Sometimes I really let my kid down. Like this morning when she requested scones and I quite foolishly asked her what shape. Turns out I don’t quite know how to make a train shaped scone. It really is something when a two year old looks disappointed in you. Anyway, turns out that by the time I made them she was quite over them. Probably because they weren’t train shaped.
These scones were easy peasy and quick. I made a pretty basic version, but I imagine you can make all sorts of variations on them. Next on my agenda? Lime zest and toasted coconut flakes, orange zest and white chocolate chips and lemon with crystallized ginger. I suppose there is a bit of a citrus theme here, but after a long fall/water of earthier flavors I am ready for a little more brightness.
2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
8 tbsp frozen unsalted butter
½ cup sour cream
1 large egg
Zest of one lemon (optional)
Preheat your over to 400 degrees. Cut your butter into small pieces (or grate it) and put it back in the freezer.
Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir. Note that I use the largest bowl I have because my resident overzealous mixer tends to toss things all over the place otherwise. Now grate the zest of a lemon over the flour mix and stir to combine. The lemon zest is optional, but man it makes the dough smell good AND look prettier. You will not get lemon flavoured scones from this amount of zest, but lemon scented ones. Sounds delightful already doesn’t it?
Speaking of overzealous mixing the best description I have read of how to make scones is that you should mix/cut in the butter is with ‘benign indifference’. Point is that you should not overdo it, no credit for pulverizing the butter here. Okay so feeling benignly indifferent now? Great, let’s proceed.
Cut in your butter with a pastry cutter, two knives, or with your hands unless they run warm. For a scone to be lovely and flaky it depends on little pockets of butter to remain in the dough which is why we a.) Freeze it and b.) Cut in the butter until the mixture looks like pebbly or like ‘rocky road’ with some pea sized pieces and others smaller. I find that dicing the butter into small pieces makes this all much faster. Also if you enthusiastically rub things in with your hands then you essentially make your flour ‘tougher’. People, in a nutshell, the lazier the better.
Now measure out the sour cream, add your egg into the same measuring cup, give it a good whisk with a fork and pour the egg-sour cream mix over the scones and mix it in with the fork. Do not be alarmed if you do not see results instantly, it will come more or less together.
Press it together, dump it onto a floured board and essentially press the dough into one more or less cohesive piece. I basically form a big log shape and then keep turning my log over to incorporate the dry bits that keep falling out, a few turns later it all comes together. Now pat it out so that it is 7/8 of an inch thick, sprinkle with a teaspoon of sugar, and cut it into your shape of choice.
The fastest? Make the dough disc shaped and then cut it into 8 wedges.
Put the dough on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 15-17 minutes until the tops are golden brown. I made mine into circles and should have taken them out closer to 12-13 minutes which is why mine are a little beyond the golden phase. Still delicious though. Trust me, I ate 3.