Wednesday 22 August 2012

Special Deliveries for Bolton Food and Drink 2012

Jam Packed...

Two weeks ago I was asked if I would help with a little task. The Marketing and Communications Team at Bolton Council had dreamt up the best idea ever to promote the Bolton Food and Drink Festival 2012. They normally do a press pack for the news desks covering the festival, but this year wanted something a little more 'hands on'. They had decided on afternoon tea in a box, and asked if I would make some scones... 

Special Deliveries for Bolton Food and Drink 2012Now then. I seem to recall that I once made scones at school, although I wouldn't bet my life on it. I don't remember anything more than that! I've read enough cookery books in my time to know how to make the perfect scone in theory, but this meant putting it into practice. That night I got home and started testing recipes. The first was too crumbly. The second lacked flavour and the third didn't have that nice crack round the middle I was looking for. In the end (after much scone soul searching and advice from Twitter - thank you @HarbourHussy...) I decided to look to the queen of baking. Mary.

I used her Very Best Scones recipe and added my own Dolly twist. Best of both worlds. This delivered fantastic, light texture but with the right flavour. I added mixed spice, cinnamon and sultanas and washed my scones with a mixture of egg, milk and caster sugar. Perfect!

Just when I had decided on the right scone recipe, the marketing ladies and I got thinking about biscuits. Always (sometimes stupidly...) up for a challenge, I announced I would make gingernuts! King of biscuits. Crunchy, warming and sweet with a chewy centre. 


Rest assured ladies and gents, extensive testing was done on these products. As you can see from the picture below, we tested with both extra thick double cream and clotted cream, and we even tried the Cornish vs. Devon methods. We liked both.
Special Deliveries for Bolton Food and Drink 2012
Special Deliveries for Bolton Food and Drink 2012

The Recipes 

Spicy Fruit Scones (makes 12)

  • 450g self raising flour
  • 2 heaped teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 75g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 80g sultanas 
  • 2 large eggs - beaten
  • About 225ml milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 220 C/Gas 7 and line two baking trays with baking parchment. Position the oven shelf on the top rung of the middle section. This gives a better rise.
  2. Measure the flour, baking powder and spices into a large bowl.
  3. Rub in the butter until it looks like breadcrumbs.
  4. Stir in the sugar and sultanas.
  5. Beat the eggs in a jug and make up to 300ml with milk. 
  6. Put 2 tbsp of the mix in a small bowl or ramekin and put to one side.
  7. Tip the egg and milk mix into the bowl and mix in with a spatula. 
  8. Only mix until most of the flour has been incorporated. Overworked scones are more useful as a weapon than they are for afternoon tea...
  9. Your dough should stick to your hands. Sticky is good despite how cacky it feels!
  10. Flour a work surface and tip your mix onto it.
  11. With lightly floured hands, give it a quick shape. 
  12. Push it into a thickness of about an inch. 
  13. Use a 3 inch plain round cutter dipped in flour to punch out your scones. Make sure you dip it in flour each time. this helps a neat rise.
  14. Don't go wiggling that cutter around; just straight down with a bit of force and then deposit your scone dough onto the prepared baking sheet. 
  15. Brush each scone with some of the reserved egg and milk mix and sprinkle with a sniff of caster sugar.
  16. Bake for about 10-15 minutes (mine took 13...) and leave to cool on a wire rack covered with a clean tea towel. Do them in two batches to allow them to rise properly.

Eat on the same day and serve with jam and clotted cream, in whichever order you prefer...

Gingernuts (makes 30)

  • 350g self raising flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 75g golden syrup
  • 1 medium egg - beaten
  • Zest of half a large orange
  1. Preheat the oven to 165 C/Gas 3 and line a baking tray with baking parchment. 
  2. Melt the syrup and butter over a low heat, then put to one side.
  3. Add all the dry ingredients to a large bowl.
  4. Tip in the syrup mixture and give it a quick stir.
  5. Add the beaten egg and orange zest and stir briskly.
  6. The dough will start to come together with little bits yet to be incorporated. Worry not. 
  7. Give it a quick squidge (yes, that technical culinary term) with your hands. 
  8. Roll the dough into 30 little balls and flatten them slightly.
  9. Put your first 12 on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with caster sugar.
  10. Bake for 15-20 minutes (mine took 18...)
  11. Use a palette knife to move the biscuits from the baking sheet to the cooling rack. They should be firm enough to move but still be quite soft. They will firm up. Promise.
  12. Put your next batch over the same baking parchment - there will be little marks where your last ones were so you know they are evenly spaced! You won't get any burnt bits as the oven is on a low temperature. 
These will last for about 3 days in an airtight container.

The Finished Products 

Well considering I haven't made scones before (apart from that one possible occasion in Home Ec?) I was quite pleased with the outcome. A nice fluffy fruit scone with lots of strawberry jam and cream. The gingernuts also got an excellent response from my work guinea pigs! (Note: No animals were force-fed biscuits. That is my affectionate name for my colleagues. Although, I did have a rabbit who was partial to ginger...)
Scones for Bolton Food and Drink 2012
Gingernuts for Bolton Food and Drink 2012
Gingernuts for Bolton Food and Drink 2012

Delivery Day

This morning I loved watching the tweets coming in as the recipients opened their box of goodies! Key 103 were eating their scone whilst on air, Lucy Meacock at ITV tweeted a picture of her afternoon tea, Jane Lavender and Melanie Wallwork at The Bolton News reported a happy newsroom, BBC 5 Live's Sam Walker was all excited about receiving hers, Capital FM's Rob Ellis tweeted a picture of his delivery and Paul Britton from the Manchester Evening News was chuffed with his surprise!

It's been lovely bringing a little happiness to an average Wednesday at work!
Special Deliveries for Bolton Food and Drink 2012Special Deliveries for Bolton Food and Drink 2012
Special Deliveries for Bolton Food and Drink 2012
Have a look at my earlier post on Food Festival events for the full itinerary, 'like' the Facebook page and use the Twitter hashtag #BoltonFoodFest to join in the chatter! See you at the weekend!

Please leave your thoughts and comments below... x


  1. What a fantastic idea! They look brilliant

  2. tee hee, I like that you liked both cornish and devon scones!

  3. Great job on these! The scones look delicious! Nothing beats a nice scone with jam and cream :)

  4. I'm a big scone fan, they're just so yummy, quick and easy to bake, even in a tent!

    Well done Dolly!


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