The perfect scone does exist! Read on to learn the simple and easy techniques for deliciously flavorful and flaky scones every time.
Tried and True Method for Making Scones
There is nothing better than a just-baked and still warm fluffy buttery scone with your morning cup of tea or coffee. Split open and slathered with butter that melts into a pool. Scones are underrated. But maybe that’s because many scones are a bit lackluster, dry and flavorless. I am here to help you remedy that. Perfect flaky and buttery scones are easy to achieve with a few simple techniques.
To create flaky layers you need to start with very cold butter. Look for butter with a high butterfat percentage. The higher the butterfat amount the slower butter will melt, which means it won’t get too soft as you work it into the flour, and henceforth will help create flaky layers in your scones. Cold butter will release steam as the scones bake in the oven and that steam expands the dough and will create layers as it tries to escape.
Create Layers by Folding
Another trick to create layers in scones is to minimally mix the dough and finish combining it by pressing it into a rectangle and folding it onto itself several times. Add your mix-ins as you fold the dough to evenly disperse them without overmixing the dough. Overmixing the dough can cause your scones to become tough and chewy. No thank you. This method will gently fold in any delicate fruit like berries so they do not break apart or become mashed.
How to Make Blueberry Lemon Scones
Step 1: Prep the dry ingredients
First, preheat the oven to 425˚F and cut a piece of parchment paper to fit a half sheet pan. Then in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and optional chopped lemon balm.
Cut the cold butter into small cubes and mix it into the flour mixture using your hands. Press the butter chunks between your fingers to cut them into the flour mixture lifting your hands up as you go to aerate the mixture. The resulting mixture should be sandy and resemble coarse breadcrumbs.
Step 2: Prep the wet ingredients
Mix the buttermilk, egg, lemon zest, and vanilla extract together in a separate bowl then pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, leaving behind about 2 tablespoons of the wet mixture to brush the scones with later.
Use your hands to mix the dough. It should be dry but hold together when squeezed. If it is too dry, mix in 1 tablespoon more buttermilk at a time until it holds together.
Step 3: Fold in the blueberries and create layers in the dough
Reserve a quarter of the blueberries to use later, then add another quarter of the blueberries to the dough so that they evenly cover the bottom half of the rectangle.
Use a bench scraper to help fold the top half of the dough over to cover the berries. Then turn it a quarter-turn (90˚) and press it back out into a larger rectangle. Lightly flour the dough, surface, and your hands as needed. The purpose of this technique is to gently fold in the fruit and create flaky layers in the scones.
Repeat layering the blueberries and folding the dough 2 more times until 3/4 of the berries are incorporated. So the dough will be folded a total of 3 times with 1/4 of the berries being folded each time.
Step 4: Shape and cut the scones
Press the dough into a circle about 8” wide and 1” thick. Gently press the remaining blueberries into the top and then cut the circle into 6 wedges.
Brush the tops with the saved wet mixture. Sprinkle about ½ teaspoon of sugar onto the top of each scone.
Step 5: Bake the scones
Bake at 425˚F for 25-30 minutes until the scones are golden brown and feel crusty on the outside but still soft in the middle when pressed.
Let them cool on the pan for 5 minutes then serve them warm.
Blueberry Lemon Scones Questions:
What other mix-ins would be good in this recipe?
Instead of blueberries try raspberries or blackberries for an easy swap. When I make raspberry scones I prefer to use frozen raspberries because fresh berries are so delicate and get mushy when layering them into the dough. Dried fruit and nuts are always a good choice too. Try dried cranberries, raisins, or currants with orange zest and pistachios or sliced almonds. Apple cinnamon scones are perfect for fall and peach scones are lovely in summer. Try adding in fresh herbs for even more flavor. Lemon balm and lemon verbena are great choices and go with almost any fruit you add. Basil, thyme, and mint are also great choices. You can make savory scones with this recipe too. Just reduce or omit the sugar amount, add a pinch more salt, and savory mix-ins like grated cheese, roasted garlic, and herbs such as chives, rosemary, thyme, or sage.
What can I use instead of buttermilk?
If you don’t have buttermilk on hand and don’t want to buy it just for this recipe you can add a splash of apple cider vinegar to the milk of your choice to sour and thicken it. Buttermilk is the byproduct of turning crema into butter and is naturally acidic. Vinegar added to milk will create a similar product. You can also use lemon juice instead of vinegar.
Can these be made without eggs and dairy?
Yes, both butter and buttermilk can be replaced with plant-based substitutes. Replace unsalted butter with plant-based butter in an equal amount and reduce the salt if the butter is already salted. Buttermilk can be replaced with plant milk with a splash of apple cider vinegar to sour and thicken it.
Can scones be made gluten-free?
For more scones and biscuits check out these recipes:
- Vegan Irish Soda Bread Scones
- Vegan Lilac Raspberry Scones
- Vegan Coconut Cream Biscuits
- Strawberry Shortcake Cake
- Vegan Semolina Lilac Strawberry Shortcake
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