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One look and you instantly know these scones are full of
flavor. Molasses and ground cinnamon, ginger, and cloves give these Gingerbread
Scones their earthy brown color. But
it doesn't end there. They also contain rolled oats (which gives the scones a
more hearty flavor and chewy texture), crystallized ginger (to add a little
sweetness and heat), and some dried fruit (can use raisins, dried cranberries or
dried cherries). You can enjoy one on its own, or cut one in half and spread
each side with butter and jam or even with some lemon curd.
A few notes on ingredients. Molasses is
usually labeled as "sulphured" or "unsulphured" depending on whether sulphur was
used in the processing. My preference is to use unsulphured molasses as I
like its lighter color and
milder flavor. Molasses is used to add color, moistness and
flavor to the scones.
For the liquid part of the scone dough we are going to use buttermilk, which
gives us a lighter, more bread-like scone. Buttermilk has a nice thick
creamy texture with a rich tangy buttery taste that makes baked goods tender. In
the past buttermilk was made from the liquid left over after churning butter,
but it is now commercially made by adding a bacteria to whole, skim, or low fat
milk. You can make your own buttermilk by adding 1/2 tablespoon of white
distilled vinegar, cider vinegar, or lemon juice to 1/2 cup (120 ml) of milk. Let stand 10 minutes
at room temperature before using. I have also provided a recipe for an optional
maple glaze that can be drizzled over the baked scones. This adds
wonderful flavor to the gingerbread scones.
Oats are a cereal grain that is rich and
flavorful and comes in many forms. They are very popular in
Northern Europe, Scotland and Ireland. Oats are first
cleaned, toasted, hulled to become what we call oat groats. The oat groats
are then steamed and flattened to become rolled oats or old-fashioned
oats. Old-fashioned rolled oats are not to be confused with
quick-cooking rolled oats. These are oats have been cut into pieces
before being steamed and rolled into thinner flakes. You can use either
type in these scones.
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