Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Cinnamon and Date Buttermilk Scones


It was on a day out with my children at a lakeside café that I came across these scones. It is a strange thing when something as harmonious as dates and cinnamon are combined, it takes you by surprise...now why didn't I think of that - it's so obvious! 


I am not the biggest fan of traditional fruit scones - well actually - let me be completely honest here when I tell you that I am not a fan of raisins, specifically. I tolerate them only, hence the reason they don't feature heavily on this blog - this is the chance you are taking readers when you read this blog of mine - a bias towards the food stuffs I really like. I think that it is very obvious to regular readers that I am addicted to chocolate for example (albeit good quality chocolate) it features a staggering 52 times on blog so far! 

So when an alternative to the beloved (not by me of course!) fruit scone popped up in front of me, I was at the very least smitten. I was at once scheming how to ask for the recipe, but upon reflection I decided that perhaps I could fashion an attempt out of a tried and tested scone recipe I already had. This is the finished result!    

Makes 10

Ingredients
100g chopped pitted dates
Boiling water
250g Plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1tsp Bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp Cream of tartar
2 tsp Light brown sugar
1 ½ tsp Ground cinnamon
40g Margarine block, chilled
150ml Buttermilk
1 Egg, beaten, for an egg-wash (optional)

Method
Preheat the oven to 220ºC/450ºF/Gas Mark 7. Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment. Place the baking tray into the oven to heat up while you prepare the dough.


Begin by roughly chopping the pitted dates, place them into a small bowl and cover with boiling water. They will be plump and juicy after their steaming bath!


Meanwhile place the remaining dry ingredients into a large bowl, add the margarine.

 

Rub the fat into the flour mixture using the tips of your fingers (my permanently cold hands are made for jobs like this!!) until the whole mixture resembles wet sand. 


Drain the dates and toss them into the mixture, coating the dates in the flour mix will prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the scones (good tip when baking with any dried fruit).


Add the buttermilk and gently stir the batter together with a butter knife (or an round top knife) until the dough just comes together.


Using your hands, form the dough into a ball and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently pat the dough into a oblong shape about 2½ cm deep.


Using a well floured (7cm in diameter) cutter, cut out the scones and place them onto the preheated baking tray. Dip the cutter into flour after each scone, I find that the scones puff up much better once the cutter is well floured.


Brush the scones with either milk or a beaten egg. Bake in the preheated oven for 12 -14 minutes or until risen and golden (every oven is different).  


Cool the scones on a wire rack and store in an airtight container for up to 2 days. I love my scones warm from the oven slathered with proper butter and a cup of  freshly ground coffee....heaven!




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