Cardamom Raisin Scones
The fragrance and mild spiciness of cardamom lends an exotic touch to these scones. The raisins anchor them as a classic tea time treat.
Towards the end of 2018 I told myself that 2019 would be the year to conquer new frontiers, the year to push myself to do things I’ve never done…like tackling flash photography. For years I’ve told myself that I’ve done fine with the poor light in my home, that I didn’t need to change anything. But it was really fear talking. So late last year I took a flash photography course–equipment ordered, delivered, fingers crossed.
On my list of smaller frontiers to conquer is to cook with a pressure cooker without the appliance blowing up on me. When we were children my sister prematurely pried open our mom’s old-school pressure cooker (after being told not to touch it), causing several pounds of beef to rocket out of the cooker, along with the lid. It’s a miracle my sister wasn’t injured, though she didn’t escape a big scolding when our mom discovered the mess (and after she saw that my sister was unhurt). I, the bystander, on the other hand was scarred by the experience and have been afraid to touch a pressure cooker since.
This is an irrational fear, I know. I hear Instant Pots have multiple built-in safety features to prevent mishaps like my sister had. But armed with even this information I’ve avoided them.
Luckily, I stumbled upon an Instant Pot class at Williams Sonoma so I signed up to join my fellow pressure cooker phobes this week, yippee. Who knows…I just might be sharing some pressure cooker recipes down the road.
With these new challenges on the horizon I’m thankful for the tried-and-trues in my life, like scones. They’re uncomplicated, reliable in their ability to satisfy a craving for something home-baked and comforting, not to mention flexible.
This latest batch was made with cardamom and raisins. The raisins are an ode to classic scones while the cardamom adds a bit of spice and an exotic touch. They’re great on their own right out of the oven but a pat of butter and jam would be nice, too.
If you have a particular weakness for scones like I do consider this a warning because these are too easy to devour. To save me and my husband I froze half the batch for enjoying later because they reheat beautifully in the oven. Or just maybe, if I should turn out to be a flop at flash photography or pressure cooking I’ll need something to console me and these scones will be just the thing.
Cardamom Raisin Scones
- 340 grams all-purpose flour (12 oz; 2 3/8 cup)
- 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
- 3/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 50 grams granulated sugar (1 3/4 oz; 1/4 cup)
- 5/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 3/4 cup half and half or milk
- 128 grams unsalted butter, cold, little cubes (4 1/2 oz; 1/2 cup)
- 2 tablespoons milk for brushing tops of scones
- Turbinado or raw sugar for sprinkling on top
Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Coat a baking sheet with baking spray or line with parchment paper.
In a large bowl sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and ground cardamom. Add the sugar and salt and stir to combine with a whisk.
Add the butter pieces and, using your hands, toss in the dry mixture until the butter pieces are coated. Then pinch the butter between your fingers until you have large slivers or pea-sized pieces.
Add the raisins to the flour/butter mixture and toss around until they’re coated in flour.
Add the half and half to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula just until the liquid has been absorbed by the flour.
Transfer the loose, crumbly mixture onto a lightly-floured surface and just press the dough together until it holds together. Do no overwork it. Flatten the dough into a disk, fold it in half, lightly press again then fold in half once more. Press the disk until it’s about one inch tall and five or six inches in diameter.
Using a round cookie cutter cut out round disks (do not twist the cutter as you cut) and transfer to the baking sheet. Pat the remaining dough to get the last two or three rounds. You can also cut into eight wedges. (I use a 2 3/4 inch round cutter; you can use a smaller cutter to yield more scones and reduce the baking time by a minute or two.)
Brush the top of the scones with milk. Don’t brush the sides as the milk for act as a glue and hinder the rise of the scones. Sprinkle the tops with turbinado sugar.
Bake for roughly 18 minutes. When done the scones should be golden and crisp on the outside. Serve warm. These scones freeze well and reheat beautifully in the oven.