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Golden Scotch Girdle SconesI love how the “Reading and Refreshments” feature on my family’s writing blog, where we read aloud a book together and then review it on the site along with a recipe for a food mentioned in the story, makes me come up with creative dishes and introduces me to new techniques.

A Plate of Scottish Girdle Scones and JamLike these scones, for example.

Ready to make sconesLast month, we read John Buchan’s classic spy thriller, The 39 Steps. After Stevenson’s Kidnapped, I considered it the most perfectly written novel I’ve ever read. And perhaps it is not coincidence that both stories deal with innocent men forced to run for their lives as fugitives from justice . . . across the wilds of Scotland . . . I don’t know. Anyway, I adore the book.

Sift the flour Cut in the butterFurthermore, unlike some novels that we’ve featured before, it wasn’t very hard to find a recipe to bake from it. The protagonist, Richard Hannay, as he recounts the hardships that accompany his effort to evade both the British police (who mistakenly want him for murder) and the villainous “Black Stone” gang (who want to murder him), spends a good deal of time wondering where his next meal is going to come from. Gratitude for a square meal is an emotion that pops up frequently throughout the story.

Add raisinsPour in the milkI don’t think we had even got past chapter two (and Hannay’s first night in Scotland) before we were told: “When I asked for a night’s lodging, she said I was welcome to a ‘bed in the loft,’ and very soon she set before me a hearty meal of ham and eggs, scones, and thick sweet milk.”

Turn dough onto floured surfaceCut out sconesScones! One of my favourite bakes. But I wanted properly Scottish ones, so I nosed around a little on the web and into my cookbooks, and was immediately intrigued by the Scotch tradition of “girdle scones.”

Cooking on the girdleThe term “girdle” means griddle with reference to scones. Because these scones, rather than being baked in an oven, are cooked on a heavy griddle over the stovetop.

Golden scones baking on the girdleNow, this cooking method does require some careful monitoring of the heat source, so that the scones get baked all the way through without scorching on the outside. However, if you are willing to keep an eye on them as they cook and fiddle with the heat as necessary, you will be rewarded with scones gorgeously crisp and golden on the outside, and delectably creamy inside.

A Plate of Finished SconesAnd I don’t know what it is about a cast-iron griddle, but it imparts the most magical flavour to food. Go try it.

Raisin Griddle SconeI suppose the scones would taste even better if you had been fleeing across country before sitting down to a plate of them . . . but aren’t you glad you don’t have to be a fugitive in order to try one of these!

Novel FoodI am sharing these scones with the Novel Food event hosted by Simona Carini at Briciole. I’ve been eyeing the event for some time, but this is my first time to join in. I hope to participate many more times!

AlphaBakes LogoThey are also my submission to this month’s Alphabakes, co-hosted by Ros of The More Than Occasional Baker and Caroline of Caroline Makes. This month Ros is hosting, and the letter was ‘S.’ These Scotch scones certainly fit the bill—twice as a matter of fact.

CookBlogShareI am also linking up with Supergolden Bakes #CookBlogShare event.

family-foodiesAnd finally, I’m sending these over to Family Foodies, co-hosted by Louisa of Eat Your Veg and Vanesther of Bangers and Mash. Lousia is hosting this month’s challenge: “Let’s Get Baking!” Hear, hear!

Serving up Scottish Raisin Girdle Scones and JamRaisin Girdle Scones

“Girdle” is the Scotch variation of griddle. These scones are not baked in the oven, but on a heavy griddle on the stovetop. This cooking method produces a scone that is crisp and golden on the top and bottom, but lovely and creamy on the inside.

Ingredients:

½ lb. all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

½ teaspoon baking soda

3 oz. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes

2 oz. raisins

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

½ cup whole milk

Technique:

  1. Over low heat on the stovetop, start to preheat a heavy pan or griddle.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cream of tartar, and baking soda.
  3. Using your fingertips, rub the cubes of butter into the dry ingredients until large, cornflake-sized pieces remain.
  4. Stir in the raisins and sugar.
  5. Add enough of the milk to form a soft dough. If you need a little more milk than the ½ cup indicated, please do not be afraid to splash in a bit more. The amount you need really depends on how dry your brand of flour is, so don’t worry if you don’t use it all up, or if you have to add in extra.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a lighty floured counter, and roll out into a ½-inch thick circle.
  7. Cut into rounds with a 2 ½-inch cutter. You should get nine scones.
  8. By now your griddle (or pan) should be nice and hot, so drop on a small piece of butter and rub it around the griddle to grease the entire cooking surface.
  9. Place the scones on the griddle and turn down the heat to the lowest possible setting. This way the scones will cook all the way through without browning too much on the outside.
  10. Cook the scones until they are a rich brown on the bottom, 8 to 10 minutes.
  11. Use a spatula to flip them over and continue to cook on the other side until the scones are no longer doughy in the centre, another 10 to 15 minutes. Rotate the scones on the griddle as they cook, as certain parts of the griddle may be hotter than others. If you rotate the scones as they cook, you should be able to avoid uneven colouring.
  12. Remove from the griddle to a platter and let cool for a few minutes before serving. I suggest eating these warm, with loads of butter and your nicest jam.

Yield: 9 scones

Raisin Girdle Scone with Butter and Jam

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