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Filed under :Breads, The Dairing Kitchen

Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a.k.a. biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!

Scones in North American are nearly always triangular in shape have a slightly crisp crust usually covered in sugar and have a soft interior crumb and sometimes are laced with dried fruit (these baked goods in Australia and England are called “rock cakes” since they are usually made to look like “rocky” cakes not wedges), meanwhile biscuits in North American are a round shaped buttery slightly flaky baked good usually eaten with meals (these items in Australia and England are called “scones” and are eaten with butter and jam usually with cups of tea or coffee as a sweet snack). So this challenge (using the North American name) is to make biscuits. Or using the Australian or English name this challenge is to make scones.

Basic Scones (a.k.a. Basic Biscuits)

 Servings: about eight 2-inch scones or five 3-inch scones Recipe can be doubled


1 cup  plain (all-purpose) flour

2 teaspoons  fresh baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons frozen grated butter (or a combination of lard and butter)

approximately ½ cup  cold milk

optional 1 tablespoon milk, for glazing the tops of the scones


1. Preheat oven to very hot 475°F

2. Triple sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. (If your room temperature is very hot refrigerate the sifted ingredients until cold.)

3. Rub the frozen grated butter (or combination of fats) into the dry ingredients until it resembles very coarse bread crumbs with some pea-sized pieces if you want flaky scones or until it resembles coarse beach sand if you want tender scones.

4. Add nearly all of the liquid at once into the rubbed-in flour/fat mixture and mix until it just forms a sticky dough (add the remaining liquid if needed). The wetter the dough the lighter the scones (biscuits) will be!

5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top of the dough. To achieve an even homogeneous crumb to your scones knead very gently about 4 or 5 times (do not press too firmly) the dough until it is smooth. To achieve a layered effect in your scones knead very gently once (do not press too firmly) then fold and turn the kneaded dough about 3 or 4 times until the dough has formed a smooth texture. (Use a floured plastic scraper to help you knead and/or fold and turn the dough if you wish.)

6. Pat or roll out the dough into a 6 inch by 4 inch rectangle by about ¾ inch thick (15¼ cm by 10 cm by 2 cm thick). Using a well-floured 2-inch (5 cm) scone cutter (biscuit cutter), stamp out without twisting six 2-inch (5 cm) rounds, gently reform the scraps into another ¾ inch (2 cm) layer and cut two more scones (these two scones will not raise as well as the others since the extra handling will slightly toughen the dough).  Or use a well-floured sharp knife to form squares or wedges as you desire. Great for little hands to help out 😉

7. Place the rounds just touching on a baking dish if you wish to have soft-sided scones or place the rounds spaced widely apart on the baking dish if you wish to have crisp-sided scones. Glaze the tops with milk if you want a golden colour on your scones or lightly flour if you want a more traditional look to your scones.

8. Bake in the preheated very hot oven for about 10 minutes  (check at 8 minutes since home ovens at these high temperatures are very unreliable) until the scones are well risen and are lightly coloured on the tops. The scones are ready when the sides are set.

9. Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process, serve while still warm.

Variations on the Basic recipe

Buttermilk – follow the Basic recipe above but replace the milk with buttermilk, add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, increase the fat to 4 tablespoons, in Step 3 aim of pea-sized pieces of fat coated in flour, in Step 5 fold and turn the dough, rounds are just touching in the baking dish, glaze with buttermilk.

Australian Scone Ring (Damper Ring) – follow the Basic recipe above but decrease the fat to 1 tablespoon, in Step 3 aim of fine beach sand sized pieces of fat coated in flour, in Step 5 knead the dough, in Step 7 form seven rounds into a ring shape with the eighth round as the centre, glaze with milk.

Cream – follow the Basic recipe above but replace the milk with cream, add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, in Step 3 aim of beach sand sized pieces of fat coated in flour, in Step 5 knead the dough, rounds are just touching in the baking dish, glaze with cream.

Cheese and Chive – follow the Basic recipe above but add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, after Step 2 add ½ teaspoon sifted mustard powder, ¼ teaspoon sifted cayenne pepper (optional), ½ cup (60 gm/2 oz) grated cheese and 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives into the sifted ingredients, in Step 3 aim of beach sand sized pieces of fat coated in flour, in Step 5 knead the dough, rounds are widely spaced in the baking dish, sprinkle the rounds with cracked pepper.

Fresh Herb – follow the Basic recipe above but after Step 3 add 3 tablespoons finely chopped herbs (such as parsley, dill, chives etc).

Sweet Fruit – follow the Basic recipe above but after Step 3 add ¼ cup (45 gm) dried fruit (e.g. sultanas, raisins, currents, cranberries, cherries etc) and 1 tablespoon (15 gm) sugar. Wholemeal –  follow the Basic recipe above but replace half of the plain flour with wholemeal flour. Wholemeal and date – follow the Basic recipe above but replace half of the plain flour with wholemeal flour and after Step 3 add ¼ cup (45 gm) chopped dates and 1 tablespoon (15 gm) sugar.

