22 April 2014

Peanut Butter Scones (with jam)

The last few spoonfuls in the peanut butter jar are hanging out on your shelf and what do you do, besides hope that someone doesn't just finish them off with a spoon? Mix up some ridic-good flourless PB cookies like every other day? Break out the mixer for something a little more involved? I'm not sure it's possible to get sick of peanut butter cookies but sometimes you feel branching out would be healthy. So, and how hard can this be to explain, you can tuck it into scone dough with a little whole wheat pastry flour sneaked in, cut out rounds, bake  in a hot oven so they puff and bronze, cool, open, slather with strawberry jam and there you have it: a pbj on whole wheat in scone form.        

As I began considering the possibility while sifting through recipes, I decided what I had in mind were more like top twisting biscuits, served open faced, as vehicles for jam, rather than the more popular cakey choco-PB sliced scone variety, so I played with a recipe found on Peanut Butter & Co.'s website and adjusted a few things: I left out the honey-roasted peanuts, swapped in a touch of whole wheat pastry flour for some of the all purpose, and half-and-half for the milk. I used Irish butter and Justin's plain smooth peanut butter. 

Though I usually make scones by hand I found it convenient to make these as instructed in the food processor because it's quicker to cut in the peanut butter that way. In the end I found the process a little like pumpkin scone dough, with different chemistry of course. You've got your flour and butter, your nut butter and here some egg and half and half to bring it together. It's a little on the thick/dense side as you shape it but don't worry, it will get a nice tender inside, and  crisp crumb outside once it bakes, just don't over-handle it. And other thing: make sure to cool these a good several minutes so the insides set fully, before spreading on your jam. I'll post the full recipe below but know that it halves nicely for 5 scones (above) and even quadruple divides for about 3 of them. 

Oh, and did I mention we liked them, a lot? Happy baking : )

Peanut Butter Scones with jam  
Adapted from I Love PB
Yield: 10, halve quantities for a lesser amount

2 cups /250 grams all-purpose flour
1/2 cup/ 58 grams whole wheat pastry flour (or all all-purpose)
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup/ 48 grams sugar
¼ cup/ 55 grams unsalted, chilled butter, diced
½ cup/120 grams smooth peanut butter, chilled a little if possible
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
6 to 8 tablespoons half and half, plus more to brush on top

Oven to 450, rack in the top third. Line a sheet pan with parchment, set aside.

Pulse flour, salt, sugar, baking powder in  food processor a few times to combine and fluff. Toss the butter on top and pulse a few times to cut in, then add peanut butter in dollops, and cut in until just incorporated. Add the vanilla and egg and pulse a few times to moisten, then the milk a Tbs a time-start with the lesser amount and just add the rest if needed. Dough should be stiff and start to hold together. Dump it onto a sheet of plastic or parchment, lightly pat into a rough disk and fold it over itself. Optionally, place into the freezer for a few minutes while you clean up a little. Remove disc and stamp out rounds with a lightly floured 2.5 inch cutter (don't twist it). Gently press together scraps for a last scone. Place apart on sheet pan. Brush tops with a little half and half. Bake 15-18 minutes until puffed and the tops and bottoms are golden brown. Set on a cooling rack in the pan for a few minutes. Then remove to cool further, pushing them together on the rack and loosely covering with parchment until ready to eat. Slice and serve with berry jam of choice. Freeze extra after cooled.

Note: take care not to over-process. If you lack a processor you can cut in butter and PB by hand then stir in the wet ingredients. I found the processor a sure way to disperse the peanut butter evenly though.

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