I once read somewhere that to eat well in Britain you must eat breakfast 3 times a day, and while I don’t know that that is necessarily true, I will say that the scone is something close to perfection. Easy to carry to work when I am on the run, or incredibly impressive when laid out on a brunch table, yet incredibly easy to make, easier than muffins, I promise. Just about every scone starts with the same basic recipe, a blank canvas for your creativity.
Basic Scone Recipe
2 cups flour (either all white or half white/half wheat. Too much wheat flour and these can feel very heavy)
1/3 cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into smaller pieces
1 cup whipping cream, with 2 tablespoons set aside
1) Preheat oven to 450°F
2) Sift flour, sugar, salt, baking powder together into a mixing bowl. Cut butter into the mixture using a pastry cutter or two knives until it resembles coarse crumbs.
3) Mix in whipping cream, minus the 2 tablespoons, until the dry ingredients are just moistened.
4) Turn out on to well floured surface and knead lightly, until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Do not over knead/mix, or scones may be tough.
5) Pat dough into 7-in round (be sure that the surface is well floured before doing this, otherwise the scones will stick). Cut the dough into 8 or 12 triangles, depending on how large you want the scones.
6) Place scones 2-inches on a cookie sheet lined with silpat or parchment. (I actually prefer using a brown paper bag cut to fit the cookie sheet and lightly sprayed with cooking oil spray/PAM) and place the cookie sheet on top of another cookie sheet. By doubling the cookie sheets, you keep the bottom of the scones from burning.
7) Brush the top of the scones with the reserved whipping cream and dust with sanding sugar. Bake for 13 – 15 minutes, until golden brown.
See, it’s easy! Now for the fun part, creating delicious flavorful scones. Don’t hesitate to feel inspired and try something new, with a recipe this easy, trying something new is never a waste. To get your creative juices flowing, here are some ideas (the cranberry–orange and cheddar-rosemary scones are the ones I made for this recipe):
Orange-Cranberry Scones: After cutting in the butter, but before adding the whipping cream stir in ½ cup of dried cranberries and a tablespoon of fresh orange zest. If you want a stronger orange flavor, add a teaspoon of orange emulsion or extract as well. Once the scones are cool, mix a tablespoon of orange juice with ½ cup powder sugar to create a glaze. Drizzle the glaze over the scones.
Apricot-Ginger Scones: Stir in a ½ cup chopped dried apricots, and ¼ – ½ cup chopped crystallized ginger.
Lemon-Current Scones: Follow the directions for the orange-cranberry scones, but substitute lemon for orange, and currents for cranberries.
Bacon-Cheddar Scones: Omit the sugar from the original recipe and add ½ cup finely crumbled bacon, ¾ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, and ¾ tsp ground pepper.
Sundried Tomato-Feta Scones: Omit sugar. Add ½ cup diced sundried tomatoes (the kind not packed in oil), ½ crumbled feta, and 1 tablespoon fresh basil chopped.
Cheddar-Rosemary Scones: Omit sugar. Add ¾ cup cheddar cheese and 1 tablespoon fresh or dried rosemary.
This is a great standard scone recipe, and one I’m not sure I could live without. Let us know, in the comments, if you try an out-of-this-world flavor combination.