february: lisa’s cranberry and blueberry scones

As a kid, and even until now, I have always been an early riser. When I think back to when I was living at home, I remember always being the first one out of bed, the first one downstairs in the kitchen, sneaking into the pantry and thinking what to make for breakfast. Pancakes were the normal fare, and then I got into making bread from scratch. My mum got me a cookbook on baking all different types of breads, and then out flowed the brioche, cinnamon rolls and even crumpets!

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I remember making scones quite often – probably because they didn’t require too many ingredients and were relatively quick and simple. But there is also this memory of going to a garden nursery in Terrey Hills on the weekends, where we would go walk around the grounds and then sit down and have devonshire tea afterwards. The sweet, fluffy little scones with a smear of strawberry jam and a dollop of whipped cream was heavenly. I always looked forward to go to the nursery just to taste these (of course I had no interest in plants!).

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When I first started making scones, they were delicious fresh out of the oven, but became quite hard after a few hours, after they had cooled down. I was asked to make a traditional high tea for one of my friend’s weddings a few years ago. Of course, scones needed to be on the menu, but my challenge was how to make them early in the day and keep them soft and fluffy hours after. I did some research and found that the best way is to trap the heat and moisture in after baking. You can do this by wrapping the warm scones in a few tea towels immediately after baking, and store them like this until ready to eat. So simple, yet so effective.

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So for this month’s challenge, I have made cranberry and blueberry scones. The basic scone recipe is very versatile – it is possible to swap out the cranberries/blueberries for any other dried fruit (eg. sultanas, mixed fruits, dates), or omit them altogether to make perfectly fluffy vanilla scones and serve with your favourite jam or marmalade. Dried fruits are good to use because it doesn’t make the mixture too wet. Also the ingredients are simple, pantry staples, which makes this easy to create anytime. Enjoy!

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