Scones with Anne Voytko

Anne Voytko drops a Scottish scone into the skillet.

HERMISTON - "This is so easy it's ridiculous," Anne Voytko says as she pats a lumpy ball of dough out into a circle on a floured board.

She picks up a dough scraper and deftly cuts the circle into eighths, then drops the wedges into an ungreased skillet.

"You flip them just like you would pancakes," she says, suiting the action to the words.

A few minutes later she picks one up and breaks it in half, checking to see that it's done.

"It shouldn't look like dough," she says. "These need another minute." Like magic, the lumpy wedges of dough are transformed into crisp, lightly browned scones. Anne slides them onto a dish and sets them on the table next to the butter and a dish of her three-minute apricot jam.

"I like making them, seeing how they're going to come out, how they're different than the others. I just like baking," Anne says.

Though she grew up in British Columbia, the most British of the Canadian provinces, Anne didn't taste her first scone until a few years ago, at the house of a friend in Creston, B.C.

"She served mountains of the Scotch scones with an assortment of jams and butter. They tasted nice," Anne says.

Since then whenever she sees a recipe for scones she tries it out. Her friends help by clipping recipes to add to her collection. Anne has made dozens of different kinds of scones, but the Scotch scones from Creston remain one of her favorites.

She flips through her "little Bible book," a spiral-bound notebook filled with handwritten recipes, many of them for scones.

"It's surprising how different each one is. I've made them with orange peel, with coconut. There's zillions of recipes," Anne says.

Scones freeze well, Anne says. She cools hers on a rack, the places them in a Ziplock bag and presses the air out before putting them in the freezer, where they will keep for up to three months. Before serving she warms them in the microwave for a minute or two.

"But if you serve them warm to a group of people who like scones, they won't last long," Anne says.

These are the first scones Anne ever tasted, and she still thinks they are one of the best. To prevent scorching, pat them out no more than one-half inch thick.

1 cup white flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 pound margarine

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup raisins or currants

Mix together the flour, baking power, sugar and salt. Cut in the margarine as for pie crust, until the mixture is the size of coarse crumbs. Combine the eggs, milk and vanilla. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the liquids and the raisins or currants. Stir with a fork until just moist. Pat out on a floured board into 2 circles about one-quarter inch thick and cut into 6 or 8 wedges. Bake on an ungreased griddle at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, turning once, until golden brown.

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