Monday, June 2, 2008

Raspberry Almond "Scuffins"


What are "scuffins"? Before you start poring through your culinary dictionaries or looking up the term on your favorite search engine (Disclaimer: I didn't look it up so I have no idea what you'll find!), let me say that it's a term I made up by colliding "scone" and "muffin." To me, the texture of these big boys is a perfect cross between the tender muffin and the more buttery, crumbly scone. So, for lack of a better, more dignified term, I dubbed them "scuffins."


The original manifestation of this recipe came from Heidi Swanson's wonderful site 101 Cookbooks, where it began its life called, "Raspberry Mega Scones." As I lacked some of the called-for ingredients and had others I wanted to incorporate, I manipulated a perfectly good recipe to suit the contents of my cupboard and ended up producing something that may or may not bear significant resemblance to the original incarnation.


Further, in accommodating the preferences of a certain beloved family member (you know who you are, honey), who dislikes the flavor of lemon in baked goods, I swapped out the lemon and replaced it with almond. (I personally love the match between raspberries and lemon and lemon itself in almost anything, but the things we do for love. . . .)




I rather like the combination of raspberry and almond, and I think it's a perfectly natural pairing. I hope you'll agree.



Raspberry Almond "Scuffins"



1 cup whole wheat flour

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons baking powder

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 stick butter, cubed

11/4 cups whole milk

1 teaspoon pure almond extract

Raspberry preserves (as much as needed to cover dough)


Glaze:

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

1 tablespoon half-and-half

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted, for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a large baking sheet with butter or line with parchment.


In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.


Make a well in the center of the crumbs and add the milk and almond extract. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients until the dough comes together. Try not to overhandle the dough. If there are a lot of dry crumbs remaining, add a bit more milk, a half teaspoon at a time.


Divide dough in half and place one half on a piece of floured parchment or Silpat. Pat and roll dough out with a floured rolling pin until it forms a rectangle about 8 inches by 10 inches. Spread raspberry jam generously over dough, leaving a 1/4-inch margin on all sides.


Carefully fold the dough lengthwise into thirds, as if you were folding a letter to fit inside a business-size envelope. The easiest way to do this is to bring up the sides of the parchment or Silpat and use them to help fold the dough and then transfer the completed scuffin to the prepared baking sheet.


Repeat with the remaining piece of dough. Place the scuffins side by side on the baking sheet, allowing about 2 to 3 inches between them.


Brush the scuffins with some milk or cream and sprinkle with sugar, if desired. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown and baked through.


If the scuffins have spread enough that they are touching, insert a knife or spatula between them when they come out of the oven to separate them, or they will pull apart as they cool.


Cool ten minutes on pan, then transfar to rack and cool completely.


While the scuffins are cooling, prepare glaze. Combine confectioners' sugar, half-and-half, and extract in a small bowl and stir with a fork until desired consistency is reached. If necessary, adjust consistency by adding small amounts of confectioners' sugar or half-and-half.


When scuffins are cool, drizzle glaze over. Sprinkle with sliced almonds. Let glaze dry, then slice and eat.



Makes two large scuffins.

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