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Albion Manor Scones

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Much thanks to Deborah Zimmer who finally gave me the kicking to get this done. When we first bought the Manor, I was really worried about the scones. It seemed that every B&B had exactly the perfect recipe for scones and the reputation of the B&B would be destroyed if they were not perfect. So I fretted about following a recipe and getting the amount just exactly right. But then you find that your blood pressure has gone up and you're starting to twitch and you've thrown a pot at one of the guests. And all because you might have put in a bit too little or too much flour or not quite enough baking powder. This recipe has evolved to the point where everyone, the guests and I, can just relax and do it. Amounts have to be approximately right, but it's no big deal if you are off by a bit.

3 cups flour- (my cups are never exact, always a bit over- you just scoup a cupful out of the bin)
1/2 cup sugar (again, just a scoupful)
3 tsp baking powder (more or less, but I usually use a bit more)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup really good quality margarine (or you can use butter, but we try to make healthy choices, don't we)

1 cup butter milk (I try to get this one exact, especially if using juice from an orange or lemon)
grated peel from one lemon (or one orange)
juice from half of one lemon (or one orange)
1 egg

beat the above together in a bowl.

If you can prep the liquid ingredients before hand and let them sit overnight, the flavours are much better.

Mix the dry things together. I use a Chinese seive, one of those things that they use to scoup things out of the wok, to mix all the ingredients together. Then add the marg to make a piecrust like dough using your fingers to work in the marg. Then add the second bunch. Add whatever else you want to add: pecans, currents, cranberries, ginger, about a handful. I have started to using orange rind, juice and chocolate chips. I don’t use raisins - too common, doesn't impress the guest.

This is when you have to think a bit. If the dough is way too sticky, mix in a bit more flour. Carefully- the dough will be a bit sticky, but you should be able to get it out of the bowl. You can't add more liquid and you musn't overwork the dough. Sprinkle a bit of flour onto a surface and press out the dough. Don’t work it too much. Use your cooker cutter, any shape, or a glass with straight sides, dipping it into flour between each use and put the scones on a baking tray. Brush with a beaten egg. Bake at 400 degrees for 16, 17, 18 minutes, depends on your oven. Well, it doesn't depend on your oven, it depends on my oven which will one day leave them as uncooked gobs of dough after 20 minutes and the next day turn out charrred chunks of rock after 12.

The latest addition is to dip sugar cubes into orange juice and press them into the top just before putting them in the oven which I got from some magazine I think but I can't remember which one.