One of my professors held our final meeting over brunch in his lovely apartment. A couple of my classmates from that class were in classes with me last year when I was less busy and so baked for my classmates. It seemed polite to bring something and my classmates strongly encouraged me to do so!
I decided to make scones because they seemed brunch-y. I figured cranberry was Christmas-y. Then it was just a matter of picking flavors to go with the cranberry. I decided on white chocolate (because it’s lovely with cranberry), but it still needed something to pull everything together. In the end, I tossed in some chopped pecans—a stroke of brilliance, if I do say so myself.
I used the simple cream scone recipe from the FCI cookbook, but I added a smidge extra sugar since the dried cranberries were on the tart side. You could use any basic scone dough, although I find that one with some extra fat (like this recipe, which includes tons of butter and cream, plus some egg yoke) tends to work best with chunky additions like these.
To finish them off—and this works for any—scone recipe, I brushed them with heavy cream and topped them with a generous helping of granulated sugar (I use superfine when I’ve got it, but not this time). You can see how it forms a lovely, crystallized sort of crust. I’ve glazed scones from time to time, but I prefer either a simple egg wash or a sugar crust on top. (Not that I’d turn down a glazed scone, mind you.)
Triangular scones are not actually my favorite to make. They are harder to bake evenly and acute corners always end up a little dryer than the rest of the scone. It’s not a big deal, but it annoys me. That said, they are by far the easiest to bake for a crowd. Round scones, a la traditional high tea, are difficult because you must reform the scraps and the dough easily becomes overworked. Not a problem if I’m just cooking for myself, but when I’m baking specifically for others I try to avoid it. Square scones would be the logical solution—no acute angles and no scraps. But it’s hard to make them look right when you are making them on the small side. I don’t know what it is, but they always seem to look sort of small and blah in comparison to triangular or round scones. Plus I was terribly busy and I knew I wouldn’t have the patience to make perfect squares and then they just look wonky. Something about the triangles looks just fine, even if they are scalene.
The scones were a hit. My professor and his wife both enjoyed them, as did my classmates. One of them (who has sampled my baking before) even “stole” a second one for the road!
I had enough left over that I was able to have some fun photographing them. So on a break from writing the paper for that class, I got out my camera (which has been sadly idle this semester) and tripod and had a little photo shoot. I’m quite happy with how the photos came out. One of my friends even said that a couple of these photos looked as good as the cover of the Alice’s Tea Cup cookbook! High praise indeed!