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When you think of scones, you may be picturing European scones with clotted cream and jam. You never really associate scones with something you could eat when you have a major sweet tooth. Well, it is about time that changed. Utah scones are golden brown and covered with powdered sugar and honey butter, everything you could ever dream of for a nice, sweet treat.
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What Are Utah Scones?
Utah scones are very different when compared to their namesake or related food. Scones will typically be a cookie or biscuit-related item of food, however, in Utah, they are fried dough that is served hot and garnished with a huge array of sweet and delicious toppings.
A lot of people say that scones are more of a crossover between donuts and Fry Bread. The most traditional way to eat these tasty treats is with powdered sugar and honey butter, yet there is always room to add more sweet toppings to your scone.
The dough puffs up when it is fried which creates a perfect balance between the soft and chewy interior and the crispy, golden brown exterior. While that already sounds amazing, the option to add whatever sweet toppings you want to it makes it an even better deal. This might seem like a lot of powdered sugar, yet similar to the rest of the world, scones are still passed off as a breakfast item. This means that even scones can be enjoyed at the crack of dawn, if you have a major sweet tooth, that is.
What Do Utah Scones Taste Like?
Utah scones, as you can imagine, vary in how they taste depending on what toppings were used. Despite being easily manipulated by the toppings, the flavor of a natural Utah scone without any toppings is still quite sweet and delicious. The dough is made similar to the dough for a donut, so it is already sweet. The main flavor you will get is just sweet bread.
Once you start to add toppings and sauces is where the flavor develops and will change drastically. The scone, despite being sweet, will become the most savory item there once you add toppings so it breaks up the sweet repetition of the flavors and also has a nice chewy and doughy texture.
How To Make Utah Scones
Making scones is actually a lot easier than you may have initially thought. There is also no rising time for the dough so you do not have to wait for it to rest for a few hours before using it. However, it is recommended that you let it rest for 15-20 minutes in the fridge after making it just to allow the gluten to relax.
Making The Dough
To make the dough for your scones you will need;
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 1/3 cups white flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons white powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon instant or active dry yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup warmed milk (can be any type of milk but whole milk is what I used)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil + more oil for frying
Firstly, you will want to mix together your melted butter and milk in a bowl and set them aside. The melted butter and the milk should be warm but not hot. In a separate large bowl, mix together your powdered sugar, flour, baking powder, yeast, and salt. Whisk these until they are combined. Slowly add your liquid mixture to this bowl and continuously mix this with a wooden spoon until your dough forms.
Once you have a rough, shaggy, and tacky dough, you will want to flour both your hands and your work surface. Initially, your dough should be sticky but not so sticky that you are unable to work with it. You will want to knead your dough until it is shaped into a ball and only knead it a few times, you must be careful to not over-work your dough.
In the mixing bowl, you previously used, add your tablespoon of vegetable oil and rub it around the bottom and the lower half of the bowl. Once this is done, add your dough and roll it around to properly coat it in this oil. Once your dough is lightly but recently coated, place a kitchen towel over the bowl and allow it to rest for 20 minutes. We are not waiting for the dough to rise but instead are allowing the gluten to rest, this will give it the perfect texture when we fry it.
Preparing The Dough
Now that you have your dough, you will want to begin the process of frying it. Before this can happen, there is some preparation that must be done. Firstly, add 1 inch of your preferred cooking oil to a large cast iron pot and heat this to 350 degrees F.
Divide your dough into 8 equal portions. This can be done by halving your dough, halving it again, and then forming 4 triangles. These triangles can then be cut in half to leave you with 8 triangles of rested dough. After this, lightly flour your hands and work one piece of dough at a time. You will want to work the dough into a circle with just your hands that is around 5-6 inches. It does not need to be a perfect circle. Get each dough portion into this shape, and make them as thin as possible without ripping the dough.
Frying The Dough
Now that you have your 8 thin circles of dough, it is time to fry them into the beloved Utah scone shape that we are all familiar with.
You will want to fry one piece of dough at a time and be very careful to not overcook it. Place one piece in gently and allow it to cook for 30-60 seconds on one side and then flip and cook the other side. Once the whole piece is golden brown, you can remove it with a slotted spoon. Repeat this for all the pieces of dough and allow them to rest on a paper towel-lined plate. You can choose to fry these in whatever oil you want, just beware of peanut oil and coconut oil as they may flavor the dough slightly. The best options are vegetable oil, olive oil, and canola oil.
