Date and Walnut Wholemeal Scones

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In my opinion it’s hard to beat a freshly baked scone made with free range eggs and butter. As an enthusiastic home baker, I’m always ready to try out new flavours to ring the changes. I usually tend to leave wholemeal scones plain, but now and again the addition of dates and walnuts makes an interesting change.

I’ve had years of practice in scone making and have picked up a few hints and tricks over that time. At the end of this post I’ll include a few of my useful tips for making great scones.

Ingredients:

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225g of self raising wholemeal flour

225g of self raising white flour

50g of either Demerara or soft brown sugar

150g of butter, diced

2 small to medium free range eggs, beaten

enough milk, when added to the beaten eggs, to measure 9 fluid ounces

50g of chopped walnuts

50g of ready-to-eat dates, snipped into small pieces with scissors

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Method:

  • preheat the oven to 210°C
  • using butter, grease a flat baking tray
  • mix the flours and sugar together in a large bowl
  • cut the butter into pieces and then rub it into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs
  • stir the dates and walnuts into the mixture and make a well in the centre

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  • beat the eggs and milk together then, keeping back about a tablespoon of the mixture to brush onto the top of the scones, tip the rest into the dry ingredients
  • use a fork to begin stirring the eggs and milk into the dry ingredients. As the mixture starts to come together, use your hands to finish mixing the dough
  • sprinkle a little flour onto your working surface, then tip the scone dough out and gently knead it to bring the dough into a ball shape

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  • roll out the dough to a thickness of at least 2cms and, using a round cutter, cut out as many scones as you can. Gather the dough scraps together and reroll them, cutting more scones. Repeat this process until all the dough is used up.

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  • place the scones on to the greased baking tray and brush the top of each scone with the remaining egg and milk mixture

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  • bake the scones for about 10 minutes, or until they are golden brown in colour
  • remove the scones from the baking tray and leave them to cool on a wire rack

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∗A Few Tips for Making Great Scones∗

Over the years I have made many thousands of scones and if anyone asks my advice on the subject I have a few words of wisdom to pass on:

  • always use butter, never margarine or low fat spreads. I only ever use butter in my home baking and don’t even buy anything else
  • use fresh ingredients. If your bag of flour has been lurking at the back of a cupboard undisturbed for months on end it is probably past it’s best. Old flour can occasionally be susceptible to weevil infestation, but it’s easy enough to check whether that’s the case – press the back of the bowl of a spoon into the surface of the flour to make an indentation, remove the spoon and leave the flour undisturbed for a while.  If the indentation remains smooth the flour is okay to use, but if the surface is now ruffled it probably means that there are a few weevils in there. The weevils are actually harmless, but not many people would knowingly want to eat them!
  • use free range eggs if possible. We keep a few hens here at home and the intense, deep yellow of the egg yolks brings a glorious colour to the finished scones, especially white scones
  • good ingredients don’t have to be expensive, the most important factor is that they are fresh. I buy the vast majority of my baking ingredients weekly at our local supermarket which I know has a quick turnover.  I keep a close eye on the prices of all my ingredients and you may well be surprised to hear that the prices of butter and  flour have remained unchanged in my local supermarket for the past 5 years at least!
  • I don’t add bicarbonate of soda (bread soda) to my scone mixture. The use of self raising flour makes this unnecessary
  • when making brown scones, I use a half and half mixture of wholemeal and white flour. All wholemeal flour tends to give a dense scone, whereas I prefer the lightness that the white flour brings
  • to give a nice smooth top to the surface of the scones, leave them to stand on the baking tray for half an hour before egg washing and baking them. The active ingredients in the mixture start to work and the scones puff up a little, thus smoothing out all the bumps. However, a craggy scone can look nice too!
  • when cutting out the scones, dip the cutter into flour, press it down onto the dough and lift it straight up again. If you use a twisting action with the cutter it will stop the scone from rising evenly
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