I hereby declare that biscuits and scones are different breeds of the same animal. While biscuits are often less sweet and typically made with shortening or lard, scones are often more sweeten and typically made with cream—yet the preparation technique is the same. There are cream biscuits made with butter and savory scones made with milk. Perhaps it’s the iconic context that makes the biggest difference: fried chicken for the biscuits and teatime for the scones.
I love them whatever you call them, but until recently, I hadn’t yet found a workable method to assemble the dough. For me, rolling the dough out and using a tin biscuit cutter lead to over-handling and sticky messes. Patting the dough into a circle and cutting it into wedges made overly large biscuits to my taste and less browned surface area.
Then I discovered the approach below in an old community cookbook from Storrs, Conn. Patting the dough into a rectangle and cutting the dough into squares seems to work just right, no matter the recipe. I was just as pleased using this technique for my beer-cheese biscuits, as I was for my Raspberry Biscuits Supreme (recipe below). Soon, I’ll be moving on to use it with my pumpkin and apple recipes.
For this recipe, I pressed the un-sugared berries gently into the dough and folded it over once before patting and cutting the biscuits. It’s important that the berries be dry, so if you must wash them, make sure to shake the water off them gently in a colander and blot them with a paper towel. You might try using small or chopped blueberries, as well. With the fresh fruit tucked inside, you don’t even need jam. Yum!
Yield: 8 biscuits
- 1 cup white flour
- 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 2 tsp. sugar (or more, to taste)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
- 1/2 cup butter, softened but still cold
- 2/3 cup milk
- 1/2 cup raspberries
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line baking pan with parchment paper or silicone sheet.
Mix dry ingredients. With two knives or a pastry cutter, cut in butter until size of small peas. Add milk. Do not overmix.
Turn dough onto lightly floured board and push it together briefly until all flour is incorporated. Pat and push dough into roughly 6-by-12-inch rectangle. Gently press the raspberries into dough. Fold dough over, and shape into rectangle again. Cut dough into eight biscuits with dull knife coated with flour to minimize sticking. Place on baking sheet.
Bake about 15 minutes, until nicely browned.
Recipe adapted from Community Cupboard, by The Women’s Fellowship of the Storrs Congregational Church, Storrs, Conn., 1957.