Mmm, scones. When scones are done right, they are one of my favorite accompaniments to an equally "done right" cup of coffee. But, as many others may have experienced too, I have fallen victim to a dry, dense, flavorless mound of flour and butter that some bakers try to pass off as a scone, only to leave me less than satisfied.
Working as pastry chef at a restaurant here in Newport Beach, I "inherited" a recipe for scones that I swear by. The dough produces a tender crumb, is a balance of sugar and flour, and (dare I say) is extremely light. We used to use currants for these scones when served for brunch, but you could use any other dried fruit with the same end product.
I recently catered a baby shower where these were served with tea sandwiches - to which the scones received rave reviews. I thought it best to share something lovely and delicious.
- 4 C All Purpose flour
- 4 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp kosher or sea salt
- 5 tsp baking powder
- 8 oz butter, cold, and cubed into pea-size (see photo below)
- 1 C currants
- 1 1/2 C (plus extra for brushing) heavy cream
Ok, "pea size" cubed butter: this is what it looks like. It is easiest (and best) to cut the butter when it is right out of the refrigerator. Once cut, put onto a plate and put back into the refrigerator or freezer to "chill" the butter. This is an important step as the colder the butter is the flakier the dough will be.
Preheat oven to 375*F.
Using a standing mixer with the paddle attachment (you could use a food processor, but I prefer this method), add the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder to the mixing bowl; turn on mixer and thoroughly combine dry ingredients.
Next, add chilled butter to the dry ingredients. Make sure to try to separate each of the cubes into the flour.
Turn the mixer on, starting slow and working up to medium speed, allowing the butter to "break up" or "cut" into the flour mixture, creating what sort of looks like crumbly sand. This will take about 8 minutes if not longer.
Next, add the currants to the butter-flour mixture. Turn mixer on to low to combine all of the ingredients thoroughly.
Add the cream to the mixer, and starting on low mix the ingredients together until the dough just comes together. Then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; lightly knead the dough until it comes together in one cohesive mass.
Roll out the dough to about 1" thick, and cut as you desire. I prefer cutting the dough into triangular shaped wedges. Brush each scone with a little cream and sprinkle with a little sugar.
Bake at 375*F for about 10-15 minutes or until light brown on top and appears cooked through on the sides. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 8-10 minutes before serving.
These scones are perfectly light, not too sweet, and the flavor of the currants balances very well with all of the other flavors. You can use this "base" scone recipe and add a myriad of ingredients: chocolate chips, cinnamon and apples, lemon zest...the sky's the limit.