Early-morning scones

October 4, 2009 § 3 Comments

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I am not one of those fortunate souls known as ‘morning people’. It takes a full hour after I get out of bed before I’m ready to interact with the world. Anyone who has to deal with me before then is greeted with blank stares, and attempts at speaking that generally come out as something like ‘hmmpghghh’.

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This is why morning baking rarely occurs at my house. I would love to fill the house with buttery pastries and warm muffins and cinnamon buns… mmmm…. but at any rate, all I can usually manage is to pour myself a bowl of cereal. Baking is for once my brain has turned on.

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But today was different! Not that I magically became an early riser, but rather that I slept past noon. I awoke bright-eyed and eager to make lemon-blueberry scones. And then promptly did.

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I was a little nervous about the recipe – it’s super important not to overwork scones – but these turned out very tender and light, just like they were supposed to. They’re very buttery but not very sweet, so if you like sugary morning treats, I would add a tablespoon of sugar. As it was, I liked them perfectly the way they are, but I would definitely use the glaze. I glazed only half to see which was better, and there was a clear winner. The glazed scones were still moist and lightly crisp, but the topping was just a little sweeter, and made for a nice contrast.

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This recipe only takes a few minutes to put together, and bakes quickly as well, so it really is well suited to everyday morning baking. However, I can’t pretend that I would ever get my act together enough to make scones before going to work, so I won’t preach to anyone else. But if you’re more put-together than me – as most people tend to be – this is a great way to start the day!

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Lemon-blueberry scones – from The New Best Recipe

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, preferably a lower-protein brand such as Gold Medal or Pillsbury
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen, but not thawed)
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Glaze:

  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat oven to 425°F.

In large bowl or in food processor, whisk (or pulse) together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.

If making by hand: using two knives, a pastry blender, or your fingertips, quickly cut in the butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal with a few slightly larger butter lumps. If using a food processor: distribute butter over dry ingredients. Process with 12 one-second pulses, then transfer to large bowl. Add blueberries and mix in quickly.

Stir in heavy cream with a spatula or fork until a dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.

Turn out onto countertop and knead by hand just until the dough comes together in a rough, slightly sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds.

Press dough into an 8-inch cake pan, and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut into 8 wedges and place on ungreased baking sheet. For glaze, brush tops with cream and then sprinkle with sugar.

Bake until the scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and serve.

Note: there are two key things here: one is to make sure your butter stays cold, and the other is not to overwork the dough. The first is easier if you use a food processor, because it’s quick and nothing has time to melt, but the second is easier by hand (which I did), where you can be more gentle. It’s not tricky though, just keep those in mind and you’ll have the perfect scones!

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