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Friday, December 14, 2018

Christmas Fried Scones

I once had a friend, a mom of four kids, tell me that all she wanted for Christmas was for it to be over. I, too, often felt overwhelmed by the season and refused to cook an elegant Christmas dinner. Following my mom's example, I served homemade soups and what we called "scones". Growing up in Utah that was the only kind of scone I was aware of. Over the years I've run into other types of fried bread: sopapillas, fry bread, and beignets. Of course there were always doughnuts and these are similar since we serve them rolled in cinnamon sugar or drizzled with honey.


Christmas Fried Scones 

(or Fry Bread)

Adapted from a recipe I received in the early 80s from Debbie Wade, a friend at K. I. Sawyer Air Force Base, Michigan. Of course, these can be served any time of year but to me they are distinctly related to Christmas. 

2 c milk
3/4 c butter
3/4 c sugar
2 teas salt

2 pkg yeast (or a rounded 1 1/2 T granulated yeast
1/2 c warm water (just above body temperature, approximately 110F)

2 beaten eggs
7-9 c all purpose flour

Combine the milk, butter, sugar, and salt and scald in a saucepan (you'll see little bubbles where the milk meets the pan). Set aside and allow to cool. If you are in a hurry, scald the milk, sugar, and salt and add the cold butter to cool the mixture.

While this mixture continues to cool, mix the following together and allow to sit until the yeast has started to bubble. Add the yeast mixture to the cool milk mixture. (If you have instant yeast you can add the yeast directly with the flour but don't forget to add the water to the milk mixture.) 

Mix the cool milk/yeast mixture into the eggs and add the flour. The dough should be moist but not sticky. Add more flour if needed. (A good measure of dough texture is taught by teachers of my Turkish cooking class who say dough should have the same "give" as your ear lobe.) Knead for 5 minutes or so. Cover and let rise until double in size.

Heat oil to the depth of 3/4 inches in a skillet over medium heat, testing the heat of the oil by how it spatters when flicked with water. Or test by dropping a tiny bit of dough in the oil and when it rises to the top of the oil and starts to brown, you're ready to go. I find I have to fiddle with the stove top controls often to keep it at an appropriate heat for cooking. If you have an instant-read thermometer use it to test the oil and shoot for 300-350F.

Roll out dough in batches on a floured surface with a rolling pin or pat it with your hands until about a half inch thick.  Cut into rough rectangles about 3 inches in size. Place 3-4 pieces of dough in the hot oil, stretching them a little just before they go in. Allow to cook on one side and turn and allow to cook on the other. You may want to tear open an early finished scone to make sure it isn't doughy inside. Or take its temperature with an instant-read thermometer and look for 190-200F. Cook subsequent scones at a lower heat for a little longer. Or stretch them a bit thinner before cooking.

Keep the "scones" in the oven at 200F to keep them warm until time to serve. Our family has warmed them up in the microwave the following morning but their quality suffers. If you have more dough than you need, it can be refrigerated and fried in the next couple of days.

Serve with butter, jams, cinnamon sugar, Nutella, or honey.

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