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This morning I received an email from a nice lady who wanted help making scones. I told her that the key to great scones is “Don’t let your butter melt!” Then I gave her the following directions.

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You will need a pastry knife, or pastry blender. Get your pastry knife here.

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Directions for Making Scones

Scones are a lot like biscuits, fancy biscuits. We load our biscuits with everything from garlic and cheese to jalapeno peppers to cinnamon chips. We’ve even frosted biscuits. So, the line between biscuits and scones is very blurry.

We love scones/biscuits. You can make scones faster than cookies. You can mix them faster, form them faster, and bake them quicker.  And everyone loves a hot scone.

Step 1: Mixing the Dough

No need to set up your stand-type mixer.  Add your mix (or dry ingredients) to a large bowl.  Cut in the butter with a pastry knife.  Add the water and stir with a fork.  When the dough begins to form, dump the contents on the counter and knead with your hands for a few moments, just until everything sticks together in a dough ball.

Step 2: Forming the Scones

Pat the dough into a disk with the dough 1/2- to 3/4-inches thick.  Cut the disk into wedges and lay them on nonstick or lightly greased baking sheet with 1/2- to 3/4-inches between the scones.

Step 3: Baking the Scones

Bake them in a hot oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges just barely start to brown.  Remove them to a wire rack to cool.  Frost them if desired.  Serve them hot.

Baker’s notes:

While it’s traditional to cut scones into wedges, you don’t have to.  We often use a biscuit cutter and cut them into circles as you would biscuits.  Lately, we have been patting our dough into a rectangle and cutting the dough in 2-inch by 2-inch squares.

Keep your dough chilled and don’t let the butter melt. That’s easy to do if you start with rock hard butter and cold water.  We measure the water first and put it in the freezer compartment of the refrigerator for a few minutes until ready to use. If the butter melts, your dough will become wet and soggy.  When you cut your scones, you should be able to see chunks of butter in your dough.

Don’t over bake your scones.  They should barely begin to brown around the edges.

Favorite Scone Recipes

Apricot Orange Scones Recipe

Apricot and orange are a wonderful marriage. The scones are light and airy. The apricot bits meld with the orange to make a great mixture. With a little more butter and sour cream than most recipes, they don’t need extra butter and jam and they are perfect for breakfast or brunch. This recipe is not difficult.

Ingredients

1/2 cup dried apricots, diced fine
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup cold butter cut into chunks

1 cup sour cream
1 large egg yolk
1/2 tablespoon orange zest

Orange glaze (recipe below)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

  1. Cover the diced apricots in very hot water. Let them soak for five minutes and then drain them thoroughly.
  2. With a pastry knife, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it is granular in appearance.
  3. Mix the sour cream, egg yolk, and zest together in a small bowl. Make a depression in the dry ingredients and add the liquid mixture and the apricots. Stir with a spatula until moistened. (Note: If the fruit was not completely drained, the dough may be too wet. If so, add more flour as needed.)
  4. Dust the countertop with flour and turn the dough out. Pat the dough into a disk about 12 inches in diameter. Cut the disk into wedges and place them on an ungreased baking sheet with room around them to expand.
  5. Bake for 12 minutes or until they are golden. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Drizzle with glaze. Serve while still warm.

Orange Glaze

1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Orange juice

Cranberry White Chocolate Country Scones

Cranberries and white chocolate make a scrumptious combination.   Claudia Klingler, the innkeeper at the Blue Heron Inn north of Rigby, Idaho, was gracious enough to share this recipe with us.  She makes it like a drop biscuit.  We made it both as a drop biscuit and as a traditional scone.

Original Recipe (Drop Biscuit)

This makes a very light, cloud-like biscuit.

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, chilled
1 egg
buttermilk to make 1 cup with the egg, whisked together
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry knife until the mixture resembles coarse corn meal. Add chips and dried cranberries.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Gently mix only until combined. Do not over mix!  Drop mounds onto an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake for 11-15 minutes until slightly browned. Serve with Devonshire cream.

Traditional Recipe (Scone)

This is a traditional scone that is very loaded with chips and cranberries—one cup of inclusions for two cups of flour.

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, chilled
1 egg
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

With a pastry knife, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it is granular in appearance.  Stir in the chocolate chips and cranberries.

Mix the egg and buttermilk together in a small bowl. Make a depression in the dry ingredients and add the liquid mixture. Stir with a spatula until moistened.

Dust the countertop with flour and turn the dough out.  Fold the dough together until you have a single, large lump of dough.  Pat it into a disk about 8 inches in diameter. Cut the disk into wedges and place them on an ungreased baking sheet with room around them to expand.

Bake for 11-12 minutes or until they are golden. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Serve while still warm.

About the Author

Dennis Weaver has burned food from Point Barrow, Alaska, to Miami, Florida. He is the founder of The Prepared Pantry in Rigby, Idaho and the author of “How to Bake: The Art and Science of Baking” available as an E-book or as a Kindle book on Amazon. Dennis lives in Rigby, Idaho, with his wife, Merri Ann. They have five wonderful children and six beautiful granddaughters.