cookies vs. scones
Perhaps I'm too much a fan of the blog Cooking for Engineers, but I'm going to subject you, my faithful readers, to more analysis of bakery recipes. Last time it was New York City Black and White Cookies, and this time it's oatmeal raisin scones and cookies.
In a spur-of-the-moment desire for scones yesterday, I made New Joy's recipe for oatmeal raisin scones. They're not exactly a classic recipe, since they use melted butter instead of solid butter, but they were very good. Had another one for breakfast this morning, with tea and the Times. But I got to thinking, how is an oatmeal-raisin scone like, or not like, an oatmeal-raisin cookie? The ingredient lists are almost the same: flour, eggs, butter, oatmeal, etc., but the proportions are quite different. So today, I whipped up a spreadsheet to compare the two recipes. I converted the volume measurements (cups, teaspoons) that American cooks like to use to weights, and rescaled the scone recipe so that the total weight of all the ingredients was the same. Here are the summary results, in ounces (for a 3-pound recipe):
The first thing to notice are the things that are about the same. The amount of eggs, raisins, and salt were basically identical. There's a bit more fat in the scones (!), and a little more flour and a little less oats. I imagine you could trade off the flour and oats in the cookie recipe to get breadier cookies, but replacing the flour in the scones with more oats might cause them not to stick together as well.
And then there are the big differences. Cookies have three times as much sugar as the scones. Scones have milk in them; the only real liquid (aside from that in the eggs and butter) in the cookies is a bit of vanilla. Scones have a lot more leavening; 2 T of baking powder, compared with 1 1/2 t of baking powder and soda for a cookies. As a result of the additional liquid and rising power, scones rise like bisuits, with a fluffy interior, while cookies melt into flat discs.
There you have it. Recipes and spreadsheets available upon request!