Ginger Scones with Almond Topping

The crunch of the slightly sugary almond topping is perfect with the spicy tenderness of these scones. When you purchase crystallized ginger for your scones, make sure it is tender and moist, not dry and hard, since it can’t be plumped like raisins without losing much of its flavor. See Sources for mail-order ginger products.

Ingredients

Scone Dough

  • cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into a dry-measure cup and level off)
  • cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
  • cup (about 4 ounces/100 grams) crystallized ginger, cut into ¼-inch 6 dice
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup milk

Almond Topping

  • 1 tablespoon egg white (liquefy egg white by beating with a fork, then measure)
  • ¾ cup (about 2 ounces/50 grams) blanched sliced almonds
  • teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • cup sugar
  • 1 cookie sheet or jelly-roll pan lined with parchment or foil

Method

  1. Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and ginger in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse several times to mix.
  3. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is thoroughly incorporated and mealy, 10 to 12 times. Add the crystallized ginger.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together and then add them to the flour mixture. Pulse several times to mix, but not until the mixture forms a ball.
  5. Invert the bowl over a floured work surface and carefully remove the blade. Fold the dough over on itself several times to give it a final mixing.
  6. Use a bench scraper or a knife to divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Pat each piece into a disk 5 or 6 inches (12½ to 15 cm) in diameter. Use a floured bench scraper or a knife to cut each disk into 6 wedges.
  7. Arrange the scones on the prepared pan, keeping them about inches (4 cm) apart all around.
  8. To make the almond topping, combine the egg white and almonds in a small mixing bowl and use a rubber spatula to stir them together so that all the almond pieces are evenly coated with the egg white. Stir in the cinnamon and sugar. Top each scone with about 2 teaspoons of the topping by placing the topping on the scone, then using your fingertips to spread it evenly all over.
  9. Bake the scones until they are well risen, firm to the touch, and the topping is a deep golden color, about 15 minutes.
  10. Arrange the scones on a platter to serve. If possible, serve them immediately after they are baked.

Serving

Serve the scones with butter, clotted cream, or nothing. I prefer mine plain, since the ginger and almonds provide plenty of richness.

Storage

Keep the scones loosely covered with plastic wrap on the day they are baked. Double wrap in plastic and freeze for longer storage. Defrost and reheat at 375°F (190°C) for about 5 minutes before serving, or to warm cooled freshly baked scones.

Variations

Cinnamon Raisin Scones: Replace the ground ginger with ground cinnamon. Replace the crystallized ginger with dark raisins, golden raisins, or a combination of the two. Use the almond topping, or brush the tops of the scones with milk and sprinkle lightly with a mixture of 2tablespoons sugar and ¼teaspoon ground cinnamon.

Orange-Scented Dried Cranberry Scones: Reduce the ground ginger to ¼teaspoon and replace the crystallized ginger with dried cranberries. Add the grated zest of a large orange to the milk and egg mixture. Leave the tops of the scones plain or use the almond topping or the cinnamon-sugar variation above.

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