Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Tweaked English Scones - with Peanut Butter!

I have been having a bit of an experimenting day in the kitchen today...

I wanted to make scones, but not my usual plain sweet or cheesy ones, and so while having a bit of a google on the 'net for new and interesting ideas I kept coming across recipes for peanut butter scones...

hmmmmmm??!!!!....now there's something that I really like...PEANUT BUTTER oh my, oh yes, oh yum! the thought of PB scones rather set the taste buds going!

On closer inspection of a few sites (and dutifully saved to Pinterest of course) I noticed that they were all for American style scones...and required more ingredients, including using eggs....and more often than not, chocolate (match made in heaven...so pretty obvious I guess).

So, nothing wrong with that....American style scones are VERY tasty...but the lack of English style recipes for scones with peanut butter got me wondering if it was actually possible to make them the English way....

...and there was only one way to find out....

just try it and see!

I took my tried and trusted recipe for English Sweet Scones and tweaked it just a little bit by adding some wholemeal flour and rolled oats into the mix (just to take the edge off the white stuff and add a bit more texture), and reducing the sugar content (assuming the PB would add some but not all the sweetness) and I stuck to normal milk rather than yoghurt or buttermilk for the liquid part (purely due to the fact I had neither in stock...but they would work equally well) I also opted to leave out chocolate...just so I could get an idea of what the plain PB scone would taste like.

Making up the mix was pretty simple....I just made the standard dry crumb mix first before adding the peanut butter, which I warmed slightly in the microwave to loosen it up a bit, then re-crumbed it again and then stirred in the milk to get the final dough. My ingredients list calls for approx. 1/4 pint of milk and I advise you add it slowly and gradually - depending on how much PB you use, and the flour type (not all flour is equal and has different absorption rates), so you may not need it all...or you may need more.  Mix it all gently and stop working it the moment it has all come together and formed a soft dough. It's crucial not to over knead scone dough...it's not like making bread and you do not want to activate too much gluten in the flour by kneading or you'll end up with dense heavy scones. Sometimes I form my dough into one large round and then cut into triangular segments, sometimes I use a round cutter...in this instance I went for a round 2&5/8ths inch plain round cutter and it yielded eight scones...oh, and one thing that I NEVER do, is to roll out the dough with a pin...I gently form and pat out with my hands because again, going back to what I said about mixing it, you don't want to over work it or it will become heavy...and I feel a rolling pin can often do that. I like a hands on approach so I can feel the texture and know when it's right. I pat it out to approx. 2 inch thickness...purely because that's how we like our scones - deep (after the added rising during cooking) with a good balance of soft fluffy inner and crispy crust outer.

So, a quick brush with a milk glaze over the top and they went in the oven and I sat in anticipation, watching as they slowly rose and lightly browned.

and the verdict?

Well, I have to say I was very please with the outcome.

The combination of the wholemeal flour and the oats gave a slightly nutty background to the scone.... and the peanut butter was there but not overpoweringly so. In all, the scone seemed more malty flavoured than anything and not overly sweet, which seemed quite strange...but pleasant....and as my 'NON peanut butter loving' other half scoffed back a couple and said they were very tasty and a success, I guess that was fine...in fact I think they make a perfect base for splitting and slathering with a spread such as chocolate. I tried one with sliced banana and a drizzle of honey and can happily give this combo a big thumbs up.

I also think this recipe could be tweaked to suit tastes....maybe add more wholemeal flour for a denser dough, maybe add more peanut butter for a real nutty kick...or even try crunchy version for real texture and bite...and don't forget to try chucking in some dark chocolate chips for a classic combo.

So here's the recipe I went for....give it a whirl...see what you think...tweak it if you think it needs it!

  • 5oz Plain white flour
  • 3oz Wholemeal flour
  • 1oz rolled oats
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 2oz cold unsalted butter cut into cubes
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 generous dessert spoons of smooth peanut butter
  • approx 1/4 pint milk you may need more/or less, plus some required for glazing.
Preheat oven to 220oC (200oC if using fan oven)

Combine the flour, oats, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl, add the butter and rub in with the fingers to form a rough crumb, stir in the sugar. Slightly warm the peanut butter in a microwave to loosen the texture a little and pour into the crumb mix, stir in. You'll probably find it will clump together so then use fingers to break it up and re-crumb the mix gently again. Start adding the milk, a bit at a time, stirring in until it all comes together, is combined and formed a soft dough. Tip out onto a work surface and gently shape with the hands. patting out to approx. 2 inch thickness. Shape as a round pattie and cut into 8 triangular wedges, or use a round cookie cutter to make the more traditional looking individual scones (makes approx. 8). Brush the tops with milk glaze and bake in oven for 12-15minutes until cooked through and lightly golden on top.

Serve warmed, split and spread with chocolate spread or sliced bananas and a dash of honey.