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JOY OF BAKING

Fruit-filled scones

(Food styling/karoline boehm goodnick; Jonathan wiggs/Globe staff)
By Lisa Yockelson
Globe Correspondent / January 14, 2009

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Makes 12

This beaming batch of scented scones, rich in fruit, their tops crunchy from a light drape of sugar, would be welcome on any breakfast or brunch table. The dough is easy and supple, filled with warm spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice), and a nice mix of sweet and tart dried fruits (golden raisins, apricots, and cranberries). Begin with the flour and spice mixture in a bowl. Add both granulated and brown sugars. With an old-fashioned pastry blender or two blunt knives, cut in the butter. Then stir in the fruit, and add egg and cream to form a dough. Shape two fat disks, cut them into wedges and send them to the oven to turn golden. If you're expecting company and worried about last-minute baking, shape the disks the night before, keep them well covered in the refrigerator, and bake them just before serving. Set out salted butter, wildflower honey, or spoonfuls of apricot preserves. Your warm house will be the most welcome spot in the neighborhood.

4 cups flour
4 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt, preferably fine sea salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2/3 cup golden raisins
2/3 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
3 eggs plus 1 extra yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup cold heavy cream
Extra flour (for shaping)
Extra granulated sugar (for sprinkling)
1. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, salt, and granulated sugar. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Set a sieve over the bowl. Press the brown sugar through it. Whisk it in.

3. Scatter the butter on top. Using two round-bladed table knives or a pastry blender, cut the fat into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles crumbs.

4. With a rubber spatula, stir in the raisins, apricots, cranberries, and walnuts, if using; toss well.

5. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, yolk, vanilla, and cream. Pour the liquids into the dry ingredients. With the rubber spatula, stir to form a dough. Knead it lightly in the bowl for 15 seconds. It will be moderately moist. Divide the dough in half.

6. On a lightly floured surface, form each half into a 6- to 7-inch disk. Place the disks on a lightly floured surface. Using a long, sharp knife, cut each disk into 6 wedges. Arrange 6 scones on each sheet. Sprinkle the tops generously with sugar.

7. Bake the scones for 17 to 19 minutes, or until set. Transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm.