Very Vanilla Scones

I ended up making scones tonight because my sister wanted a dessert after dinner. She commented I hadn't made scones for a while (I used to make them about once a week) so we decided on that, since they're quick and easy. They sort of look like an invading army in the photo though. My original name for them included an expletive, but I decided to settle for alliteration in the final version. Woe.

I used the scone recipe from the Betty Crocker cookbook (Classy, I know.) as a base, as I almost always do. I substituted margarine for butter and soy milk for half and half because we hate ourselves my sister can't eat dairy products. Even so, there is only one place in town I know that makes better scones, and I'm sure they're not dairy-free.

I used vanilla sugar for all three tablespoons of the sugar the recipe called for, added a teaspoon of vanilla, which I adjusted for by adding less milk, and scraped the seeds out of two Tahitian vanilla beans. Two whole beans may have been a bit excessive, but I have nearly 50 of them. I had intended to make vanilla vodka and vanilla extract, but I don't have enough money to justify buying the alcohol, so I'm very generous with the vanilla in baking instead.

I considered putting candied ginger pieces in the scones, as a sort of replacement for the currants, but ended up not doing it. If I were really smart, I would have put the ginger in half of them. Maybe I'll try it next time. As is, they were extremely good. They taste a lot like these butter cookies my sister and I used to eat -- they taste sort of like shortbread, but with vanilla, and they're shaped as rings with scalloped edges. Only the scones are warm and soft and don't have that funny preservative taste.

Very Vanilla Scones
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons vanilla sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4-6 tablespoons half and half
1/2 cup candied ginger (optional)

Measure the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Cut the butter in, until it is in pea-sized pieces. Add the egg and vanilla extract and stir, (add the ginger, if desired) then gradually add the half and half until the dough forms a ball in the centre of the bowl. The recipe suggests you knead the dough 15 times, then press it out and cut the scones with a biscuit cutter, but I prefer to just ball up the dough, then form scones by tearing off pieces and dropping it. I suppose I prefer that rustic look. Or I'm just lazy. The recipe also says it makes 15 scones, but I usually make 6-8. I know tea and scones are supposed to be dainty, but making 15 scones from this recipe is only appropriate for a doll's tea party. Bake 10-12 minutes in a 400* oven until the middle is cooked and the tops are golden brown. Spread with jam, butter, or Devon cream and enjoy.