We were just talking about scones and biscuits- again.
I have gone through a biscuit, tea biscuit, scones phase so many times. Dried Blueberry Tea Cakes, above
All so similar but all subtly different.
Some would say not subtle at all.
They are all similar to me though, in that I find them hard to resist whether it is a dried fruit and chocolate scone or Oatmeal biscuit dumpling on a chicken stew.
My considerations about scones and biscuits.
Scones are crumbly, cakier, and are better with less handling, although you can fold your dough over three or four times to give it a bit of layering, and a gentle kneading makes a neater scone.
I think it’s nicer to have an imperfect looking, delicate melt in your mouth scone rather than a hard, tough, yet picture perfect one, unless you are just taking a picture!
Let your scones sit 20 minutes or so in the refrigerator before baking to give it more of a scone-like texture. That is, a bit more cakey. Buttermilk will help in that way as well.
If you don’t have buttermilk, put one tablespoon of white vinegar, or lemon juice in a measuring cup and fill it with milk, give it a mix and let it sit for a bit. It will curdle right away, as it should.
Some information taken from my “Oatmeal Scones” Blog-
Scones are like, or are, Bannock, which is Scottish but is often included in Native American cuisine who may have already been making this as it is a fairly basic and totable product. Lard and other grains and dried fruit were also used, or instead of baking a round, the dough could be wrapped around a stick and cooked over a fire or dropped onto a hot greased skillet, not unlike a pancake which is a scone, with eggs and too much liquid.
Scones usually only use baking powder which does not need something to activate it, but some have both baking powder and soda and buttermilk.
Biscuits have baking soda and an acid, like buttermilk or milk with vinegar added, or sour cream or yogurt, to activate the soda Sometimes they have both baking powder and baking soda and still an acid. But sometimes they don’t.
When using butter it will be cold and cut in smaller pieces before adding whether you are using a food processor and especially if using a pastry cutter and rubbing it in. It makes it easier than tossing in a hunk of butter in and working with that.
Some swear by grating in cold butter.
Some recipes don’t have a solid fat, like butter but use only full fat cream and a bit more of a folding method when kneading slightly to give it flakes. These American biscuits have a soft tender texture and can be served with jam as well as with soup.
They have a smooth mouthfeel and are melt in your mouth delicious.
-Eggs in scones or biscuits?
Eggs will also give it a more cake-like texture as well as adding flavour, but can simply be omitted if you would rather not use an egg. Decrease the flour by ¼ cup. It makes for a crunchy product, and I like that.
American Biscuits are flaky. Not like puff pastry flaky, but with layers, by the use of cold butter or a folding method, or both.
The biscuits are usually baked at a slightly higher temperature for a shorter amount of time than a North American style scone which is crumbly with little sign of gluten.
North American scones are full of fruits and nuts and chocolate and probably glazed.
They may be scooped, dropped and baked in mounds or cut triangular, or rectangular. And as most things American, they are bigger on taste, decidedly sweeter, and just bigger.
This makes them shareable and portable.
They are crunchy on the outside and delicious with popularity getting up there with donuts and cinnamon rolls.
A British style scone might tie you over between breakfast and lunch. As in tea with scones and clotted cream and preserves, because it is not loaded with things like a North American Scone. It has a finer texture than an American style biscuit.
An American biscuit, as in sausage and biscuits, tend to be savoury, but not always.
Biscuits are often cut with a cookie cutter, and round, or dropped as a dumpling, or dropped and baked. If you find that your scone or biscuit dough is too wet to consider touching with your hands, make drop biscuits, which are actually a type of biscuit. It is easier with no waste and is still light because there is much less handling.
Just make scoops with two tablespoons or a scoop and place about 1½ inches (4cm) apart on a baking sheet and bake as normal. The uneven surface gets lovely brown and crisp.
A Tea Biscuit is what North Americans call cookies, basically. Usually a plain cookie in need of some Tea for dunking. Like Arrowroot biscuits or HobNobs or Digestives. A bag of Peek Freans assorted.
Or A traditional flaky biscuit, usually with dried fruit like currants or blueberries and usually on the thinner, dryer side. A perfect accompaniment for hot or cold tea or milk, etc.
Variations to add before mixing in the buttermilk
Dried cherry or cranberry and White Chocolate: ½ cup each white chocolate and dried fruit.
Cranberry and Orange: 2 tsp grated orange peel, added with the dry ingredients, ¾ cup dried cranberries, maybe orange glaze?