Tammy Algood | Special to The Tennessean
Every Jan. 1, my husband and I start the new year off right by indulging in a leisurely continental breakfast. After a season spent overindulging, it seems to be the perfect way to wind down the holiday celebrations and begin a calendar change.
For years, it was croissants or some sort of pastry. But for some reason around a decade ago, we switched to scones and now it’s our tradition. It feels special, it is easy for us to make together that morning, and it matches perfectly with either a smear of butter or any number of homemade jams that are in our refrigerator.
This quick bread was named after the Stone of Destiny, which is where Scottish kings were once crowned. It utilized oats as the basis and was baked on a griddle before being cut into triangle shapes. Traditionally, scones are served at tea time but I have found that I can have a batch baking in the oven even faster than homemade biscuits.
Unlike biscuits, there is no rolling the dough. Instead, it is what cooks refer to as shaggy and rough look. This is because the dough is patted out into a circle before being cut into wedges and baked. How easy is that?
The mistake most make is that you have to treat the fat (butter) the same as you would when making pie crust. That means it needs to be well chilled. I take it a step further and put the stick in the freezer. Then it is a cinch to shred with a box grater.
This keeps mixing practically instant and it is transferred to a lightly floured surface to knead no more than five times. All you want it to do is hold together. After 12 minutes of baking, you’ve got a breakfast treat that feels fancy but is truly a quick and delicious bread.
You asked for it
Christy Jarvis of Memphis is just starting to bake bread and has had trouble with rising. “My kitchen is very small, so keeping it away from a draft is difficult. Please help!” she writes.
I have found that the oven is an ideal place for dough to rise. Place the dough on the middle or upper rack, then make sure you place a pan of hot water on the bottom rack. You can inspect rising with the oven light and not have to open the door until it is ready.
Tammy Algood is the author of five cookbooks and can be seen on “Volunteer Gardener” on PBS stations in Tennessee. Follow her at www.hauteflavor.com