They won me over. They wooed me in. I owe this baking habit of mine to scones. (And I’m hoping to share the habit with you. Have you entered the giveaway yet? Ends Sept. 16.) After making them, you will feel empowered. You’ll begin to transform into Steve Urkel. Pants high, suspenders taut, glasses thick, in a nasally pitch saying—Did I do that?
You’ll begin to understand that chunks of butter create pockets of air. That baking powder allows for a beautiful rise. That underworked dough is perfectly worked dough. And that turbinado dusted with cinnamon paints a lovely crunch. At least that’s what I learned.
If you haven’t made scones before, please tell me you’ll give them a try. I made a video to entice you (with the huge help of Graham Hauser!). Every step is documented. And below every trick is transcribed. You’ll be addicted to scone making in no time. It was my gateway drug into baking. And who knows, next you’ll be making biscuits and pie crust from scratch. Same techniques. What do you say?
- At least 3 hours before making scones, wash, dry, cut, and freeze cherries. This will keep the cherries from bursting in the dough.
- Preheat oven to 375°. Combine turbinado and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- With a pastry blender, cut butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal (chunks the size of a pea).
- Make a well in the center of the mixture, and pour in buttermilk.
- Mix with pastry fork until the dough comes together. Knead dough on clean surface until just incorporated. Don’t worry, dough will be somewhat dry.
- Press dough into a shallow rectangle, about 1-inch thick. Press 1/2 cup of the fruit into half of the dough. Fold over using the pastry knife to loosen. Shape dough back into a rectangle. Press remaining fruit into the top of the dough.
- Using the pastry knife, cut dough into four equal rectangles. Then cut each rectangle diagonally, making 8 scones.
- Place scones on baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Brush tops with melted butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon turbinado mixture. Place in freezer for 5-10 minutes. Chilling the dough helps it to hold its shape while baking.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.
• Whole wheat flour can be substituted for all-purpose flour.
• Cherries are easily interchangeable for other fruits or fillings. Just remember to freeze the fruit before making scones.
• Chunks of butter are your friend. They create those beautiful layers in the scone. Don’t be tempted to overwork them.
• Work quickly to keep the dough cold. If the dough gets too warm, the butter chunks will melt. Pop it into the freezer for 5 minutes.
• Do not freeze dough for later use. Up until a couple months ago I used to do this, but it makes for flat and off-colored scones. Bleh! Fresh scones are the best scones.
Recipe adapted from The Bistro (Door County, WI).