This is easier than it seems. I was going through my cookbooks the other day and I came across one that I have not looked at for a long time: Grandmother's Best Cookbook, published by Paragon Books' LOVE FOOD division. It is not only replete with recipes that represent the American heartland, but it is beautifully and unusually photographed.
The pictures actually look like food you made in your own kitchen, rather than perfectly-groomed items that food photographers have labored over, propped up, sprayed and embellished. The publishers of Grandmother's Best have been wise in their presentation.
One recipe that appears early on under Tried and True Favorites is Scones. If you read the King Arthur Flour Company's catalog, you could get intimidated about scones--it seems that there must be quite a mystique about them. However, they are really pretty simple--something between an American-type biscuit and a cookie. They are the Little Black Dress of breakfast sides or tea trays, and you can dress them up or down.
But first you have to get comfortable making them. So go with Grandma and acquire some confidence in the wide world of scones with this recipe.
GRANDMA'S BEST SCONES
From Grandmother's Best Cookbook
3-2/3 cups all-purpose or Spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 Tablespoons superfine granulated sugar
1/2 stick cold butter, sliced
1-1/4 cups milk
In a food processor, place the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. Pulse it briefly to combine.
Pour 1/4 cup of the milk into the food processor and add the butter slices. Pulse briefly again to create a mixture that looks chunky, like pie crust at this same stage.
Stop the processor and add the rest of the milk, reserving three Tablespoons for brushing later. Process it into a soft dough.
Turn out the dough to a clean work surface and pat it into a round, and then flatten it gently down to 1/2 inch thick. Cover it for 20 minutes to half an hour to let the dough rest.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
Cut the scones into rounds or squares with a cookie cutter about 2-1/2 inches across. Place each scone on a baking sheet.
Brush the tops of the scones with the reserved milk and bake them for 10-12 minutes until golden brown around the edges. Remove the baking sheet to the top of the stove and let the scones cool for 15 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to come to room temperature. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Later you can experiment with folding raisins or other ingredients into the scones; the internet can give you hundreds of ideas if the basic scone appeals to you. Meanwhile, they are served traditionally with butter or cream cheese, and fruit preserves.