Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tea Time: Treacle Scones

My favorite scone for fall tea times is the Treacle Scone. I love them.  I first tasted this scone on a chilly, wind-whipped day in Scotland, and ever since have found it to be a spicy comfort accompanied by a hot cup of tea.

With a pinch or two of ground ginger and some pumpkin pie spice, along with just a touch of molasses (otherwise known as treacle in the UK), these scones give you the faintest hint of gingerbread. Serve them straight from the oven with some butter, or, even better, whipped cream. A steaming pot of chai tea would be an ideal accompaniment, but any tea will do.

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TREACLE SCONES

3 cups flour
1/4 c. sugar (1/2 cup if you like sweet scones)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or British mixed spice)
6 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. molasses
3/4 c. buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 400F. Mix dry ingredients together. (I use a whisk to give a sifting action to the dry ingredients and incorporate air.) Rub in the butter with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix the molasses and the buttermilk in a separate bowl and then add to the flour mixture.

(Note: if you don't have buttermilk, you can make some by adding 1 tsp. lemon juice or vinegar to your milk. This milk may be thinner than buttermilk, so don't add all the milk at once -- just add as much milk as you need to make a dough.)

Mix the dough together and knead until it is smooth. Don't over mix. Pat the dough out to 1/2-3/4-inch tall. Cut with a round biscuit cutter. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Makes about 12.