Cream Scones

January 11, 2011

Here’s the thing about cream scones: They’re made with cream. And butter. If you try to make them healthy, you may wind up with a tasty pastry, but it won’t be a light and flaky, crusty-on-the-outside/tender in the middle, just-sweet-enough scone. If you want to be healthy, just go ahead and make some muffins instead. I realize that it’s pretty early in the new year to be ditching the “cooking/easting healthy” resolution…but technically I didn’t even make one. Plus, we’re bracing for a big snow storm here and this just seems like a good snow day breakfast. I imagine myself sleeping in and waking up to a cream scone, a hot mug of coffee and a beautiful snowfall outside my window (too bad I don’t have any windows with a view and that I’ll most likely be going to work at the crack of dawn). Oh well. These are pretty solid scones, anyhow.

Scones are beyond easy to make; you can make up the dough in a matter of minutes. I made this batch with raisins, but you can use a number of different ingredients (fresh blueberries work especially well). Next time I’m going to make them savory by replacing the fruit with some ham and cheddar. Yum.

The dough is pretty sticky, which is why I chose to make triangles/wedges instead of cutting them into biscuit shapes with a round cutter. You can flour your work surface if needed.

After pulling the scones apart, spread them out on an ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle some sugar across the tops. I like to use raw sugar for this (didn’t have any for the batch pictured).

The scones will finish baking in 12-15 minutes. They’re done when the outside is golden brown in color.

You are supposed to eat them at room temperature, but I like them fresh out of the oven while they’re still a little warm. They’re best if eaten the same day, so I like to make them in small batches. The original recipe offers a method for making these with a food processor, but they’re so easy to make by hand (and there’s less mess to clean up):

Cream Scones

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup currants (or any other dried fruit, fresh fruit or nuts of your choosing)
  • 1 cup heavy cream (I’ve also successfully made them with half and half)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425°F.

2. Place flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in large bowl and whisk until well-mixed.

3. Using your fingertips, quickly cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in currants (or other ingredients).

4. Stir in heavy cream with a rubber spatula or fork until dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.

5. Transfer the dough to a countertop and knead it by hand just until it comes together into a rough, sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. Form scones by pressing the dough into a 3/4-inch thick circle, and slicing it into 8 wedges with a knife.

6. Place wedges on ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar, if desired. Bake until scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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