TIPS & TRICKS
Stop shouting "THOSE ARE NOT SCONES!" (as you look at the posted picture). If you've ever spent time in Utah, you won't bat an eye at calling these fried pieces of scrumptiousness Scones. But if you live anywhere else and have never eaten along the Wasatch front, you may be wondering what on earth I'm doing referring to these as scones. Let me humor you...
These, to the nearly 3 million Utahans, are called scones (you, on the other hand might consider them something more like Elephant Ears or Fry Bread?). In fact, many folks who've never lived outside the state (of Utah) have absolutely no clue that the scones consumed by the rest of the world are anything other than this. I googled the topic of the "Utah Scone" and came up with so many stories and hypothesis and attempts at explaining everything under the sun that I decided the best approach was to attempt my own little explanation:
For some reason, in Utah (and even some LDS communities in Idaho), the scone is a deep fried yeast bread.... completely removed and absolutely nothing like the scone the rest of the world knows - a dense, slightly sweet, crumbly little biscuit thing. The Utah scone is usually served as a dessert with Honey Butter and/or powdered sugar and jam, but is also regularly used in a dish called Najavo Tacos where the base of the "Taco" is the scone, and the toppings consist of anything you'd find on a taco salad (ground beef with taco seasoning, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, cheese, salsa, sour cream, etc.). The normal British-style scone (as aforementioned) is rarely even referred to in the state of Utah. If you mentioned to a friend you were having "scones", they'd want to know what time to come over for the frying and what sweet toppings to bring. Many link the Utah Scone to the Indian Fry Bread, but there are just as many arguments against that link as there are for it. So I won't try to link it to anything. I'll just say it is what it is.
Some people really don't believe me when I tell them about Utah Scones (being that I live in the Northwest and people consume scones by the dozen here with their morning cup o' Joe), but it's true. I spent years in Utah and my sweet hubby is from there, as are many relatives and friends and I tell you - the Utah Scone is not to be missed. But it's also not to be confused with the standard scones the rest of the world eats. Just enjoy it for what it is and don't be mad that it stole the name from something else. If you were to ask me? This one is hands down the better of the two. Granted, I don't normally like biscuits. So it's easy to like a doughnut wannabe than to try and like a biscuit that's trying to be a treat.
Total Time to Complete Recipe: 20 min (+2 - 6 hr raising time)
Active cook/prep time: 20 min
Inactive cook/prep time: 2 - 6 hr
Special Equipment Needed: Deep fryer or large heavy pan for frying, pizza cutter (or similar)
- Any favorite yeast dough will work well for this recipe. When in a pinch, I just grab a bag of frozen yeast rolls (such as Rhodes Rolls), and let them rise on the counter for the afternoon. But you could easily make it with any number of sweet yeast dough bases such as the one from my Pizza Loaf or Croissant (Shaped) Rolls. There is one recipe I found online that looks like a great dough, I think I'll try it next time.
- Cutting is much easier with a pizza cutter.
- Once you roll the dough out and cut it, don't smash it down any more or stretch it before throwing it in the hot oil. If you do, it won't puff up large. It'll still fry, it'll just keep flatter rather than puffing up big like you want.
- Frying Tips:
- Use a good frying oil that has a high smoke point such as Safflower or Canola (ie don't use Olive Oil).
- If you have an oil thermometer, you want your oil between 350 - 375 F. Any cooler and your food will absorb the oil (yuck!!), any hotter and you'll burn the oil (yuck!!).
- No oil thermometer: Your oil is ready when a 1" cube of white bread is browned in 60 seconds.
- Be careful not to over heat your oil or you'll ruin it (ie don't let it actually start smoking).
- Only cook a couple items at a time. Too many items in the oil at once will reduce the temperature of your oil and make consistant frying difficult.
- Flip/remove as soon as golden. Their color will darken slightly when removed from the oil, so just be careful not to get them too golden while frying.
- Have a drain plate (ie plate or cooling rack covered in paper towels).
- As mentioned, these can be consumed with either sweet or savory toppings. Both approaches are wonderful - but I'm a true fan of the sweetly devoured scone... fried hot just out of the oil and served with tuns of Honey Butter.
- Prepare a drain plate and set aside.
- Split dough into two equal parts. Take one part and roll out on a flat floured surface to approximately 1/4" thick. Using a pizza cutter, cut rolled dough into pieces approximately 3" - 4" each.
- Heat oil in large heavy pan to 350 - 375 F over medium-high heat. Once temperature is achieved, reduce heat slightly.
- Carefully place two or three scones in the oil. Cook for a couple minutes, or until slightly golden and flip. Cook an additional couple minutes until slightly golden and remove immediately to your prepared drain plate.
- Repeat cooking, two or three scones at a time, until all dough has been fried.
- Serve hot with desired toppings.
Recipe Origins: my childhood