Flaky, buttery, and cake-like, scones are really just sweet bis-cuits in disguise. From start to finish, 30 minutes is about all you need to make this Scottish quick bread. Well, that plus flour, butter, leavening, milk and a few easy tips:
Start with cold ingredients. The idea is to keep the butter from melting during mixing, so that you have little chunks of butter throughout the dough. When the scones are baked, the butter will melt, leaving little pockets and layers. You may want to measure out the milk and butter and pop them in the freezer for a few minutes before adding them to the flour.
Handle gently and quickly. If you overmix the dough, not only do you run the risk of melting the butter, you also convert the protein in the flour to gluten, creating a chewy dough. After adding the liquid, mix only until the dough begins to come together.
Scones take well to just about any add-in: dried cherries, chocolate chips, golden raisins, finely chopped apricots—anything you like to have with your afternoon cuppa.
Dried Cherry Scones
We love a bit of orange or lemon zest in these scones.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk
3/4 cup dried cherries
Coarse (turdinado) sugar
1. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add butter; pulse until mixture is the consistency of coarse meal. Add sour cream. Pulse. Add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse just until dough comes together. Remove from processor; divide dough in half and cover each piece with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight, or proceed with recipe.
2. Preheat oven to 375F.
3. Place one piece of dough on a floured surface. Shape into a 12-inch log. Roll until dough is a 12 x 5-inch rectangle. Place cherries on dough, pressing them gently into the dough. Fold dough in half lengthwise. Gently pat into a circle.
4. Cut dough into 6 triangles and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining dough.
5. Sprinkle tops of scones with coarse sugar. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Makes 12.
Per scone: 164 calories, 11g fat, 26mg chol., 4.5g prot., 42g carbs., 1.5g fiber, 239g sodium
Recipe adapted from Kim Jensen’s Pink Bakery, Egg Harbor, Wis.