`Baking 9-1-1': Cookbook comes to the rescue


November 12, 2003|By Sara Engram | Sara Engram,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Have you vowed that this year you will perfect those holiday cookies or make half a dozen of those "quick and easy" cakes?

Now, just in time for holiday baking, comes Baking 9-1-1: Rescue From Recipe Disasters - Answers to Your Most Frequently Asked Baking Questions, Plus 40 Recipes for Every Baker (Simon & Schuster, 2003, $14).

Author Sarah Phillips is proprietor of a baking-mix company, seller of specialty foods and founder of www. baking911.com. In this book, she answers questions about common baking mishaps and gives advice on equipment, ingredients and techniques.

Flaky Tart Red-Cherry Scones

Makes 6 to 8 scones

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; spoon into measuring cup and level to top

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup heavy cream, room temperature; measure in liquid measuring cup

1/2 cup dried tart red cherries or raisins

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the butter into 1-inch cubes and refrigerate it for 30 minutes or freeze it for 10 minutes to get really cold.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Sprinkle the chilled butter over the flour mixture and toss with a spoon. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with two knives (in a scissor motion) or a pastry blender until the butter pieces are no larger than small peas.

With your fingertips, press the butter into the flour so it forms large flakes. If the butter becomes greasy, chill until hardened. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the cream.

With a large spoon, mix in the cream until the dough is just moistened and looks shaggy. Add the cherries. Stir a couple of strokes past shaggy until the dough starts to come together. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough just holds together. Pat the dough into an 8-inch square, 1/2 -inch thick. Cut it into triangles and bake on an ungreased or parchment-paper-lined baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes until puffy, the edges and the tops lightly browned. Take the scones from the oven and cool on a wire cake rack. Serve warm.

Note: For a more cakelike scone, use 1 cup of heavy cream instead of 3/4 cup and work the dough very lightly.

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