Friday, January 27, 2012

Daring to do it: Scones (a.k.a. biscuits)

Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!

When I first saw this challenge I was kind of disapointed. Biscuits? Really? I have made baking powder biscuits before, and I enjoy them, but as a challenge? After reading through Audax's vast research and information, though, I was excited. He really showed the science and art of something so simple, and I wanted to see where I could go with it. I decided to use his techniques to see if they really would produce lighter, fluffier biscuits.
First was to tripple sift the dry ingredients. Not owning a flour sifter, I used my fine mesh strainer. Using half whole wheat flour, I was left with some of the wheat bran (I think that's what that is...!) in the sifter. I just dumped that back in, since the sifting was to lighten the flour, not to remove anything.
Then the fat was added. I don't use butter, keeping things dairy free. I use vegetable shortening. Aud recommended freezing and grating the shortening, so I did.
Then the liquid was added and the dough was worked together. I used soy milk for my liquid. Again, keeping things dairy free...
Once the dough came together I rolled/patted it out to the aproximate size I wanted. I do not have a biscuit cutter. Nor do I have a plain round cookie cutter. So I used my sharp knife and carefully cut squares. Into a very hot oven to bake, and ten minutes later I was rewarded with this:
Light, fluffy, yummy biscuits. But not as high as I had hoped. I was pretty sure, though, that I knew what changes to make in order to improve both my technique and my end results. So I made another batch:
Better! Vanilla scones this time, using vanilla soy milk and adding in sugar. Was I done there? Nope...!
Batch number three:
With dried cranberries. Yummy!!!
Batch number four:With fresh blueberries. I wanted to eat this whole batch for breakfast.
Batch number five:
hCheesy goodness. Shredded cheese and spiced added tot he dough. So good.
And batch number six:
Chocolate chocolate chip. So good. so very good...
So, for a challenge I wasn't sure was a challenge, there came six variations. And that's only what was made this month! The recipe Audax gave us is so easy and accessible, it is something that can be made at any time. And it is (as you might have noticed) so versitile!
Thank you, Audax, for giving us this fun challenge! It was great to play in the kitchen with you and all of our fellow, amazing Daring Bakers. Do yourself a favor and get inspired by looking at what they all came up with!!


  1. What a lovely posting you did on this recipe. Yes I was so surprise when I chose "scones" as the challenge, it was only doing a few batches and trying out different methods that I fell in love with them, and I thought if I wrote up the various techniques in great detail it would encourage the daring bakers to make several version during the month. You final six batches speaks volumes about how much you liked this challenge. Yes I really like the blueberry version also. Bravo to you a lovely posting for the host of the challenge to read. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  2. Wow! Way to own this challenge. Great work with all of the variations.

  3. Six versions!!! I'm more than impressed - and they look so good. Well done!

  4. I'm impressed, Ruth! Isn't that an addicting recipe? So much fun! Love all your variations, rewarding results indeed! I didn't go as far as you did with 6 versions, but boy, how I wanted to. I made 3 versions so far, but for technical reasons I posted only the first one. Will be posting separately later.

  5. Great job on the challenge Ruth, those blueberry ones look so tempting!
    I agree with Renata, it is an addictive

  6. Wow, six variations! That was what was so wonderful about this challenge. Being cheap and basic we could try out variations we may never have made before! I love your blueberry ones!

  7. What a great selection of scones, you've inspired me to try using cranberries in scones :)

  8. You really went to town with these biscuits, Ruth! They all look fantastic, but the vanilla soy milk biscuits are the ones I keep going back to. I'm definitely going to try that - along with vanilla bean (I'm pretty much a raving vanilla gal lol). Awesome job on the challenge as always!

  9. Wow, the cheesy scones and the blueberry ones look delicious! Great job!

  10. Wow! This is what I call a Daring Baker! Thank you for sharing your lovely collection of scone recipes with us.