Last week I was killing some time at Barnes and Noble when I was drawn in by the big table of cook books. The funny thing about this table is that it draws you in via your stomach. So many of the books are covered in glossy photos of scrumptious foods that it's impossible for an even moderately hungry person to pass it by without at least a quick look. All the gorgeous books and their yummy looking food, and I fall for a book with no pictures on the outside.
Baking Style by Lisa Yockelson is a substantial book. I LOVE a well made book. The subtitle on the front fits me perfectly, "Art Craft Recipes." That is exactly how I view cooking. It appeals to my artistic and crafty side just like glue, paper, and yarn do.
This book is filled not only with recipes and photos, but also with culinary essays that I found captivating. It's much like reading a food blog but without the clicking and scrolling. So many of the recipes in the book were things I want to make but it was one recipe that sealed the deal... marzipan scones.
The funny thing about the changes I made with this recipe? I didn't use marzipan for the marzipan scones. I used Almond Paste instead. Marzipan and almond paste have the same three ingredients: almonds, sugar, and glucose syrup. The difference is that marzipan has slightly more sugar and is sweeter than almond paste. I am quite sure that these scones would be delicious with marzipan but I love almond paste just as much and didn't need the extra sugar.
The recipe tells you to cut your marzipan into chunks and then it is worked into the dough by hand at the end of the prebake process. You can't go wrong with large chunks of sweet almondy goodness in your scones.
The almond paste mixed in easily and left me with a lovely sweet dough. I didn't get any pictures of the dough disk or wedges after they were cut. The dough was very sticky and needed to be cut and moved to the pan quickly. It was a bit hard to work with the sticky dough but well worth the gorgeous texture after they were cooked. I wouldn't have wanted more flour added to make them less sticky causing a tougher final product.
I cut down on the nutmeg a little in my dough because I wanted to make sure the almond flavor was crisp and clean. If you can't tell, I'm an almond fan.
Just like Lisa says in her book, the texture of these scones isn't your standard flaky and semi-dry texture. These little lovelies have a soft crumb that is more dense but just as soft as cake. They are a joy to eat.
The almond paste holds the shape you cut it into but the lumps disperse through the dough evenly. It spreads it's flavor throughout but maintains it's lovely mouth feel.
I ate my scone with a little homemade clotted cream. It was delicious but I actually like them better just as they are. Warm is nice but room temperature is even better. I also loved it just as much the second day.
From Baking Style by Lisa Yockelson
7 ounces marzipan (I used almond paste)
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unsifted bleached all-purpose flour
2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (I used a little less)
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened (I used salted)
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
confectioners’ sugar, for sifting over the baked scones (optional – I didn’t use any)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Line a heavy rimmed sheet pan or cookie sheet with a length of ovenproof parchment paper.
For the dough, cut the block of marzipan into small cubes and set aside.
Cream the butter in the large bowl of a freestanding electric mixer on moderate speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the granulated sugar and beat for 1 minute on moderate speed. Whisk the eggs, milk, almond extract, and vanilla extract in a small mixing bowl. On low speed, blend in a little less than half of the sifted mixture, all of the whisked eggs and milk mixture, then the balance of the sifted mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl thoroughly with a rubber spatula after each addition. The dough will be firmly moist. By hand, work in the chunks of marzipan, using a sturdy rubber spatula.
On a lightly floured work surface, form the dough into a plump 5 ½- to 6-inch disk. Cut the disk into 6 wedges. Place the scones on the prepared baking pan, spacing them 3 inches apart.
Bake the scones in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until risen, set, and golden on top. Cool the baked scones on the pan for 1 minute, then remove them to a cooling rack, using a wide offset spatula. Serve the scones warm or at room temperature, their tops sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar, if you wish. Store in an airtight container.