Cream Scones

Mike and I traveled to England about 13 years ago, and I spent a great deal of time there drinking tea and enjoying classic British baked goods. That trip marked the first time I had a British scone, a wedge of millionaire’s shortbread, and digestive biscuits (which, incidentally, are absolutely delicious despite how they might sound).

That first scone, served alongside a pot of tea with strawberry jam and cream, reminded me more of an American biscuit but slightly more cakey. You can make scones with heavy cream or buttermilk and butter, but the heavy cream version will turn out more cakey, and I suspect those scones were the cream kind. This recipe came from Baking Mischief, though I did need just a bit more heavy cream than the recipe originally included. As I read in my King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion, flour can be dry in the winter, so sometimes you might need a bit more liquid in a scone recipe as a result. This recipe yields a small batch of just six scones, but you could easily double it for a larger batch.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup (180 grams) flour, measured by the scoop-and-sweep method or by weight (I measured by weight)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream*
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

*You’ll need a bit more heavy cream to brush on top of the scones, probably about 1-2 tablespoons total.

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Combine vanilla and heavy cream and drizzle over flour mixture, stirring gently to combine. You want a “shaggy” dough, with no loose flour at the bottom of the bowl, but the dough should not be sticky.

Gently shape the dough into a ball and turn out onto a lightly floured counter top. Press the dough into a disc about 5 1/2 inches wide.

Using a knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into 6 wedges. Transfer to a baking sheet, placing the wedges in a circle with about 1 inch between them. Brush the tops and sides with heavy cream to help them brown.

Bake for 14-16 minutes, until light golden brown on top; I used a cake tester on one scone to make sure the center was baked through. Remove from oven and allow to cool for just a few minutes; serve warm. Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature; warm before serving.

Makes 6.

 

Buttermilk Biscuits

buttermilk biscuitsIt’s buttermilk baking week here at our house, because about a week ago I purchased a quart of buttermilk and promptly forgot what I meant to bake with it. This happens sometimes – I come home from the grocery store with some key ingredient, fully intending to bake something I saw on Pinterest or in a Better Homes & Gardens Facebook post or in a Woman’s Day magazine.

A few days later, I find the ingredient in question and wonder what I meant to make with it…which means I then have to search online, seeking out recipes that put it to use. Which, if I’m honest, usually leads me down into the rabbit hole of recipes one can find on the internet, creating the need for more ingredients that I’ll someday buy and wonder what I meant to bake with them. Anyway…because I had some buttermilk left from this weekend’s pound cake, I decided to whip up some buttermilk biscuits with last night’s chicken-and-mashed-potatoes dinner.

The key to biscuit preparation is to handle the dough as little as possible. Easy handling creates those highly desirable flaky layers that good biscuits always have; a heavy hand will yield hockey pucks. I did have to knead my dough just slightly before i patted it down, and I’m happy to say that I still had some pretty flaky layers. Note: you may also need just a bit more buttermilk if your dough is too dry, but add sparingly. It’s easy to add more liquid, but impossible to take it away.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Preparation

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter using a pastry cutter or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add buttermilk and mix until just combined.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and very gently pat it to 1/2 inch thickness – do not use a rolling pin. Fold over 5 times, then pat down again to 1 inch thickness. Using a round cutter, cut biscuits and place about 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. Re-form the scraps and cut remaining dough, noting that these biscuits will likely be a bit tougher than the first ones.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and serve warm.

Sugar & Spice Scones

sugar & spice sconesMy pantry cabinet is a place of wonder. A cache of ingredients both practical and diverse, it contains just about every staple a baker could ever need, plus fun things like cans of pumpkin, bags of nuts, containers of cocoa powder, bricks of baking chocolate, and bottles of molasses and Lyle’s Golden Syrup. On the top shelf lives a canister of rolled oats so large it must lay on its side to fit.

Sometimes, what I bake is determined by what lives in the pantry cabinet; I may open it one afternoon and realize I have a surplus of pecans, or some dark brown sugar that I’d like to use up. Today, after trolling online and finding a very simple yet delicious-sounding scone recipe, I was delighted to find that I had everything I needed right in the pantry cabinet, and that no trips to the market would be necessary.

