On Scones

One of my favorite things to do on weekend mornings (and one of Richard’s favorite things for me to do) is to bake scones.

Growing up, my mother made fresh buttermilk biscuits on the weekends and sometimes even during the week if we were lucky.  Her biscuits have layer upon delicate layer of melt-in-your-mouth goodness.  They are little, delicious dollops of true Southern comfort food baked upon a seasoned iron skillet.  And I remain unconvinced that I’ll ever be able to make anything as perfect.

What I can make, however, are scones.  Richard, being English, prefers this — his own little nook of food-induced comfort on the weekends — so I revel in preparing them on Saturday mornings, before anyone else has gotten up, when I can open the windows and hear nothing but the soft sounds of wind through the pine trees and the chirping of sparrows.

I’ve tried many different scone recipes in the pursuit of something that I’m truly proud to present in the mornings.  Some recipes turn out scones that are too hard; others are too light and crumbly; still others are too cake-like.  One day I found a recipe that called for strawberry yogurt in lieu of milk or eggs, in an attempt to make the scones fruit-based without using any actual fruit.

That sounded rather disgusting to me, and I didn’t have any strawberry yogurt anyway.  But I did (and always do) have a large tub of vanilla yogurt on hand and decided to give it a try with a few modifications.  What emerged from the oven after ten minutes were the best scones that I’ve ever tasted.  What’s better, they were the best scones that Richard had ever tasted.  And if that isn’t a seal of approval, I don’t know what is.

Here’s the recipe:

Quick note: the vanilla and lemon flavors in these scones are both very subtle, not overly-sweet or cloying.  If you wanted a bit more oomph in either area, you could add a teaspoon of vanilla extract or a bit more lemon peel.

Vanilla-Lemon Scones

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I prefer King Arthur flour; see sidebar under “Resources & Merchants”
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt (I use light yogurt, but you could use regular)
  • 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons minced lemon peel
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar (optional)
  • Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
    2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles a crumbly texture. Add the yogurt, sugar, lemon peel and heavy cream and mix briefly to form a soft dough.
    3. Using your hands, lightly knead the dough in the bowl until slightly warmed by your hands.
    4. Form the dough into a large ball.  Place ball on ungreased cookie sheet and flatten to a height of roughly one inch.  Leave the center of the dough slightly higher than the edges.  Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into eight wedges.  If desired, sprinkle the extra granulated sugar on top of the dough before putting into the oven.
    5. Bake in preheated oven for ten minutes or until risen and golden brown. These are best served freshly-baked with butter and honey.

     This weekend, I’ll be sure to take a picture of the scones to include here.  But until then, happy sconing!

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    One response to “On Scones

    1. Pingback: On Scones, Part Two «

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