You can watch me make these squash scones with my son, Charlie, on my new show Zoë Bakes on Magnolia Network!Read More
I fell mad in love with Ireland and have had the good fortune to visit a couple of times. My first stop after the long flight was to a farm, where I had my first Irish scone with marmalade. The love affair with the country and its scones was set in that moment. Like biscuits or pie dough here in America, there seems to be a scone recipe for every household in Ireland. The one constant is the quality of the butter and dairy used to make them. This is such a simple recipe and the butter makes all the difference, so go with a good one. I used Kerrygold, because I met the farmers and cows while in Ireland and know its incredible. You can use any “European” style butter, because it has a higher fat content than most American brands. The other thing I associate with Irish scones is the shape, round. I like a tall scone, so I press the dough into a thick mass before cutting out the shape. The bigger the scone, the more surface there is to spread it with marmalade. Every table in Ireland served scones with a jar of marmalade, which pretty much satisfies all my needs. I LOVE marmalade! It is the perfect balance of sweet and bitter. It is bright in color and flavor and goes with scones or ice cream or just a spoon. I made this kumquat “marmalade” by just cooking down fresh kumquats with sugar, that’s it. No pectin to deal with just gentle cooking. Because I am not thickening the juices, this is a bit runnier than a traditional marmalade. Works brilliantly for me.
I rarely bake scones, since my son was deemed the scone expert in the family. But, I had a craving and he was busy being a teenager, so I set off to make these caramelized white chocolate and peach scones myself. He came home and told me I did a nice job, so that is really all the endorsement you should require to know these are worthy. 😉 The peaches sitting on my counter were ripe, but not busting open with juice, so they were just right for adding to the scone. You want them to have flavor and be ripe, but still have some body, so they don’t turn to mush when you mix them into the dough. Typically I’m not a huge white chocolate fan, but I’ve been on a white chocolate caramelizing kick and thought it would be a lovely match for the peaches. Caramelizing white chocolate give it a bit of a nutty edge that it otherwise lacks and makes it way more flavorful and interesting. Caramelizing the white chocolate is something that requires a touch of patience, so I recommend doing it with a glass of rose wine (not so much that you forget to stir the chocolate) and settle into the kitchen for a bit.
Last week my husband got a craving for scones. Instead of turning to me, or making them himself, he asked our 12-year-old son to bake them. He challenged Charlie to have hot scones ready by the time he left for work the next morning. 7:30 a.m. is an hour my boys rarely see, because they are deep in REM sleep. Agreeing to this request was based on one thing, and one thing alone: money.
My sons get an allowance, but it isn’t always enough to satisfy all the activities and toys they want, so the thought of a few extra bucks in his pocket was enough to get him out of bed. And, he loves to bake, so it wasn’t much of a hardship.
The night before, he picked a recipe from Baking with Julia, set up his mise en place (a fancy way to say ingredients and equipment), then set his alarm for 5:30 a.m. He woke me up at 6 a.m., so I could sit in the kitchen, bleary eyed, with my coffee and answer any questions he had.
It was quite something to watch him navigate the recipe. He didn’t know what a pastry blender was or what cornmeal looked like, so the instructions of “cutting the butter into the flour with a pastry blender until is resembles cornmeal” meant nothing to him. I showed him a jar of cornmeal, handed him the pastry tool and off he went.
Scones are really quite easy to make, but it does require a gentle touch, so they don’t come out too tough. He did it perfectly.
My husband is a big fan of raisins, so Charlie folded them in during the last steps and added a bit of zest to the dough as well. He made an entire batch, which was way more than my husband could eat, so Charlie got the idea of texting our family members, who live nearby, to tell them he had hot scones coming out of the oven and he was selling them.
The price is fair, the product is amazing, the baker is adorable and he sold out for the day. By the time the scones were cooling on the racks and his customers were showing up at the back door, he had crawled into my bed and fallen back to sleep. I was left to run the store, which was just fine with me.
The scones were such a success that he’s now taking pre-orders for all kinds of baked goods and has a schedule of when he has to deliver the goods. It’s the best summer job I can think of and he’s going to be a skilled baker by the time he hits 8th grade. Could I be any prouder of him? Nope! Not possible. He’s my fabulous baker boy. Read More