so spacing them 2 inches apart would be even better. You don't want them touching. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes so the butter can firm up again. (It warmed up when you were kneading it with your hands.) The colder the butter, the flakier the scones.
I always brush the tops of my scones with something to help them brown. Today I used cream, but I have used both egg wash and melted butter (separately) with success.If you so choose, at this point you can sprinkle the tops with some sugar for a crunchier topping but it is not mandatory.
See how the butter pieces are interwoven into the scone with the cookie pieces? This will ensure nice light and flaky scones.
Bake @ 350F for 15-20 minutes (depending on your oven and the size/shape you made your scones). They should be golden brown on the bottom and around the edges. Aren't they pretty?
When they have cooled for about 10 minutes you can make your glaze/drizzle. Of course, you can forgo the glaze if you want, but it makes them so much more attractive and lends stripes of vanilla sweetness to the outside of the scones.
Just mix together 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract and 2 tsp milk with a fork. Then drizzle it over each scone.
I usually do this on parchment paper, so that I don't make a mess with the extra glaze that inevitable falls from the fork and drips off the warm scones.
Now they are finished.
They are so visually interesting, with the pops of black cookie mixed in.
The tender insides leave nothing to be desired either. Mmm. So good! (This is probably my favorite picture of all of them.)
So, if you find yourself in need of comfort, or wanting to find a new way to use those cookies in your cupboard, then I highly recommend these scones. I'm so glad I did! Llet me know what you think. :)
Here's the recipe:
Cookies & Cream Scones
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar (plus more for topping if desired)
5 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups Oreo cookie pieces (about 16 cookies, crushed)
2 sticks cold butter, cut into small cubes
3/4 cups cold cream (plus more for brushing on top)
1 extra large egg, beaten (if using a large egg, just add about 1 Tbsp more cream to compensate)
In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter (or two knives) until the butter pieces are the size of peas. Stir in the cookie pieces. Add the cream and egg. Stir lightly with a fork until all the flour mixture is wet and the dough starts to clump together. Dump out onto a clean work surface and knead until the dough comes together. Lightly flour the surface under the dough and then press the dough into a square about 1 inch thick. Cut the dough into desired shapes (I made 18 triangles), and place onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Brush the top of each scone with a little cream and sprinkle with a little sugar (optional). Bake @ 350F for 15-20 minutes (depending on your oven and the size/shape of your scones) until the scones are golden brown around the edges and on the bottom. Let cool 10 minutes before glazing/drizzling.
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp milk
Combine all ingredients with a fork and drizzle over cooled scones. (The warmer the scones, the thinner the glaze will turn out.) Let set before eating.