Sunday, September 4, 2011

First Attempt at Scones = Success!

On weekends, we like to stop by a local coffee shop for pastries and coffee and we almost always get scones. I've had a slight desire to make them, but figured they would be too much trouble and I was terrified that they would be dry and inedible. Well, I recently found a recipe for blueberry scones from Cooks Illustrated, and I'm always a fan of their recipes and knew I would be trying this one out.

I did just that this weekend. I got up early and headed out to the store to pick up ingredients and got started. All in all, it was a pretty easy recipe. The most annoying thing about this recipe was having to grate frozen butter, but I know this step was integral in making these scones so delicious. Also, the dough was very sticky, and I didn't add enough flour when I rolled out the dough, so I'll have to be mindful about this for the next time. Because the dough was so sticky, I also had issues with cutting the dough as the instructions stated, so I just made them drop scones. They aren't the prettiest, but who cares!

These came out crispy on the outside and nice, soft, and moist on the inside. The blueberries were plump, tart, and paired wonderfully with the lemon zest. I will definitely be making these again and will seek out more scone recipes to try.

Scones fresh out of the oven

Blueberry Scones
Makes 8 large scones
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated magazine, Jul/Aug 2007 issue
  • 1 stick plus 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, frozen whole
  • 1 ½ c fresh blueberries (about 7 1/2 ounces), picked over2
  • ½ c whole milk
  • ½ c sour cream
  • 2 c unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces), plus additional for work surface
  • ¾ c sugar (3 1/2 ounces), plus 1 T for sprinkling
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp table salt
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425°F. Score and remove half of wrapper from each stick of frozen butter. Grate 1 stick of butter from unwrapped ends on large holes of box grater. Place grated butter in freezer until needed. Melt 2 tablespoons of remaining ungrated butter and set aside. Place blueberries in freezer until needed.
  2. Whisk together milk and sour cream in medium bowl; refrigerate until needed. Whisk flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest in medium bowl. Add frozen butter to flour mixture and toss with fingers until thoroughly coated.
  3. Add milk mixture to flour mixture; fold with spatula until just combined. With rubber spatula, transfer dough to liberally floured work surface. Dust surface of dough with flour; with floured hands, knead dough 6 to 8 times, until it just holds together in ragged ball, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking.
  4. Roll dough into approximate 12-inch square. Fold dough into thirds like a business letter, using bench scraper or metal spatula to release dough if it sticks to countertop. Lift short ends of dough and fold into thirds again to form approximate 4-inch square. Transfer dough to plate lightly dusted with flour and chill in freezer 5 minutes.
  5. Transfer dough to floured work surface and roll into approximate 12-inch square again. Sprinkle blueberries evenly over surface of dough, then press down so they are slightly embedded in dough. Using bench scraper or thin metal spatula, loosen dough from work surface. Roll dough, pressing to form tight log. Lay seam-side down and press log into 12 by 4-inch rectangle. Using sharp, floured knife, cut rectangle crosswise into 4 equal rectangles. Cut each rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet.
  6. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sugar. Bake until tops and bottoms are golden brown, 18 to 25 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool 10 minutes before serving.
  7. Refrigerate or freeze leftover scones, wrapped in foil, in an airtight container. To serve, remove foil and place scones on a baking sheet in a 375°F oven. Heat until warmed through and recrisped, 8 to 10 minutes if refrigerated, 16 to 20 minutes if frozen.

To make ahead:

After placing the scones on the baking sheet, either refrigerate them overnight or freeze. When ready to bake, for refrigerated scones, heat oven to 425°F and continue with step 6. For frozen scones, heat oven to 375°F, resume with step 6, and extend cooking time to 25 to 30 minutes.


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