A fabulous scone recipe, neither too sweet nor savory. Easy to make, you can have them at the table in under an hour.
- 2 cups (280g) all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 4 tablespoons (60g) butter, very cold and in small pieces
- 1 egg, cold
- 3/4 cup (180g) half buttermilk and half whipping or double cream, cold
- Make sure the ingredients are cold. I put the cut butter 5-10 minutes in the freezer. And the buttermilk and cream in the fridge until the last minute.
- Have ready a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Preheat oven to 375ºF / 190ºC.
- In a large bowl put flour, baking powder (don’t forget or your scones won’t rise!), salt and sugar. Mix lightly with your hand or fork.
- Scatter cold butter on top and start working it into the flour mixture. You can use a dough cutter. Mix it with the dry ingredients but be careful not to warm it too much. If you feel it starts to soften too much, pop the bowl in the fridge for a few minutes, or the freezer.
- The butter should have some pieces the size of peas.
- Make a well in the middle, add the egg and the buttermilk and cream.
- With your fingers or a fork lightly stir until the egg breaks and mixes with the liquid.
- Incorporate the flour with a few swirls. The flour and butter should be wet but dry spots must be seen.
- Transfer to the clean counter and with your hands gather it and turn it onto itself a few times. The dough will be floury and messy, but you don’t want to work it too much or make it smooth as you would a pie dough.
- If you take a bit and squeeze it between your fingers it should come together and not be too wet or too dry.
- Press the whole mixture about 1-inch thick. The outer parts will be dry, don’t worry.
- With a round cookie cutter (I use a flower shape sometimes because I like how irregular they bake) cut the scones and put on the prepared pan, leaving 2 inches or so between them.
- Repeat with the remaining dough, bringing in the outer dry parts and incorporating it into the dough.
- When all you’re scones are cut I like to take the sheet to the freezer for 5 minutes.
- Then bake for 20 minutes or so, until puffed, dry and a bit golden. It you open one carefully it should be dry inside.
- Keep in tins and re-warm when you eat them.
- Or freeze individually (directly in the sheet) and bake as needed directly from the freezer. They might take a few extra minutes.
- Very cold ingredients. I’m not kidding when I say frozen butter, at least very cold. And don’t take the cream half an hour before you start mixing the scones. Butter, cream, milk, they belong in the fridge until you need to scatter and pour them.
- Don't work the dough much. It should come together but still have floury patches. You don’t need to work it until it’s smooth, like a pie dough for instance. It is an uneven dough, with dry spots, and that’s good for flakiness later.
- A rather high oven. They need that extra heat (and baking powder) to rise however they can in spite of all that butter and cream. And if by any chance you forgot to turn the oven on before you start with the mixing, please don’t leave the baking sheet with the cut scones waiting on the counter. Put them in the fridge or freezer the ten or fifteen minutes it takes for the oven to reach its temperature.
Freezing: freeze the already cut scones (I pop them directly in the baking sheet) until they are rock solid and then transfer them to a bag. That way they will be covered and will occupy much less space in your freezer. Bake them directly from the freezer at a 375°F/190°C oven.
Keywords: scones, buttermilk