These scones are adapted from a brown sugar cinnamon scone recipe I found on another blog called Kitchen Treaty, which adapted its recipe from Alton Brown’s scone recipe. The result is heavenly, both in aroma while baking and in flavor while eating. I chose to make small scones that are about two bites each, but you could certainly just cut them into 8 wedges like traditional scones if you prefer.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cold, cut into small cubes
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 egg

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt until well-blended.

Add butter and rub into dry mixture until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.

Make a well in the center and add 3/4 cup heavy cream, vanilla extract, and egg; stir with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms, adding the additional tablespoon of heavy cream once your dough has almost come together.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently to bring together. Shape dough into a circle and flatted to about 1-inch thickness.

Slice into 8 wedges, then slice those wedges into smaller, more bite-sized wedges. You’ll have varying shapes; some will be longer and thinner while others will be more traditional wedge shapes. This is totally fine.

Place on parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for 13-16 minutes; when done, scones will be firm on the top and just golden at the edges.

Serve warm, or cool on a wire rack.

Pumpkin Scones

pumpkin sconeWhen I lived in DC, there was a time when I visited Starbucks every day. There were so many located within easy walking distance of my office between Metro Center and Gallery Place, it was simple to stroll in, order a cup of tea, and peruse the treat offerings behind the glass counter.

The pumpkin scone was a popular surprise; I remember waiting for it in the fall and being delighted to discover it amid the cinnamon swirl coffee cake and black bottom cupcakes. There was a time when I swore off of them, after my friend Kelly and I looked up their calorie content. Let’s just say that one shouldn’t eat a pumpkin scone every day if she wants to keep her waistline (and heart health, and blood sugar levels) in check.

There are many copycat recipes out there, including the one I’ve adapted below from Damn Delicious. My end result was more cakey and tender inside than the somewhat crumbly Starbucks variety, and next time, I’d like to omit the glaze and mix some chocolate chips and pecans into the batter for some interesting texture. Full disclosure: somehow, I omitted the cinnamon in my recipe when I baked these. I don’t know how this happened (perhaps my two weeks away from the kitchen have made me a bit rusty?), but I will definitely use it next time. The scones were delicious, but they could use that extra spicy kick.

Ingredients

For the Scones

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons cold butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Glaze

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • About 2 1/2 tablespoons milk

For the Spice Drizzle

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons milk

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add butter and rub into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.

In a small bowl, combine pumpkin puree, milk, egg, and vanilla and stir to combine well. Pour over flour/butter mixture and stir with a spatula until a soft dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly to combine well. Pat down into a 10 x 7 inch rectangle and cut into 8 wedges.

Place wedges on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10-13 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool completely before glazing.

To prepare the glaze:

Place 1 cup powdered sugar in a small bowl and slowly add about 2 tablespoons milk to reach a consistency that is easy to spread, but not too thin. Spoon 1 tablespoon glaze over each scone and spread with a small offset spatula, allowing excess glaze to drip down the sides.

To prepare the spice drizzle:

Place powdered sugar, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg in a small bowl and add 1 tablespoon milk. Stir to combine, adding additional 1/2 to 1 tablespoon milk to reach a drizzly consistency. Place in a small piping bag fitted with a plain tip and drizzle over scones in a zigzag pattern.

Allow glaze to harden completely before serving.

 

 

 

Poppy Seed Scones with Lemon Curd

poppy seed sconesOne hundred and fifty recipes ago, I decided to become a blogger. You really have no idea how many recipes exist in the world until you become a food blogger, scouring the internet for the most interesting, challenging, tasty treats in existence. Many of my recipes have come from cookbooks and websites, but some of my favorites are the ones that I adapt from other bloggers. I feel a kinship with these individuals, who share my passion for this creative and delicious pursuit.

Two of my favorite ingredients are poppy seeds and lemons, so it’s fitting that tonight’s post involves both. Poppy seeds and lemons are good friends flavor-wise, so a basic poppy seed scone was easily enhanced with a bit of Meyer lemon zest and the lemon curd I made a few nights ago. If you’re out of lemon curd, you could boost the lemon flavor in these scones by covering them with a powdered sugar/lemon juice drizzle icing. 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, plus 1 tablespoon to brush on the tops of the scones
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • About 1 tablespoon sugar, to sprinkle on the tops of the scones
  • Lemon curd, for serving

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add butter and toss to coat, then rub the butter into the flour mixture with your hands until the mixture just begins to stick together when you pinch it between your fingers.