Bolo de Banana

Filed under :Brazilian Recipes, Desserts

1/2 c oil

3 eggs

1 t vanilla

5-6 rippen bananas (mashed)

1 1/2 c flour

1 1/2 c sugar

1 t baking soda

1/4 t salt

1 t cinnamon

1/4 t baking powder

1/4 c milk

In  a bowl add flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and baking powder- set aside

In your mixer add oil, eggs, vanilla and mashed banana. Mix well.  Add 1/3 cup of flour mixture and half of milk. Mix. Keep adding flour and milk until it is all done.

Pour into flouered pan. Bake at 350 for about 40-50 minutes.

Rice with Angel Hair Pasta (Arroz Bicharia)

Filed under :Brazilian Recipes, Rice, Side Dish

This rice takes me back to my childhood.  To this day, it is one of the dishes my mom makes for me when we go visit.  I love the aroma of the needles when they are toasting and the combinations with the rice is really good.  Hope you like it.

1/2 cup of angel hair pasta (you want to break it into pieces)

1 c long grain white rice (you can substitute with other types of rice)

2 T minced onion

1 clove garlic, minced

2 T vegetable oil (I also like to use olive oil)

1 1/2 t salt 4 cups water (about)

Crunch the angel hair pasta. This it something the kids love to help with!

In a sauce pan, sautee the onions and garlic with the oil. Add the pasta and let it cook a bit. You can tell when it’s done when it is a toasty, dark brown color.

Add the rice and salt.  Then pour water over rice mixture so the water level is 2 fingers higher than the rice (*do not stir the rice after adding the water)

Cook until rice is soft. About 20-25 minutes.  I like to serve it with chopped green onions on top. YUM

Strawberry Pie (Torta de Morango)

Filed under :Brazilian Recipes, Desserts

This fruit pie is very common in brasil.  I remember making this with passion fruit, strawberries, chocolate and  lemon cream.  The dough is basic and can be used for anything your imagination can create.   It is a thick, almost like a short bread cookie dough.  The fillings are creamy and delicious. For this strawberry pie I used 2 fillings. The first one is a lemony creamy filling and the second one (most common in brasil) is a sweetened condensed milk cream.  You can do both like I did, or just add one or the other.  It is delicious.  Enjoy!

For the dough:

2 1/4 c flour

1/4 c water

2 T butter

1 t baking powder

pinch of salt

1 egg

Mix everything together. I usually like to add the water last, that way i can control how much it needs.  Sometimes it won’t take all of the water.  This recipe will make enough for two 9 inch pie or one pie if you choose to cover it.  I like to make the dough, then let it rest in the refrigerator for a little while.  When ready cover the pie pan with half of the dough.  Prickle with a fork and bake it at 350 for about 15 minutes.  Let it cool, then add fillings.

For cream #1:

4 T sugar

2 yolks

2 T lime juice

1 T corn starch (dissolved in 1/2 c water)

In a sauce pan over medium heat, mix all ingredients until thick.  This will be a yellow, lemony taste cream.  Pour into prepared pie pan and refrigerate.

For cream #2:

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 can (same measure of the sweetened condensed milk) of milk

2 T corn starch (dissolved in 1/4 c water)

Mix milks together in a sauce pan, when warm add the dissolved corn starch. Cook, mixing it constantly until it thickens it up.  Add on top of first cream. Refrigerate.

For the strawberries:

Wash and slice strawberries.  Add 3-5 T of sugar on top. (Depending on the sweetness of the strawberries). Let it sit for about 1 hour.  Drain the liquid it forms into a sauce pan.  Reserve the strawberries to top your pie.  When cream is cold, pour strawberries on top.  With the reserved liquid, boil it until it thickens a little bit, then brush the top of the pie with this sauce.

Lemon Loaf Cake (Bolo de Limão)

Filed under :Brazilian Recipes, Desserts

This is a lemony loaf cake that would be great to serve for breakfast or dessert paired with fresh fruits and whipped cream. Yum

1/3 c sour cream

¼ c cream

2 T lemon juice *

1 ½ c flour

1 t baking powder

½ t salt

4 eggs

Zest of 1 lemon (big or 2 small)

1 ½ c sugar

4 T butter

Mix sour cream, cream and lemon juice- set aside

Mix flour and baking powder- set aside

Beat, salt, eggs, zest, sugar then add ½ of sour cream mix, ½
of flour mix, ½ of sour cream mix, melted butter and end on the last ½ of flour

Pour into prepared pan. Bake for about 30-35 minutes or
until tooth pick comes out clean.

Pour half of following liquid on top of warm cake when out
of oven. Turn cake and drizzle the rest.

2 T sugar

3 T water

4 T lemon juice

½ c powder sugar

Warm the water and sugar until sugar dissolves.  Take off heat and add the rest of

* If you want to taste like limão (lime), just swtich lemon juice for lime juice. It works very well!