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VOL. 36 | NO. 10 | Friday, March 9, 2012

Orange-cranberry scones good any time

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Every Sunday evening, before our small group Bible study, we eat. Of course we do; we’re Baptists! That’s one of the things we are known to do.

We are smart though. We know that God would not want our stomachs growling and our minds wandering on about food when we are supposed to be concentrating on Him, so we take care of the problem before we even start.

Usually, each family brings a dish of whatever they want, and we just eat what is there. That seems to always work out nicely.

One lady in the group sells Tastefully Simple food products, and she made a few of the food items she sells for her dish. I had never heard of this line of products before. However, I can say I am quite familiar with them now! I fell in love with this line of food. It is so good and, as the name says, simple.

One of the items I ordered is the orange-cranberry scones. I was waiting until I had a special reason to prepare these for breakfast (like when some of the children come to visit), but I got hungry this morning and was unable to get out so I broke down and made them. I am so glad I did. These were delicious! And I don’t have to worry about throwing any of them away because I can’t eat all of them. I have already eaten half the pan. Think I will have them for lunch and dinner, too.

Anyway, I looked into the history of scones. Isn’t it funny how such little insignificant things can get my curiosity going?

I found that the pronunciation of the word varies over in the United Kingdom. Of course. They say everything funny. (Just kidding!) According to one academic study – so I’m not the only one who wonders about insignificant matters) – two-thirds of the British population pronounce it so it rhymes with “con” and “John,” with the preference rising to 99 percent in the Scottish population. This is also the pronunciation of both Australians and Canadians. Other regions, this side of the pond, pronounce the word to rhyme with “cone” and “Joan.” I prefer the latter pronunciation. My tongue doesn’t have to work as hard to say it.

The Oxford English Dictionary reports that the first mention of the word was in 1513, and though no one knows the origin, there are many suggestions floating around. The word scone might derive from the Middle Dutch schoonbrood, which means fine white bread. Schoon (pure, clean) and brood (bread).

It also could derive from the Gaelic term “sgonn,” meaning a shapeless mass or large mouthful. Then there is the Middle Low German term “schönbrot,” meaning fine bread.

Since we do not know where the word originated, I will move on to matters we do know. The original Scotland scone was round and flat, usually the size of a medium size plate. It was made with unleavened oats and baked on a griddle, then cut into triangle-like quadrants, or scones, for serving. Doesn’t sound too tasty to me.

Round British scones resemble North American biscuits, but scones rely on cold butter for their delicate, flaky texture, while biscuits are more often made with animal fat or vegetable shortening resulting more crumbly than flaky.

This should be enough information about scones to put you over the top if you ever find yourself in a deep conversation about the bread. Who knows, someday you could be on Jeopardy and asked a question about scones. Think of me, and send me some of the winnings!

While you are waiting on the show to call you, try a delicious cranberry orange scone for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They are really tasty and fun to make.

Orange-Cranberry Buttermilk Scones

SCONES:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup butter (no substitutes)

3/4 cup dried Cranberries

3/4 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

CRANBERRY-ORANGE BUTTER:

1 1/2 cups butter (no substitutes), softened

1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel

In a mixing bowl, cream butter. Stir in cranberries, confectioners sugar and orange peel; mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour. Meanwhile, combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add cranberries. Stir in buttermilk until moistened. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; gently knead about five times. Divide dough in half. On greased baking sheet, pat each into a circle about one inch high. Sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until lightly browned around edge. Allow to cool slightly before cutting into wedges. Serve warm with cranberry-orange butter.

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