Now that your dough is fresh out of the fryer, you can add your toppings. I will leave that part up to you as that is half of the fun. You can go the traditional route of honey butter and powdered sugar fried scones, or you can opt for more sugary and exotic-looking fried scones.
No matter what toppings you choose, you will have a delicious scone with a soft dough center and a sugary treat exterior.
Difference Between Fry Bread And Utah Scones
As mentioned, scones are very often compared to Fry Bread. This comparison can sometimes lead you to confuse the two with each other. There are thankfully a lot of differences that can help you differentiate between the two, should you need to.
Fry Bread is used as an ingredient in a meal. It is typically there to replace bread or tortillas for sandwiches and tacos respectively. This means that fry bread can be used as a substitute for a lot of starchy and doughy food items. Fry bread is also a savory item so it can be used alongside soup or chili to be dunked into them and eaten. Because of this, fry bread pairs with a lot of savory dishes and is often not seen in the same category as a Utah scone.
Scones are incredibly sweet. As soon as they are finished cooking, they are drizzled and covered with honey or powdered sugar. While those two are easily the most popular toppings to have on a Utah scone, a lot of people enjoy experimenting and trying other toppings too. Some of the other toppings used on a Utah scone are;
- Honey Butter
- Pancake Syrup
- Vanilla sauce
- Maple Syrup
- powdered sugar
- Cinnamon Sugar
- Chocolate Syrup
The combination of these toppings is almost endless and technically any topping can be used and as long as it is sweet, it will probably work. The only caveat to scones is that they are very sickly and can only be enjoyed sometimes if you have an insane sweet tooth that you need to satisfy. As you can imagine, kids absolutely adore these things.
Storing Utah Scones
Utah scones, similar to a lot of bread-like products, are very prone to going stale. This happens when the moisture content in the air mixes with the food and causes the yeast in it to crystalize to a certain degree, hence why it gets harder. The sweet toppings used with scones have such a high sugar content that they are not to be worried about. The scone itself will be gone off before the toppings are, so you only have to concern yourself with the scone.
Scones can be left on the counter similar to bread but should be in a breadbin or an airtight container so that they last longer. They will last 3 days on the counter before they start to decrease in quality and texture, this is the time when you want to get rid of them.
If you want to store your Utah scones for a while longer, they can be kept in the fridge. Colder temperatures will slow down, or completely stop bacterial growth which will keep your food fresher for longer. To avoid mold spores or contamination from other food, it is still recommended that you store these in an airtight container. For extra protection, you can also wrap them in plastic wrap. The scones will last up to a week in the fridge before there is a noticeable decline in quality.
For the longest-term storage possible, you can freeze scones. This can be done easily and will let you store them for up to three months. To prevent freezer burn, it is best to store them in an airtight container and wrap them with plastic wrap. While the freezer allows them to stay fresh for up to 3 months, there might be a noticeable difference in how the sweet toppings feel after they have been frozen, it might be better to either eat them while they are in the fridge or just discard them instead of freezing them.
How To Tell If Utah Scones Have Gone Bad?
As scones are a sweet treat, they take a while to go really bad as the powdered sugar helps preserve them. However, despite this, they do eventually go bad. The first thing that will go bad is the scone as it is dough and will go stale. Once the dough goes stale, the treat is still edible. Yet, it will be less enjoyable to eat as the texture will have significantly decreased in quality from what it was before.
There are ways to tell if your Utah scone has gone bad, and most of these ways are by utilizing your smell. When food starts to decay or go bad, it is because of a build-up of bacteria. Thankfully, bacteria produce quite a bad odor once it reaches a level that would be harmful to people. This odor is what will help you know if your scone has gone off or not. The scone is naturally sweet and so are the toppings, so if you smell anything sour or unpleasant then it means the scone is gone off.
Alongside smell, you can sometimes see if an item of food has gone off. This is because gone off food is prone to going moldy. Mold spores in the air can sometimes get on your food, and if the temperature and climate are right, these spores can grow with bacteria and produce visible mold on your food. If you see any mold at all, throw away the entire thing. You cannot just cut the mold off and expect the rest of the food to be okay.