Scones For Royalty

From the Royal Palace in Laos to Buckingham Palace in London, what do you serve or eat in the presence of royalty–past or present? The answer to that is easy, scones. Light, buttery, savory or sweet, nothing is better when passing a palace on foot or watching a royal wedding on TV.

My recent love affair with scones began at JoMa Bakery in Laos where I tried their delicious and delicate cheddar scallion scones; they were so good I had to go back a few days later to have another one. Indeed they were so good they were the first thing I baked or cooked myself upon returning home! I have tried a few other recipes inspired by my travels since returning home, but none that turned out as good as these scones, and none that heralded a repeat baking.

I tried to recreate these small Thai rice cake cookies; they were not too sweet combined with sesame seeds and a single cashew on top. While in Thailand I even asked how to make them, and while I should have known at the explanation that there might be some room for recipe change in America it didn’t hit me until I was home how much I would have to create these from memory. The recipe started in Thailand with “…Separate the rice from the husk, then dry the rice in the sun, before puffing the rice…” My response was to ask if I could buy “Rice Crispies”. Well let’s just say I am not going to share that recipe here and if anyone does know how these delicious morsels are made I would love any recommendations.

Second I tried to make in honor of Cambodian New Year, the popular dish Amok. I had Amok of every variety on my travels – chicken, shrimp, and tofu and loved each one more than the last. I loved it so much I purchased the spice mix to bring home with me. Amok is a relative of a mild curry, flavored with lemon grass, turmeric, kaffir lime leaf; simmered with coconut milk it is one of the most comforting dishes I could imagine. But again my reinterpretation with American ingredients only hinted at the magnificence of eating a bowl of this vivid yellow delight while under a thatch roof overlooking a white sandy beach.

However, when it came to the scones I found myself closing my eyes and breathing in deeply and feeling the way I did outside the Royal Palace in Luang Prabang. When we tasted them the first night I made them I knew there had to be a repeat baking for the Royal Wedding. Despite the early hour in California, the wedding itself was at 3AM, I baked and we watched the festivities while toasting to tea and savoring delightful baked goods.

So whether it is to entertain royalty or to offer to friends, these scones are not to be passed up or missed. We tried both a savory and sweet rendition on the wedding morning and we baked them in smaller sizes. Enjoy the baking, but I guarantee you will enjoy the eating more.

Happy Tea Time,

Her Regal ness Ramona

Scones Fit For A Royal, In The Savory And Sweet Rendition

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

8 Tablespoons (1 stick or 4 ounces) cold butter, diced

2/3 cup half and half

3 eggs, divided

For Cranberry Walnut Scones:

¼ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup walnuts finely diced

1 Tablespoon turbinado sugar

For Cheddar Scallion Scones:

1/3 cup Cheddar cheese, diced

3 scallions thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place filling (cheddar cheese/scallion, or cranberries/walnut depending on sweet or savory scone) in a small bowl and coat them with one tablespoon of the flour and set aside. Combine the remaining flour with the baking powder and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender, fork or two knives, until it forms pea-sized morsels.

Lightly whip two of the eggs and half and half and add to the flour-butter mixture. Using a wooden spoon, fold mixture until it begins to come together. Add the filling mixture to the dough and mix until everything is incorporated.

I have trouble rolling out scone dough so I prefer to do the simple spoon drop method, of taking a spoonful of the batter and placing it on a prepared baking sheet. Make an egg wash by beating the remaining egg with a teaspoon of water. Brush the scones with egg wash and for sweet (cranberry/walnut scones) I sprinkled with a little turbinado sugar. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Scones are always best when fresh from the oven. Recipe yields 8 large or 24 small scones.

Photo 3 By Beth

Photo 5 and Photo 7 By Anne


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05 2011

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