Saturday, April 19, 2008

CI Scones

Many people swear by Cooks Illustrated. I have mixed feelings, however. I've found their recipes to be successful but not always rights (more on that in a second), and their product reviews to be be driven by availability moreso than true objectivity.

Yesterday I had a catering gig where I provided scones and brownies. For the scones I used the CI "can't miss" recipe for blueberry scones. They tasted fine but everyone agreed that they were coffee cake and not scones. Traditionally scones are dry. My usual version is a bit moist but still that biscuit/dry texture. These were light and fluffy - not a scone! If I wanted a coffee cake I would have made one! The one technique that I picked up from the recipe, however, was to freeze your butter, then grate it into curls. When those mix into your batter they will form little butter pockets (and of course air pockets) when they melt. This is also part of the reason for the coffee cake texture. I'm sure I'll incorporate that technique in other non-scone recipes in the future. And as always - I sprinkled turbinado on top - its a must!


Manggy said...

Ah, CI! And their safe recipes. No mouth-puckering sourness, no fire-alarm heat, no exciting spiciness, no cloying sweetness... Just safe :) But sometimes safe is good (like when you're feeding a lot of people, or a lot of frightened/sensitive people, or kids, or frightened parents of sensitive kids).

I'm intrigued by your statement about the product reviews :) have you seen one of your favored brands in the "not recommended" section?

Rob said...

Occassionally I find one of my favorites in their "not" section, but more likely I have items that they didn't even review because they can't be found at Target. Its a mass market friendly review system. For example, if they were to ever do a review of oils (peanut, walnut, etc). I can guarantee that they'll pick La Tourrange and not LeBlanc. Yet the difference is night and day. Same goes with gadgets and cookware. They'll talk about Calphalon or OXO without even knowing the smaller manufacturers even exist. But in the end their role is to serve the masses, and my role is to serve those who care. (how about that for a pretentious statement!) :)