Everyday Food (May 2010)
Being able to whip up a batch of perfect, last-minute scones on a whim seems, to us, as indispensable as having a go-to roast chicken recipe, knowing how to fix a proper martini or having a stellar vinaigrette recipe at your fingertips. It's the kind of thing we'd like to have in our proverbial back pockets, for when guests are visiting for the weekend or we find ourselves throwing a last minute brunch.
Well, we are sad to report that we are cooks without a favorite scone recipe. In fact, we think we've only made scones once before, years ago, and can't recall the flavor or the recipe source. We do, however, consume our fare share of scones. Nearly every week we buy one to split from Atwater's bakery while we tour the farmers market. Call it a pre-breakfast amuse bouche.
So now begins our search for our favorite, go-to scone recipe, starting with this one from Everyday Food.
The recipe in Everyday Food called for fresh raspberries. We, however, had fresh strawberries on hand so we substituted the raspberries for capped, sliced strawberries.
In the recipe below, we've upped the sugar slightly from 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup. We like our scones on the sweeter side, and found that these, with 1/4 cup sugar, weren't quite sweet enough for us. The amount of sugar you use, however, should factor in the sweetness of your fruit. If you're using very sweet fruit, you may be fine with 1/4 cup. It's just a matter of personal taste.
And though the recipe does not call for it, we have added in a step below in which you brush the scones with an egg wash prior to baking. By doing this, you scones with that come out of the oven with nice brown coloring. We baked half the scones with an egg wash, half without, and the ones with the wash are just much prettier. It won't change the taste, but aesthetically you'll have a more beautiful scone.
So, is this our new scone recipe?
In short, no. It's good, but not great. It's certainly an easy recipe. There are few steps, they're quick (30 minutes from start to finish) and they produce a beautiful finished product.
But the taste left us wanting something more. True, they're light and the fresh fruit is a beautiful touch, but they weren't quite satisfying. What is that "something more" that we're looking for? We're not quite sure, but we'll keep trying scone recipes until we find it.
Still, if this is your initial scone outing, we don't think you can go wrong with the recipe below. After all, you may try it and think it's the perfect recipe for you.
Then again, if you're harboring the perfect scone recipe in your files, we want to hear about it! Let us know in the comments.
Makes 20. Active time: 15 minutes. Total time: 30 minutes.
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 cup fresh raspberries or strawberries. If using strawberries, slice them into small pieces.
Egg wash made by beating an egg with a tablespoon of water
1. Preheat oven to 400. In a food processor, pulse together flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and pulse until pea size pieces form. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and egg yolk. Slowly pour buttermilk mixture through feed tube into processor, pulsing until dough just comes together.
2. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and sprinkle fruit on top. Knead three times to fold in fruit (there may be loose pieces of dough and a stray berry or two). Gather and pat dough into a 1-inch-thick square and cut or pull apart into 2-inch pieces. Place pieces, about 2 inches apart, on two parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets. Brush with egg wash. Sprinkle tops with 1 tablespoon sugar.
3. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let scones cool slightly on sheets on wire racks. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Store in an air-tight container, up to 1 day.)