Ants on a log, oatmeal raisin cookies, Waldorf salad, trail mix – these classic favorites just wouldn't be the same without the natural sweetness of California Raisins. For centuries, raisin enthusiasts have found numerous ways to enjoy the sun-dried goodness of this small, but mighty, fruit – from enjoying them as a snacking staple perfect for on-the-go nutrition to adding them into bakery creations as the ultimate versatile ingredient.
According to the Fresno Historical Society, the first National Raisin Day was celebrated on April 30, 1909. In honor of this special day, the California Raisin Marketing Board is sharing the award-winning Raisin and Citrus Scone recipe – a judge favorite at the recent inaugural Pastry Chicago Scone Competition. The competition took place March 17 at the Whole Foods Market South Loop store and featured a range of amateur and student bakers dedicated to creating scone perfection.
"California Raisins are a pantry staple in households around the country, and we are excited to celebrate them by offering new ideas to enjoy an all-time favorite," said Larry Blagg, senior vice president of marketing, California Raisin Marketing Board. "Year-round our industry aims to discover the best and most creative uses for California Raisins. I'm sure the Raisin and Citrus Scone recipe will delight home bakers – just as it did our judges at the Pastry Chicago Scone Competition."
Raisin and Citrus Scones
By Ian Regino, First Place winner of the 2011 Pastry Chicago Amateur/Student Scone Competition
Yields: 12 scones
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour*
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2/3 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter*, chilled and cubed
1 3/4 cups California natural raisins
2/3 cup California golden raisins
Zest of 1 lemon, grated
Zest of 1 orange, grated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract*
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Egg wash; as needed
Turbinado sugar; as needed for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line baking sheet with parchment; set aside. Sift flour, baking powder and baking soda together into mixing bowl. Add sugar and salt; mix well.
By hand with pastry blender or 2 table knives, or with mixer fitted with paddle attachment on low speed; cut butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in raisins and citrus zest.
In a small bowl, whisk vanilla and buttermilk together; add to dry ingredients, stirring until soft dough forms. Turn onto floured work surface and roll out to 1-inch thick. Cut with 3-inch round biscuit or cookie cutter and arrange on prepared baking sheet. Brush tops with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake at 400 degrees F until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.
Serve piping hot right from the oven or cool and store to reheat and serve later.
*King Arthur all-purpose flour, Plugra European-Style unsalted butter, and Nielsen Massey vanilla extract are recommended.
For more inspiration on celebrating National Raisin Day and to peruse hundreds of California Raisin recipes, visit www.LoveYourRaisins.com. Raisin fans can also "like" California Raisins at www.Facebook.com/CaliforniaRaisins.