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Baking scones a part of holiday tradition

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It is just two more days to Christmas. People are busy buying last minute gifts or looking for recipes for the big Christmas dinner. The holidays are also the time of the year for baking cookies, cakes, breads and sharing your family’s favorite recipes. My family has many recipes for cookies but recently I came across a recipe for baking Christmas scones. Scones are single serve cakes or breads that are slightly sweetened. Scones are very popular in the United Kingdom and are a basic component of the Devonshire tea http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scone. Here is the US scones are available in specialty tea shops and bakeries.
Christmas scones generally use the same ingredients as oatmeal cookies like oatmeal, cranberries, flour, nuts like pecans etc. The recipe I am sharing is modified from the original recipe from King Arthur’s flour (The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. III, No. 2, December 1991 issue). You can get the original recipe at http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/christmas-scones-recipe

Christmas scones
2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats or quick-cooking (not instant) oats
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
½ cup brown sugar, packed
1 stick butter
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup diced pecans
¾ cup buttermilk or plain (not Greek-style) yogurt
coarse sparkling sugar for topping, optional

Method
Preheat your oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line with parchment.
Mix the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix the butter into the dry ingredients until it looks unevenly crumbly. Mix in the fruit and nuts until they're evenly distributed. Stir in the buttermilk.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and cut it into two pieces. (Keep sprinkling on flour if you need to.) Form each into a disk, and gently pat each disk into a round about 6" in diameter. Sprinkle each disk with coarse sparkling sugar, if desired. With a bench scraper or sharp knife, cut the round into 8 wedges. Do this by cutting straight down through the dough so you shear the edges. If you saw the dough, you tend to press the edges together, which keeps the scones from rising as they bake. Don't separate the wedges.

Transfer the scones, still in their circular shape to the prepared baking sheet. Separate the scones slightly; there should be about 1" between them at the outside edge. Bake the scones for 20 minutes, or until they're just beginning to brown. Remove them from the oven, and serve warm. Or reheat for 10 minutes, lightly tented with foil, in a preheated 350°F oven. Serve with traditional clotted cream or Devon cream, if desired.

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