Throwback Thursday – Rock Cakes

Earlier this week, Liam had one of his little friends come over for a play.  I’d had the best intentions of tidying up the night before, but it just didn’t happen.  That morning I was madly racing around trying to make the house at least semi presentable, Liam on the other hand seemed to be following me around unpacking everything I had just put away.

I’d wanted to do some baking for the kids morning tea, but when it was apparent I was quickly running out of time, I thought about making some scones, but changed my mind at the last minute and made Rock Cakes.  This recipe is from my old McAlpins baking book, so I knew it was going to be easy to put together.  When adding the dried fruit I decided to go with currants and chopped dates which were super yummy.

These tasted great straight out of the oven.  If you wanted to, you could cut them in half and add butter or jam, but we were happy to eat them on their own.  The kids enjoyed them, as did Saxon (our dog), who always does well when the kids are outside eating!

Simple & Delicious

Simple & Delicious

2 cups self raising flour

90g unsalted butter, chilled & cubed

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/2 cup mixed dried fruit (I used currants and dates)

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 egg

1/4 cup milk

* Preheat oven to 200 degrees and line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper

* Sift the flour into a large bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

* Stir through the sugar, dried fruit and ginger.

* Whisk together the egg and milk in a bowl and add to the dry ingredients, mixing until a dough forms.

* Drop rough heaps of mixture (I used a soup spoon) onto the trays and bake for 10 – 12 minutes (I found mine were ready after 10 minutes).

* Transfer onto a wire rack to cool

It’s a scone off!

I love scones.  They are the perfect morning/afternoon tea, and super easy to put together. For the last few years I’ve used a traditional recipe (source unknown) and apart from the couple of times when I used plain flour instead of self raising (I blame baby brain) they have never failed. In the past I’ve also tried Lemonade Scones (made using a can of lemonade and cream), but there is nothing like the traditional recipe in my opinion.

After devouring Nigella Lawson’s ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’ – something I wish I was, but constantly fall short on – I was keen to try her recipe ‘Lily’s Scones’ which rather than using self raising flour, use plain flour combined with bicarb soda and cream of tartar.  What better way to compare the two than to have a scone off!

My little helper as well as my family have enjoyed this challenge.  We’ve had a few debates over which scone is better, I think they have been watching too many cooking shows with comments about the ‘crumb’, ‘texture’ and ‘overall appeal’ being tossed about.

Always eager to help out!

Always eager to taste test!

We found Nigella’s scones to be VERY light and fluffy – thanks to the cream of tartar, although they rose, I felt they could have been higher. The egg wash gave them a good colour and they tasted great.

Nigella's scones

We didn’t find a huge difference in taste, it was really the different textures that set the two apart.  Personally I prefer the original recipe, they rise well and have a great texture and taste.

Original and still the best?

Original and still the best?

Both of the recipes are below – you be the judge!

‘Lily’s Scones’ – How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson

500g plain flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

4 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

50g cold unsalted butter diced

25g trex, in teaspoon lumps (or use another 25g butter)

300ml milk

1 large egg beaten for egg wash

  • Preheat oven to 220 degrees
  • Sift the flour, bicarb and cream of tartar into a large bowl
  • Rub in the fats until it looks like breadcrumbs
  • Add the milk all at once and mix briefly with a knife
  • Turn onto a floured surface and knead lightly to form a dough
  • Roll out to about 3cm thickness
  • Dip cutter into some flour (6 1/2 cm round cutter) and cut out scones.
  • Bring excess dough back together to cut out more scones (I made 11)
  • Place on a lightly greased baking tray quite close together and brush with egg wash
  • Place in oven and cook for 10 minutes or until risen and golden

vs

Traditional Scone Recipe – origin unknown

3 cups self raising flour

pinch of sale

1/4 cup cold unsalted butter diced

2 1/4 cups milk

extra milk for wash

  • Preheat oven to 230 degrees
  • Sift flour and salt into large bowl
  • Add butter and rub in until mixture resembles breadcrumbs
  • Add approx 2 cups of milk and mix together with a butter knife.  Add additional milk as needed (I find I sometimes don’t need to full 2 1/4 cups of milk)
  • Turn onto a floured surface and knead lightly to form a dough
  • Roll out to around 3cm thickness (I don’t use a rolling pin, instead using my hands to pat out/shape)
  • Dip cutter into flour and cut out scones
  • Bring excess dough back together and cut out more scones (I usually make 10 -12 scones)
  • Place on lightly greased baking tray close together so they are almost touching and brush excess milk over for glaze
  • Place in oven and bake for 12 minutes or until risen and golden