So starts my new project, learning how to bake…and as my new baking cookbook was still in the mail, I turned to the internet for a recipe to kick things off. I found this wonderful recipe on one of my favorite cooking blogs and thought, “I’ll make those! They look easy enough”. Famous last words…
Before we get to the recipe, I should share some pertinent facts about myself and my situation. I live in Albuquerque, NM which is considered a “high altitude” baking environment…this doesn’t mean much to me though, because I have NEVER baked at any other altitude that I have lived (e.g. sea level on the east coast, in the midwest), so I have no basis for comparison. I have very basic kitchen equipment, that means a cheap mixer I bought off of Craigslist (red Farberware), a food processor that is on loan (pink Ninja), and an aging assortment of pots, pans, bowls, and utensils that don’t match. I also have no past baking experience (seriously I made my first cake six months ago!), due to a combination of disinterest , fear, and growing up in a home where my mom made holiday treats that were simple and required limited baking. Thus I begin my “currently (temporarily) unemployed and so will learn to bake project”.
The recipe is for pumpkin scones with a ginger glaze and can be found at the following address: http://www.melskitchencafe.com/2011/12/pumpkin-scones-with-ginger-glaze.html
I followed the recipe fairly faithfully with a few exceptions:
I added 3 EXTRA tablespoons of buttermilk to the dough to make it stick together
I added an extra splash of milk to the glaze in order to make it a liquid glaze
A few notes, I had a hard time cutting the butter in, and although the recipe clearly describes the desired outcome, I kept second guessing whether I had achieved “coarse crumbles”. I added the extra buttermilk because I could not get the dough to come together, but in retrospect, I am not sure what “come together” really means. For the glaze, I had to add the extra milk because at the recommended amounts my milk/ powdered sugar/ vanilla combination was more cement and less glaze. I also had to bake them for 21 minutes rather than the recommended 18-20, possibly due to the altitude? I also doubled the recipe to get 16 scones for samples and feedback. Other than these few things, they looked wonderful, smelled great, and I deemed them worthy of sending to work with my guy the next day and taking to rounds at the hospital. Although I didn’t taste them…
Here is where things get contentious, as I solicited feedback from my guy and his coworkers I was told that they were “very, very sweet…you’ve made me diabetic”, that “the glaze is fine, but the dough is more bread-like than scones”, and that I should “think like the southern girl I am, and aim for biscuit-like consistency”. At rounds my colleagues expressed confusion over the sweetness comment, explaining that the sweetness was “just right” and describing the scones as “very moist”.
So what do I take from this first round of scones…I really messed up the dough, and rather than scones I actually made scone-shaped muffins. Don’t get me wrong, they tasted great, when I finally ate one, but the texture and consistency did not resemble a scone. Why do I think this happened? I am guessing that the extra buttermilk I added was the problem…I really need to figure out how to judge when dough is coming together.
In close, even if this wasn’t an entirely successful attempt at scones, I learned about cutting butter and the dangers of too much buttermilk. On to the next one…
p.s. I got my new baking cookbook in the mail today, so in the future I will be quoting Martha Stewart and working my way through her “Baking Handbook”.