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Buttermilk Scones Sweetness & Shortening

Asked by StuartG. Answered on 4th February 2011

Full question

Good Morning. I made the Buttermilk scones from 'Kitchen' and whilst I agree they are super quick and looked fantastic when they came out of the oven I have to say I was disappointed somewhat. There was no sweetness to them at all and there was no tang from the buttermilk. 2 tsp of sugar as advised in the recipe doesn't seem a lot. Should it be tablespoons? I know I made the cardinal sin of using butter and Trex straight from the supermarket fridge (i was despereate to try them) but that wouldn't affect the sweetness - surely only the texture. I would like to make them again but would like to know if it's just my tastebuds or perhaps I should be adjusting the sweetness myself or maybe adding some fruit to give them natural sweetness. Best Regards, Stuart

Hello! I want to bake Buttermilk scones from "Kitchen", however I cannot find any vegetable shortening in shops in Finland :( How can I substitute it (25 g.)? I saw something like coconut fat, would that be a good choice? Or should i just stick to butter? Thanks! Marta

Our answer

The buttermilk in the scones only gives a very slight tang, not a pronounced one It is used mainly as its acidity helps to produce a tender crumb and also acts with the bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) to help the scones top rise. Sweetness of the scones is slightly up to personal taste. As Nigella suggests serving them with cream and jam, the scone itself does not want to be too sweet. However if you do like a sweeter scone you can certainly increase the amount of sugar in the mixture, 2 tablespoons is fine and you can use up to 50g/2 oz/1/4 cup/4 tablespoons for this amount of flour. We would caution using more than this though as the higher quantities of sugar will make the scones brown more quickly and the outside will burn before the inside is cooked properly.

The fat can be chilled or at room temperature but rubs in slightly more easily at room temperature. You can use an extra 25g of butter instead of vegetable shortening, the scones may have a slightly denser crumb and be slightly less flaky but they will still be delicious.

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