Add poppy seeds and lemon zest; stir with a fork to combine. 

Combine beaten egg and buttermilk and stir into the flour mixture until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times. Pat into an 8 x 4 rectangle and cut into quarters, then cut each quarter in half, yielding 8 scones.

Place scones on prepared baking sheet and brush with buttermilk, then sprinkle with sugar. 

Bake for 14-16 minutes, until tops are golden brown. Serve warm or cool with lemon curd. 

Pecan Scones

IMG_0452One of the most important things about baking is following your instincts. When you do, amazing things can happen. When you don’t, you end up burning the daylights out of your scones.

Fresh from the oven, these treats looked like the kind of scone you’d pay three bucks for with your morning coffee; they were golden brown and fragrant, smelling of pecans and chocolate and espresso.

I should have left them alone.

But the recipe instructed me to generously dust the tops with powdered sugar, then place the scones back in the oven, under my broiler, to caramelize. Enticed by the notion of a crunchy sugar shell on the top of each scone, I gave it a try. And even though I’m quite adept at broiling, I was no match for the melting point of powdered sugar. Half of the scones were in the direct path of the heat, and those caramelized, then burned within seconds. The others, which weren’t in the direct path of the heat, didn’t even begin to melt. Some careful moving of the baking sheet ensued, and I was able to properly caramelize just a few. And fortunately, the properly caramelized scones are delicious…but next time, my instincts will win out.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder (optional)
  • 8 tablespoons butter, cold, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 lightly beaten egg
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Stack two cookie sheets together and line the top one with foil or parchment.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder (if using).

Add butter and cut in with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs; you’ll need to use your hands in addition to the pastry blender.

Add pecans and chocolate chips, stirring to combine.

Add maple syrup to buttermilk and all the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients all at once, mixing until dough is just combined.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead 4-5 times. Pat into a circle about 7-8 inches wide and 1 1/2 inches thick. Cut into eight wedges and place on the cookie sheet.

Make egg wash; combine lightly beaten egg with heavy cream and brush the tops of each scone.

Bake 18-20 minutes, until tops are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center(s) comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack.

Bacon Cheddar Scones

bacon cheddar scones

 

 

 

 

 

On Route 108 in Highland, Maryland, sits Boarman’s Meat Market. In times past, every community had a market like Boarman’s; a place where the cashiers knew your name (and likely, your business), the butcher wrapped your freshly-cut meats in thick brown paper, the vegetables were grown in your neighbor’s fields, and the fruits arrived from a nearby orchard.

There is no bacon in the world finer than Boarman’s, which cooks and tastes better than any bacon I’ve ever had. During Clarksville Picnic weekends, Aunt Liz has been known to dispatch Mike or Robb with a crisp $20 and instructions to “run and pick up another pound…or two.” Since last summer’s Clarksville Picnic, which was unfortunately canceled due to the biggest thunderstorm in years, I’ve wanted to bring back some Boarman’s bacon and use it in a scone. Last weekend Mike went to Maryland and returned with a cooler, in which two pounds of Boarman’s bacon sat waiting, wrapped in thick brown paper.

Next time, I’d increase the amount of cheddar in this scone, perhaps by as much as another cup.

Ingredients

  • 4 strips bacon, cooked crispy and cooled, crumbled into pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cups plus about 3 tablespoons heavy cream

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.

Add butter, cheddar cheese, and salt and cut in with a pastry blender, then blend with your hands until lumps form. You want the mixture to be similar to the coarse-crumb stage of pie crust.

Add bacon and 1/2 cup heavy cream and blend with a spoon. Add 1 tablespoon of additional cream at a time, blending the dough with your hands, until a sticky dough forms.

Dust counter top with flour and turn dough out, patting into an 8-inch circle that is about one inch thick.

Cut into wedges and place on baking sheet, at least one inch apart; brush tops with additional heavy cream.

Bake for 23-25 minutes, until golden brown.

Remove from oven and cool for a few minutes before serving.