Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Cream Scones

Lately, I’ve been on a major chocolate chip cookie kick. I have this one particular recipe (this one) that I’ve been making for what feels like forever now. I guess you could say that it’s become my “go-to,” and as much success as I’ve had with it, I’ve grown a bit restless.  There’s so many recipes out there, and I know I haven’t even scratched the surface as far as testing them all! So I’ve been experimenting with chocolate chip cookies a lot in the last few weeks. I’ve made many, many batches and tested tons of recipes, and then one day my boyfriend interrupted my chocolate chip cookie baking spree and suggested that I make something else. Literally, anything else. Anything that wasn’t a chocolate chip cookie. Needless to say, I got the hint. 

I decided to make a batch of scones to win his stomach back (because I still need taste testers, obviously). Scones are one of his favorite baked treats, so I was confident that they would do the trick—all  I had to do was find the perfect recipe. Thanks to my chocolate chip cookie baking mania, I had found myself browsing through cookbooks I didn’t even know I had or hadn’t looked through in a while, and blogs that I had sadly forgotten about, all in search of the perfect cookie recipe. In the process, I stumbled across a lot of recipes that looked like they were worth bookmarking, and this recipe from the Violet Bakery Cookbook was one of them.  I was immediately drawn to these particular recipe because of the way Claire Ptak described the scones in her headnote. “A bit like an American shortcake” and “extra-rich.” I needed no more convincing than that! 

These cream scones are a cinch to make, requiring very few ingredients and pieces of equipment (as any good scone recipe should). Flour and baking powder are sifted together, to ensure the scones have a light and fluffy texture. A little sugar for sweetness, and salt for balance are then whisked in. Next comes the critical step: cutting in the butter. Be sure to use very cold butter here; whenever I make scones, biscuits, or pie dough, I always dice the butter first. I put it in a bowl and leave it in the freezer as I prepare the rest of my mise en place, find my memory cards, or clear off my work counter. To cut in the butter, you can use a pastry cutter or a fork, but I kept it simple and just used my fingers to rub the butter into the flour. No matter what tool you use (or don’t), make sure to stop once the butter and flour begin to resemble coarse crumbs. 

The dough will be a bit crumbly, but it’ll hold its shape once pressed together into a block. After a little resting and folding, the dough is ready to roll out and cut. Try to work quickly here—you don’t want to disturb the dough too much, or you’ll risk overworking the butter into the dough.  After a quick chill in the freezer and a light brushing with egg wash, the scones are ready to bake. They’ll emerge from the oven tall and golden brown, and are perfect just the way they are. Warm, with a little slather of salted butter and you have breakfast perfection. But if you want to really take these scones over the top, split them in half. Add a spoonful of good fruit preserves and a dollop of freshly whipped cream, and you have an easy berry “shortcake.”

Good for breakfast, and great for dessert, these creamy dreamy scones are rich, flaky, and completely delicious. Make them for Mother’s Day brunch or dessert, and a perfect way to start the day (or finish it!). Enjoy!

Cream Scones


700 grams all purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
100 grams sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
200 grams unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
600 grams (2 1/2 cups) heavy cream
1 egg, lightly beaten, for the egg wash

Freshly whipped cream and good fruit preserves, for serving


Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and salt. 

Add the butter to the flour and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or rub into with your fingers. You’re looking to get a coarse crumbly result (the crumbs should be about the size of small peas). Pour in the cream and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. 

Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured work surface and press together into a block. Allow the dough to rest for 5 minutes. Then, fold the dough in half and flip it over. Let it rest for another five minutes. Line two sheet pans with silicone liners or parchment paper. 

Roll the dough out with a lightly floured rolling pin until it’s approximately 1 inch thick. Use a 2-1/2 inch round cutter to stamp out the scones and place them on the prepared baking sheets. Gather the scraps and repeat, cutting out scones until all the dough is used. Try to work swiftly and handle the dough as little as possible during this step. 

Cover the scones with plastic wrap and place the baking sheets in the fridge or freezer for 10-20 minutes. This will help them retain their shape while baking. In the meantime, position an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 390°F. 

Brush the scones with egg wash and bake, one baking sheet at a time, until the tops are golden, about 20-22 minutes. Allow the scones to rest on the baking sheets for a minute or so before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Split the scones in half and serve with a generous dollop of freshly whipped cream and a spoonful of your favorite fruit preserves. 

Makes about 20 scones, depending on size


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