I was gifted a bag of frozen blueberries yesterday, and by last night, I had the fiercest craving for blueberry scones.
I’ve only made scones once or twice, it just never occurs to me to make them and when I do, they are very much pastry and I’m somewhat heavy handed with the pastry. 😦 This time, though, I went searching for tips on how to make scones that aren’t hockey pucks. I’m Canadian, sure, and we have hockey, but I in no way want to eat hockey pucks.
Some of the tips:
- Use frozen butter and cold everything – chill the bowls, chill the pastry cutter, everything should be cold
- Don’t use a food processor – too easy to over process
- Grate the butter
- Only do as much as you need to, mixing, and no more
- Freeze or refrigerate the dry ingredients after the butter is mixed in while mixing the wet ingredients and also before baking
- 2 cups of flour
- ½ cup of granulated sugar
- 2-1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp of cinnamon or nutmeg, cardamom, allspice (a warm, sweet spice)
- pinch of salt
- ½ cup of unsalted butter, frozen and grated
- ½ cup half & half or heavy cream
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 heaping cup of blueberries (or strawberries, raspberries, mixed berries, cherries), fresh or frozen. If frozen, don’t thaw
- vanilla icing (completely optional)
In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients together.
Grate the butter and put it in with the dry ingredients. Using a pastry cutter, a knife, a fork or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it’s all coated in flour and about the size of peas (or a little smaller). Don’t take too long doing this or your butter will get melty and that is no good.
Once your butter is cut in, put the bowl in the freezer (best) or the fridge (good) or outside on the deck if it’s cold outside 🙂 Basically, get it cold again.
In a small bowl, mix the cream, egg and vanilla well. Get that egg incorporated well.
Retrieve the butter bowl from the freezer, fridge or deck and pour the liquid ingredients in there. Add the berries and mix gently together until there’s no more dry spots.
Pour onto a floured surface and gently push into a ball. The dough is sticky, so flour your hands and be prepared for blueberry stains.
Flatten the ball out to about an 8 inch circle. If you spread your fingers, just a bit wider than if you’re going to use a regular sized keyboard, and put your two hands together, the spread of your fingers is about 8 inches across.
Once you’ve got your circle, cut into 8 wedges and place on a baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper and put back into the freezer or fridge for 15 minutes or so. I did sprinkle a tiny bit of sugar on each one, just for fun, but they really didn’t need it.
Preheat your oven to 400F (I finally have my oven scared of me and it no longer burns everything at that temperature, so I, too, can bake at high temperatures!) and when it is up to temperature, put your scones in.
Bake them for about 20-25 minutes (mine took about 23). They should be a little browned around the edges and along the bottom. Your house will smell amazing and drool will start happening at about the 18 minute mark (I checked).
When they’re done, take them out and let them cool a couple minutes then top with a little vanilla icing.
I didn’t measure my icing. I used a coffee cup and filled it about halfway with icing sugar, a glug of vanilla and a tiny splash of half and half. I mixed with a spoon and made sure it was able to be drizzled off the spoon. Good enough. My icing is a bit brown – I glugged a bit more vanilla than was strictly necessary, but it tasted good, so I didn’t worry about it.
Perhaps not the most healthy breakfast, but it does include blueberries, which are an antioxidant or something healthy like that, so it’s not all bad. All things in moderation!
It turns out, the tips really helped and the scones turned out beautiful. They’re tender, flaky, buttery and light. I kid you not, the last time I made scones, they were break a tooth hard. More biscotti than scone. Better dip in coffee than eat them as they were.
So the watchword when making pastry and scones…..Gentle. Be gentle.
If you don’t use cows milk, use coconut milk with the cream instead. Nut milk is too thin.