Lemon Vanilla Bean Scones

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I really should quit making any scone recipe other than my cream scones. I know they work. I like them best. I am always, without fail, disappointed in any other recipe. But this was an adaptation from Alice’s Tea Cup–my favorite ridiculous little fancy-pants tea shop in New York City. I might have lived off of those scones most of the summer I lived in the city. So this recipe had to be great. Right?

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Wrong. I hate to write that–but wrong. The recipe was not great. It was certainly not bad; it might even have been good. But it was definitely not great.

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The dough is sticky and much more vanilla-y than lemon-y, and I still can’t figure out how they work when they don’t have an egg in them.

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They were a success at the brunch I brought them to, but I’m pretty sure that was mainly because of the hostess’ amazing fresh strawberry compote and whipped cream, which can make any ho-hum recipe pretty great indeed!

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Lemon Vanilla Bean Scones
Makes about 30 mini scones
Adapted from Alice’s Tea Cup

1/3 cup sugar
Zest from 2-3 large lemons
Seeds scraped from 2 vanilla beans
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted chilled butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup heavy cream
Sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine sugar and lemon zest; rub together with your fingers until fragrant. Set aside. In a measuring cup, measure out the buttermilk, add the vanilla beans and vanilla extract, and whisk together. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar mixture. Add the butter and cut into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter; the butter be cut to chunks about the size of peas. Make a well in the center of the flour, and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Stir the wet and dry ingredients together to make a (very) wet dough. Do not overmix.

Flour your hands, then turn the dough out onto a floured surface. It will be sticky, but with a heavy coating of flour you should be able to pat the dough out into an oval about 1 inch thick. Use a biscuit cutter to cut out mini scones. Re-pat the scraps until you’ve used up all the dough.

Place the mini scones on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, about 1 to 2 inches apart. Brush the tops with heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until golden.

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5 thoughts on “Lemon Vanilla Bean Scones

  1. Made these. Totally great! We used our scone pan which made about 16 scones. While warm and in the pan, we poured an icing made of the juice of 3 squeezed lemons and powdered sugar to seep through. DELISH!!! Thanks!

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