Way back when, I posted the scones I think almost anyone should make and the scones I love the most. I managed to never get around to posting the scones I actually make the most, however, at least until now. Why do I make these the most? They’re sturdy and delicious and easy to modify. They also happen to be my spouse’s favorite, which counts for a lot.
First, a few notes about scones in general:
- If you’re a person (and you know people) who at least occasionally eats white flour, sugar, and dairy fat, scones are an awesome thing to bake! They can make any morning or teatime feel just a little bit special.
- Please don’t skimp on the fat though. Substituting half and half for cream just won’t result in the same (light, tender) scones.
- Scone dough is even better if you make it ahead of time. Mix and shape some in the evening, then wrap and put it in the fridge. The next morning all you’ll need to do is turn on the oven and place the scones on a pan. (O.K. you’ll also need to brush them with cream/butter/egg and sprinkle with sugar, but that’s easy too.)
- Scone dough also freezes really well. Mix and shape it, then double wrap in plastic and throw it in the freezer. You can bake the scones from frozen dough, just budget a couple extra minutes baking time.
- The base recipes are pretty infinitely variable. I use this one to make rose/almond scones for May Day, my favorite candied ginger & cocoa nibs combo, and just about any kind of berry.
- You can also make these into savory scones – just leave out the sugar and sub in some fine grated cheese and spices or herbs. (The result is pretty much that same as a biscuit, but nonetheless delicious.)
- A cheap, plastic bowl scraper is far and away my favorite tool for mixing scone dough (and pie dough, and…). You can use it to cut and fold in the cream while not losing any tender, flaky goodness in your resulting scones. (A bench scraper is my favorite tool for shaping and cutting them.)
Go-To Cream Scones
- 10 oz. (2 cups) flour
- 2.5 oz. (1/3 cup) sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup butter, cold, cut in ~10 slices or cubes
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup dried fruit or other additions (e.g. 1/4 cup candied ginger and 2 Tbsp cocoa nibs)
- 5/8 c (10 Tbsp) heavy cream
- 1 egg
- 1/2 – 1 tsp vanilla (or a different extract for other flavor combinations)
- ~2 Tbsp melted butter or cream for brushing the tops, optional
- coarse sugar, optional
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a sheet pan with parchment or a silpat.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in the cold butter, using your favorite method (your fingers, a pastry cutter, two knives…). Toss in the dried fruit or other additions.
In a separate vessel (like a liquid measuring cup), whisk together the cream, egg, and vanilla. Pour the liquid, all at once, into the flour mixture. Cut and fold the liquid and flour mix together using a bowl scraper or stiff spatula. Mix until the dough just comes together, leaving it very shaggy.
Turn the dough out onto a clean surface. Fold and gently shape it until it forms a cohesive round disk, about 3/4in thick (make two rounds if you’d like smaller scones). Cut each disk into 8 to 12 wedges.
Place the wedges on your prepared sheet pan. Brush with cream or butter and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.