The first time I made scones, I was shocked at how easy it was. I was a fairly new baker, and the break from creaming butter and sugar and making frosting (cupcakes were unsurprisingly my usual M.O. at the time) was welcomed. They came out good, but not the best ever. I think I used a whole egg on top instead of the egg white, making them considerably darker. Despite that, I loved how simple it was and how you could make any kind of scone so easily, with just one recipe.
Lemon scones, orange scones, raisin scones, currant scones… you get the idea. Even plain scones are excellent; especially with homemade jam or jelly.
Now that summer is almost over, as much as I hate to say that, I feel like baking more. I’m feeling really good too, so that’s probably adding to my baking craving. I’ve wanted to make cakes and cookies and brownies and all kinds of things lately. But these are SO EASY that I could make them all day, blindfolded, with one hand tied behind my back. I made these the first day I felt better after my wisdom tooth extraction, and while it took me a long time to eat one it was well worth it. Plus eating anything last week took me about an hour and a half, might as well make it something good.
I’ve made this recipe a gazillion times before. I could do it in my sleep. I don’t really even remember where I found it. But it lends itself to just about any and every kind of scone your brain can dream up.
Jay happens to love chocolate chip scones. So that’s what these are. But there’s no limit to what you can do! Like I said above. Cranberry-orange. Peach. Cherry. Jam-filled. Lemon glazed. Blueberry. Do you really need more ideas? No. You do not.
The thing I love most about these scones is that they require no heavy cream, just sour cream. I find that I rarely have heavy cream in the house when I need/want it, so for me this is important. Also- the frozen butter. I know that many of you don’t keep butter in the freezer. I don’t either. But I find even moderately frozen (i.e. in there for an hour) will work just fine. And if you don’t freeze it, super cold butter also works just fine. It’s brainless.
Also… the Silpat isn’t really necessary. Parchment paper will do the same job. Scones aren’t super sticky, but when the butter starts to melt they can be a little mushy. It just so happens I always forget that I even own Silpats and I really need to start using them, so here we are.
SIMPLE SCONE RECIPE
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, frozen
- 1/2 cup raisins, dried currants, cranberries, blueberries, chocolate chips, etc.
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 large egg + 1 egg white
- Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 400° degrees.
- In a medium bowl, mix flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Grate butter into flour mixture on the large holes of a box grater; use your fingers to work in butter (mixture should resemble coarse meal), then stir in raisins.
- In a small bowl, whisk sour cream and egg until smooth.
- Using a fork, stir sour cream mixture into flour mixture until large dough clumps form. Use your hands to press the dough against the bowl into a ball. (The dough will be sticky in places, and there may not seem to be enough liquid at first, but as you press, the dough will come together.)
- Place on a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7- to 8-inch circle about 3/4 to 1/2-inch thick. Brush the tops with the egg white and sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar (if desired). Use a sharp knife to cut into 8 triangles; place on a cookie sheet (preferably lined with parchment paper) or a Silpat. Bake until golden, about 15 to 17 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.
Suggestions for use: Add anything you want to make lemon scones, orange scones, raisin scones, currant scones, cranberry-orange, peach, cherry, jam-filled, lemon glazed, blueberry, cinnamon, key lime. Add glazes or icing to dress them up.
Soundtrack: Julie & Julia on TV.
Sources & credits: Cookie sheet; Wilton, Silpat; Williams-Sonoma.