My mother’s been baking scones for as long as I can remember, but before the advent of the local Starbucks nobody else we knew ate them outside our house. Friends considered Mom’s scones an exotic British treat. [Truth be told, even after the first Starbucks arrived, it was better known for the olfactory similarity between its coffee and skunk spray than its baked goods. Next time you walk past a Starbucks, stop, take a deep sniff, and think about it. Delicious coffee with aromatic overtones of skunk. I’m right, aren’t I?]
I used to always use my Mom’s standard scone recipe – the classic kind that calls for butter blended in with a pastry cutter – but switched over to cream scones a year ago after realizing how easy and delicious they are. Cream scones are my standard recipe when a friend drops by for a visit or I need a quick dish for a brunch. These only take five minutes to mix together, and another 12-15 minutes to bake. Stir them up when a guest pulls into the driveway and you’ll have a treat ready by the time everyone’s shaken hands, kissed the babies, and poured a cup of coffee.
from The Joy of Cooking
Preheat oven to 425.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup dried fruit (chopped sour cherries, cranberries, chopped apricots, raisins, blueberries, currants, etc.) Alternatively/additionally, you could throw in some chopped nuts or chocolate chips. I use cherries most often. Currants are traditional, but good luck finding them anywhere around here…
Stir in, just until dry ingredients are moistened:
- 1.25 cups heavy cream
- [Optional] 1 tsp grated orange zest
Gather the dough into a ball, and gently knead it against the sides of the bowl 5 or 10 times to collect loose pieces. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and pat into an 8-inch round about 3/4 inch thick. Cut into 8 or 12 wedges.
[Optional] Brush tops with 2 to 3 tsp cream or milk. Also optional, sprinkle the tops with cinnamon and sugar. I usually leave the tops unadorned for simplicity’s sake.
Bake on an ungreased baking sheet until the tops are golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Best when served warm with butter and jam or honey. These also freeze nicely for busy weekday breakfasts.