We’re accustomed to gobbling fist-sized scones out of small brown paper sleeves at coffee shops, and it’s a fun way to start the day on the go. But few items in the baking sphere are as easy to master—and as rewarding to enjoy at home—than scones.
Our scone recipe is a chameleon—we’re giving you options for making it sweet and studded with chocolate, or savory with chives and aged white cheddar. You can even get crafty and flavor each half of the dough separately, so you can have a savory scone to kick things off and nibble a sweet one for seconds.
We prefer not to add sugar to our scones, because that way there’s leeway for piling on a big dollop of fruity jam or a golden-yellow smear of lemon curd. With savory scones, a poached or fried egg on the side is a nice touch—a boon you can’t enjoy with coffee shop scones.
Homemade scones are perfect for special weekend mornings, because it’s easy to prep them in advance, and they’re certainly not taxing to make on the fly. Instead of dragging mom to a crowded, mediocre brunch buffet this Mother’s Day, why not bake her some delectable scones and share relaxed time together at home? If you’re the mom, you’ll be treating yourself to a job well done.
Flaky Scones Two Ways
Adapted from Nancy Silverton
Makes 12 Scones
Some scone recipes call for lots of butter and no eggs; some call for eggs; some call for just cream and neither eggs nor butter; some call for all three. Though the results in texture and flavor will differ, the main key to scone success is not over-handling the dough. Scone dough that’s mixed just enough will bake up high and pillowy.
You can make and shape the scone dough the night before and refrigerate it, covered, to bake in the morning. You may also cover and freeze prepared, unbaked scone dough wedges for up to three months. Simply put them straight onto the baking sheet in their frozen state and extend the baking time about five minutes or so.
For the basic dough:
- 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- ¼ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)
- 11 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, grated on the large holes of a box grater or cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream, for brushing
For the chocolate-lemon scones:
- 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips or chocolate chunks
- 1 teaspoon coarse or granulated sugar, for sprinkling
For the cheddar-chive scones:
- 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, plus about 2 tablespoons for sprinkling
- ¼ cup thinly sliced chives or the green tops of scallions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon peel (if using) in a large bowl. Add the butter and, using your fingertips or a pastry cutter, work until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal (you may also do this step in a food processor, pulsing to combine, and then transferring to a large bowl to finish by hand).
3. Make a well in the center and pour in 3/4 cup of the milk. Using a fork or your hand, stir until just moist but still rough and shaggy. Gently knead in the add-ins; if the dough seems dry, add 1-2 more tablespoons milk. Divide the dough in half and pat each portion into a 3/4-inch-thick round. Cut each round into 6 wedges and transfer them to the prepared baking sheet, spacing 1 inch apart. Brush the tops with remaining 2 tablespoons cream. For the chocolate scones, sprinkle the tops with sugar; for the cheddar scones, sprinkle with a little bit of the reserved grated cheese.
4. Bake until light brown, about 18-20 minutes. The scones are best enjoyed within a few hours of baking. To refresh day-old scones, warm them in a 350 degree F oven for a few minutes before serving.
by Sara Bir