We’re not even sure if this remotely passes for a hobby, but the one thing we do together other than write cozy mysteries is search for the perfect scone recipe and try it out. Sounds like fun, huh? Well, take it from us, it’s not. It’s the kind of activity that can try the patience of even the most level-headed, easy going person.
It usually begins with Jim scouring through old cookbooks to find scone recipes that were popular back when George Washington crossed the Delaware. Inevitably, he discovers something but the measurements are so “off” that it would take a team of mathematicians to figure it out. And if that’s not bad enough, there’s the ingredient dilemma to deal with. Good luck finding hemp or turbinado sugar. Or better yet, freshly churned butter.
Still, we manage to persevere. Barely. The process involves removing our cats from the kitchen but we rarely succeed. Combining the ingredients is the easy part but getting the dough to the right consistency is really an art. No too moist, not too dry. Not too heavy. Not too light. So, we just get frustrated and leave it as is.
We’ve tried all sorts of “add-ons” including chocolate chips, nuts, raisins, cranberries and dried apricots. Some recipes call for olives but we shudder.
Well, I’ve had my say. Now Jim will take you through one of his recipes. I hope it’s not the one with the raw sugar. Good luck! Ann
Here’s a really simple recipe with easy to acquire ingredients:
3 large eggs (or 4 medium/small ones)
A little over a 1/4 cup of heavy cream (By little, not more than 3 tablespoons over)
3 1/4 cups of flour (the regular all-purpose kind)
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of baking POWDER. (Not soda or you’ll be sorry)
1/4 cup of unsalted butter and ¼ teaspoon of salt OR: 1/4 cup of salted butter
Three tablespoons of vanilla (you can adjust this to taste if you like more vanilla but don’t go overboard)
1 cup of chopped dried cranberries or whatever dried fruit you want. It’s OK with chocolate chips but we like the dried fruit better.
Mix the eggs with the cream in a separate bowl. Mix the dry ingredients and add butter. Make sure the butter is room temperature or you’ll be stirring and stirring. Add the eggs and cream slowly and keep mixing. The batter should be like playdough. Add the dried fruit and keep mixing.
You can either roll out the dough to about a half inch and cut it into little 2 – 3 inch rounds or you can be a bit more “rustic” and shape small balls of dough and flatten them a bit.
Bake this at 400 degrees on an un-greased baking sheet for 10 – 15 minutes but keep watching it!
Oh, one more thing – If you like fancy-dancy like Ann does, you can add an egg wash on top of the dough balls. Egg wash is an egg with water mixed in and then swiped across the dough with a little cooking brush. If you ask me, it’s not worth the bother since it really doesn’t change the taste, however, it does look pretty cool.
A deadly search for sour grapes . . .
Norrie Ellington is a successful screenwriter living in New York City. She’s also been a silent partner for her family’s winery upstate—until her sister and brother-in-law take a year-long sabbatical. With an experienced staff doing the work, Norrie figures Two Witches Winery will run itself while she enjoys the countryside and writes in peace and quiet.
Unfortunately, there’s a sour grape in the town of Penn Yan who doesn’t care for vineyards. Bed and breakfast owner Elsbeth Waters complains to everyone who’ll listen that the local wineries are bad for her business. But when Elsbeth’s body is found on Norrie’s property, the victim of foul play, the screenwriter-turned-vintner dons a sleuthing cap to uncover the identity of a killer who told the B&B proprietess to put a cork in it—permanently . . .