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Simple Scones Serve As Blank Canvas For Tasty Experiments

scones in a pan

I often write recipes to myself as just a list of ingredients. (Ask any of my former employees and they will surely roll their eyes about it!)

However, in baking, I like to make sure I have measurements for the ingredients as I am not a good enough baker (yet) to guess on the amounts of leaveners, cooking time, etc.

A few words of wisdom from my years of baking in professional kitchens as well as in my own:

  • Make sure your baking powder and baking soda are no more than one year old. Everything in your kitchen runs out of life eventually -- even dried beans can become inedible after a few years. If you are in doubt, just get new ones. It's not that much of an investment to ensure successful baking!
  • Use unsalted butter. Always. Salt is a preservative, meaning salted butter is more likely to be a lot older. Plus, you want to be able to control the salt content in your cooking.
  • Don't get overwrought about "room temperature butter." Just let it sit out for 10 minutes, that's it. It just has to be slightly pliable.
  • Don't overwork your dough. Unless you are making bread or pasta, you don't need to knead a dough. Stir it until it is wet and all the ingredients seem evenly distributed.
  • Last but certainly not least, don't get stressed out! Food is a reflection of your mood. If you are stressed about making something, it will most likely turn out tough or undercooked because you nervously opened the oven too much, skipped a step, whatever. Relax and enjoy the feel/smell/taste of it all!

Making scones is basically just like making biscuits – mix dry ingredients, cut in butter, and add liquid and other additions (i.e. nuts, berries, or cheese).

From here, you can get creative with your add-ins -- Cheddar and Cashew; Sunflower Seed, Dried Cherry and Mexican Chocolate; Flax Seed, Pecan and Dried Cranberry.

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