True to (my) life - I did not bake a batch this morning as I remembered a couple other things I HAD to do first. But, when the sun (finally) decided to shine on the Philadelphia/Bucks Co area, I was so excited that I not only baked scones - I also hung laundry - oh, the thrill!
I got the recipe for Blueberry-Buttermilk Scones from Slightly-Brit's June 2009 Issue of Martha Stewart Living in the "From My Home to Yours" section (it's also available on her website). Martha kindly inserted a buttermilk substitution - because really how many of us have buttermilk handy at all times?
While we're on the subject of the buttermilk substitution I'll mention that I don't mind making substitutions - ones suggested and/or my own. I am not the kind of person who cooks or bakes straight from the recipe. Except for - occasionally - the first time I make something. And also when I make chocolate mousse. And - oh, jello - I now, after years of failing at jello, actually do follow the directions. So...let me revise: I am not the kind of person who always cooks or bakes straight from the recipe.
I know folks who insist on following the recipe directions - to the letter - every time. They could find the most incredible recipe - and if it calls for bat lard they'll either locate bat lard or ditch the whole idea and cook up something as uninteresting as their grandma's old meatloaf instead. In my opinion they miss out on a lot of adventure.
Of course, I know other folks whose love of experimentation in the kitchen is scary. One such person actually once forced me to say "Honey, do you think you could find a recipe to work with for the first few times and then improvise?" I was patient though - my suggestion came after the 3rd or 4th meal the likes of Strawberry Pasta Surprise (with Sweetened Mushroom Sauce)!
I take the middle ground when it comes to cooking and baking. I like to experiment, but I do like a place to jump off from. I need a recipe to start with - I don't just pull full blown food ideas out of my butt (and aren't we all glad of that?!?).
I started in on Martha's Blueberry-Buttermilk Scone recipe, substituting for the buttermilk as I mentioned. I got to the sugar part and remembered that Slighly-Brit suggested (when I made these before) that she thought I could add a bit more sugar. Of course, last time I put sour cranberries in the mix because we didn't have enough blueberries. But it still seemed a good idea.
So in went some extra sugar - "some more" is how I measured - intuitively. Then, nothing against Martha, but I get the idea she might be a little uptight - so maybe she's sparing with her blueberries, you know? That's what I assumed when I thought about adding extra blueberries to her recipe. What the hey - Martha says 1c - maybe 1 1/2 would be better - I mean blueberries is what it's about! In go another 1/2 cup of the little blue guys.
There might have been too much liquid - what with the extra (nice and juicy) berries and the tiny bit of extra liquid I added when I did the buttermilk substitute. I thought I remembered that the first time I made these the dough pulled away from the bowl - this time it was more like liquidy cake batter. OK, we needed more flour.
1/2 c more flour. Not enough. It was still too wet to do the "gentle kneading once or twice". A little more flour. Oh s%#! - it needs more! But if I put in more flour I'd have to put in more baking powder. Ok, more flour and more baking powder. It was still pretty moist - screw it, I'll figured I'd just glide it into the pan, which by the way, had nonshiny-side tinfoil in it instead of the required parchment paper because I forgot parchment paper (again) when I was at the store.
When you start messing with recipes things get goofy with timing. Martha called for 22 minutes of baking time - but what do you do when you've added more flour, more liquid, more sugar, more baking powder and more of who knows what else? What you do is guess.
I've heard plenty of times that baking is chemistry - you have to measure exactly - but I have a baking theory (unproven) that if you put enough love into something the results have to be good. And, at least with Martha's messed with scones, it worked! They turned out great - and if you hurry over I'll share (but ter and Davi have first dibs).
P.S. There is a downside to my baking improv - the next time I make Martha Stewart's scones I won't remember what I did this time - so I won't get exactly the same results. Oh well...