Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Rosemary Jam Scones

For the past week, the temperature here in Atlanta has hit upwards of 90 degrees consistently. There have been a few rain showers (or the occasional thunderstorm) that have provided some brief, albeit welcome, reprieves from the heat, but even walking outside can be grueling.
Nevertheless, I still manage to turn on the oven and the stove at least once a day (love those roasted vegetables). The other day, it was to bake up some delicious, heart-shaped rosemary scones. I had first seen Giada De Laurentiis make them on her cooking show, and the combination of sweet and savory was incredibly enticing. But they take cream, and, well, we hardly ever have cream in the refrigerator. Flash forward a few weeks and we have not one but two cartons of heavy cream in the refrigerator leftover from making cheesecake and ice cream (luckily cream lasts a lot longer than regular milk does). It was the perfect time to make a batch of these dainty scones.
The recipe is particularly easy for a rolled-out dough. I'm a pretty slow baker, but I whipped these up in about 30 minutes, start to finish. The aroma of fresh rosemary was incredible, as was the smell of that delicious biscuit dough. It reminded me of Bisquick pancakes - but rest assured these taste much, much better (and are certainly worthy of turning on the oven).

Rosemary Jam Scones
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

You can make these scones in either the processor or by hand with a pastry cutter. I opted to just make them in one large bowl to make clean-up easier, but these come together so quickly and neatly that either method would be fine. I used Emily G's Santa Jam, which is a pomegranate jelly, but any berry jam would work. The original recipe called for a lemon glaze, but I think the scones are just fine without it. Try the glaze for an additional citrus note or to sweeten the scones up for dessert. I used a 3-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, but any similar size cookie cutter would work (you could also cut the scones freehand with a knife).

Yield: 12-14 scones

For the scones:
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup fruit jam (such as raspberry or strawberry)

For the glaze (optional):
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, from 1 large lemon
2 cups powdered sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons water

Adjust two oven racks to the upper middle and lower middles racks of hte oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Food Processor Method: In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, baking powder, rosemary, salt, and butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Gradually stir in the cream until the mixture forms a dough.

Hand-Mixed Method: In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, rosemary, and salt. Incorporate the butter with a pastry cutter, working the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Gradually stir in the cream until the mixture forms a dough.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 1/2-inch thick, 10-inch circle. Using a 3-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out heart-shaped pieces of dough and put on the prepared baking sheets. Gently knead together any leftover pieces of dough and roll out to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut the dough into more heart shapes and add to the baking sheet. Using an index finger or a small, round measuring spoon, gently make an indentation in the center of each pastry heart. Spoon a heaped 1/2 teaspoon of jam into each indentation. Bake the scones for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown, rotating the baking sheets from front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Transfer the cooked scones onto a wire rack and cool for 30 minutes.

To make the glaze, mix together the lemon juice and powdered sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Gradually add the water until the mixture is thin enough to spread. Using a spoon, drizzle the glaze over the scones. Let the glaze set for about 30 minutes. Serve or store in an airtight plastic container for up to 2 days.

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