I’m in baking redux mode.
Last time, my favorite molasses cookies — this week, my favorite scone recipe.
Not much to say here. It’s a gray, cold, rainy day in Milwaukee–perfect for Netflix (I’m rewatching Sherlock at the moment, in case you’re curious), coffee, tidying your apartment, and of course, baking!
(And also seeing the new Hunger Games movie. What can I say, you can’t stay inside ALL day.)
These scones are tried-and-true. Unless you’re a purist like me, you can add countless toppings or flavors to this recipe (nuts, dried fruit, extracts, spices…). I often make them with pearl sugar on top for texture, but this time I made a quick icing. It does need something sweet on top.
Butter is an essential part of a good scone recipe, so splurge on the good European stuff–I like Kerrygold. It’s a bit more malleable, which means you can knead it into the batter easily without overworking it. You want chunks of butter in your scone dough, so that when they bake, the bits of butter melt and leave it flaky and light.
Adapted from Epicurious.com/Gourmet
3/4 cup heavy cream, plus additional for brushing the scones
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons white sugar
2 cups regular flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons good-quality, European butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together 3/4 cup of the cream, the egg, the vanilla, and 3 tablespoons of the sugar until well combined.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, the salt, the baking powder, and the baking soda. Cut butter into tablespoon chunks and use a pastry blender or your hands to cut/tear the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse meal–the butter should be pea-sized. If you have warm hands, use a pastry cutter so you don’t melt the butter–you want it to stay chilled in the batter for as long as possible. Stir in the cream mixture with a fork until the mixture just forms a sticky but manageable dough. (You’ll likely end up using your hands to make it all stick together, so gently knead it; the fork only goes so far. Don’t overdo it; again, you want the butter to be in chunks, NOT worked evenly through the dough.)
Transfer dough to a floured work surface, kneading it no further. Pat it into a 1/2-inch-thick round, and with a 1 1/2-inch biscuit cutter cut it into rounds. (You could also use a small glass or use a sharp knife to cut into triangles.) Gather the scraps, re-pat the dough, and cut out more rounds until you have no dough left.
On a parchment-covered baking sheet brush the scones with the additional cream. If not making a glaze, sprinkle tops with sugar. Bake the scones in the middle of the oven for 15 to 18 minutes, or until they are golden.
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon local honey
1 tablespoon milk
Whisk together sugar, honey, and milk. Mixture will be thick, but don’t add too much extra milk or it will turn runny quickly. Spoon glaze over scones and allow to set.