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?
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.
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.
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!
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.