The best scones ever
Scones are just the GREATEST.
It’s winter, it’s super-cold, we’re forecast to have a snowstorm on Thursday, and I am downing cups of tea… and yet somewhere out there, it must be warm because Meyer lemons are showing up in the stores. This means it is time to bake scones!
(Last winter I had to hunt high and low for Meyer lemons and, when I found them, they were like $5/pound! Now they sell them at Kroger in 3 pound bags for under $4. How can you not buy a bag when they’re so cheap?! I eat them like other people eat oranges. I cannot get enough of lemons.)
I zest a lemon and add that to the cream I use for the scones. I had a bag of cranberries going soft in the fridge, so I chopped some of those and added them to the dough as well. You can customize the fixin’s you add to the dough. Lemon-cranberry is a good combination, orange-cinnamon-cardamom might be good too, add some walnuts, or even just plain… I love scones!
These are infinitely better when they are fresh out of the oven, with crispy little corners and a little steam rising out of them. Do you want to know my secret? I flash-freeze these babies. I pat the dough out into a circle, cut into wedges, separate and place on a baking sheet, and put them in the freezer until they are hard on the outside. Then you can just cram them in a freezer bag and keep them frozen until you are ready to bake them! In the morning, I preheat the oven and put a scone on a baking sheet. I put it in the oven, go put makeup on or something, and exactly 12 minutes later, I have breakfast.
(adapted from America’s Test Kitchen, via the lovely Smitten Kitchen)
Serves 8 (unless I am around, then I will eat at least 2! )
Prep time: 10 minutes (not to brag, but I can do it in 5 minutes… TWSS) Cook time: 12-15 minutes
- 2 cups flour
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5 Tablespoons chilled butter, cut into smaller cubes – I pop mine in the freezer for 10 minutes
- 1/2 cup-ish chopped fresh cranberries – you can use those dried ones too. I shan’t judge… too much. Oh, and if you don’t like things too tart, toss the fresh cranberries with another tablespoon-ish of sugar before adding to the dough!
- zest of 1 Meyer lemon (or regular untreated lemon)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 425F/ 218C.
- Sift together the dry ingredients.
- Cut in the butter using your preferred method (processor, pastry cutter, knives, fingers). Ever since I watched Alton Brown cut butter in with his fingers, I think it is the easiest way to do it. Also, you should watch his episode on the biscuit method.
- Add in the chopped cranberries.
- Stir together the zest and the cream. Then add to the dry mixture, and stir a few times until it gets clumpy.
- Turn the not-quite-formed dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Wrangle all the bits together into a ball. You may have to knead it together a little. Don’t worry, this isn’t quite pie crust, so a little body heat isn’t going to kill it. You still want chunks of butter to make the scones flaky though.
- Pat the dough into a round, about 3/4 inch thick. Cut into 8 wedges.
- Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 12-15 minutes.
- Cool just a little bit before eating. They keep for about a day before tasting tough.
I just want to mention that thsese were one of the first recipes I mastered, when I started cooking seriously about a year ago. I could probably make these in my sleep. And my mom kept asking me for the recipe. You know it’s good when your mom wants the recipe!