Sunday, August 21, 2011

Blueberry and Orange Scones

We use credit cards for most payments and that means we rarely use cash for purchases. It is convenient and every dollar we pay gets us an airline mile. Pretty good because these airline miles obviously get us free air tickets. I have not given any more thought than free miles while using these rewards credit cards. We pay a yearly service charge and assumed that is fair since we get the perk of collecting airline miles.

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Everything would have been fine and nary a second thought given to it but for the fact that we had to dig deep down to figure out how these charges work. Let's say you purchase something using a simple credit card i.e one with no rewards, the merchant pays what is called a qualified charge which is a certain percentage of the purchase price to the credit card company as fees.

The rewards cards trigger a higher percentage of fee to be paid by the merchant. The fee is split with varying formulas between the issuing bank (the bank through which you get your cc) and the acquiring bank (the merchant's bank). These are collectively called interchange fees.

There is a dizzying array of price structures and most merchants bite the cost for the privilege of accepting cards. Why did I even bring up this topic? Before our forced analysis I was under the impression that the credit card companies/banks were shelling out a portion of their profits as rewards . Wrong! It is the merchants who pay the fee and hence bites the cost. Who pays the merchant? You and me! So guess who is paying for these rewards? We the customer! Merchants no doubt pass the cost of this overhead on to the customer through increased prices.

ready to bake

It is always good to remember the adage "Nothing is free"! The next time I use miles to get a free airline ticket it is not going to be as sweet.

fresh out of the oven

Here is a link to a picture if you are interested in how these charge work - Courtesy Wiki.

Now that I have made everyone a little less happy about the so called free rewards, we will move on to the recipe which is never going to displease you no matter what.

Regular readers of this blog know that baking is not one of my strengths. Winging it does not take you far in the baking department. But there is very little that can really go wrong with this particular recipe. If I can bake a flaky scone that also tasted great so can you. The recipe card like the one for these Raspberry Paletas was picked up by DD from a grocery store. She was behind me to buy the ingredients and stopped only when all of them were bought. She and DD2 did most of the measuring, mixing and I stepped in to shape the dough. Need I tell you I am proud of the results.

Blueberry and Orange Scones
1. 2 1/2 leveled cups of unbleached all purpose flour
2. 1/3 cup or 5 1/3 tbsp of unsalted butter
3. 1/2 cup of sugar + 1 tbsp of sugar
4. 1 tbsp of orange zest (the recipe called for 3 tbsp of orange rind)
5. 3/4 cup of dried blueberries
6. 1/4 tsp of salt
7. 1 tbsp baking powder
8. 1 1/4 cups + 1/4 cup of whipping cream

1. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt into a mixing bowl. Add in sugar and orange zest. Preheat the oven to 425F.
2. Cut the chilled butter into smaller pieces and add them to the flour and with the tip of your fingers mix the butter into the flour so it resembles bread crumbs.
3. Add in the blueberries to the flour mixture and toss around followed by 1 1/4 cups of whipping cream. Gently mix the cream into the flour so the flour is moistened.
4. Transfer the dough onto to a floured surface and gently knead it a couple of times. Separate the dough into 2-3 parts and pat it into 6-8 inch rounds with about 1/2 inch thickness and cut into equal size wedges.
5. Place the wedges on a greased cookie sheet covered. Using the remaining 1/4 cup whipping cream brush the wedges and sprinkle the 2 tbsp sugar on top.
6. Bake for 15 minutes till the top turns lightly brown.
7. Remove and cool completely.

1. Fresh blueberries or cranberries can be used.


  1. Thats wonderful and so flavorful love blueberry and orange combination..

  2. I knew that merchants pay to allow customers to use credit cards (since several stores in India charge additional 3 to 5% if we use credit cards) but had no idea that they even pay for the rewards!

    During the famous five and secret seven days i had always imagined scones very differently.. it's been so long since i made them last. These look fabulous.

  3. Utlimate combo for scones,i dont bother to have them for my breakfast..

  4. Yes scones are straight out Enid Blyton books only, not to be made at home. that is until you said it is doable :)

  5. There's no such thing as a free lunch is there!!! The scones look delicious .

  6. Blueberry orange scones...count me in! These look delicious! Also, good point about the reward miles and credit cards... I never thought of it that way before.

  7. Kudos to your two budding bakers- the scones look delicious!

    I am one of those people who is too simple-minded for complexities like rewards etc. I have a basic credit card, just one, have had it for over 9 years, it charges me nothing, I pay off balance every month (using plastic only for convenience, not for actual credit), it gives me no rewards or nothin'- end of story :)


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