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Friday, July 11, 2008

The Best Cream Scones Recipe Ever



I’ve been trying to recall when I had scones for the first time. For some reason, I don’t recall being very fond of scones while living in Malaysia (which is strange being that we were a British colony at one time and scones should be something I’m familiar with). And when I got to the US, the scones I got at most eateries/bakeries didn’t leave me wanting more—they were always very big, dry and tasted like sawdust in the mouth. I guess I just preferred cakes and cookies then.

Then one day, I read an article in my Fine Cooking magazine on a multi-purpose baking mix and one of the things you could do with it was make scones. I tried it and it was lovely and more cake-like. I made it for several parties and gatherings and it got very good reviews. But this is not the recipe I’m going to share today…that will be another post. Why? Because, believe it or not, I found an EVEN BETTER recipe.

What’s the difference between the first recipe and the second? Well, the first one I always recommend to anyone who doesn’t like scones—the texture is not as crumbly, it’s just a bit more cake-like and so far most of my friends who also claim not to like scones have enjoyed that one. But for the people who like their scones to be more, well…scone-like (as in not a cake), this is the recipe for you. The added advantage of this second recipe is that it does not call for eggs so for many of you who have children with egg allergies, you can make this for them as a treat.

I’ve shared this recipe with many friends and posted it on a forum and it is probably one of my most shared recipes. Why is it so good? It’s all about the butter, baby! (Alright, the heavy cream helps too.) The ingredients are very simple but they are filled with wonderful fat that makes this scone lovely in the mouth. It’s really hard to stop at just one when you’ve baked them.

Another reason I love this recipe—it’s simple to make. I’ve got it down to an art where I can have scones to eat from start to finish baking in about 30 minutes. If you take the time to double the batch and freeze one batch at the point before you put in the liquid ingredients, then making them takes even less time.

Cream scones

(recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen and technique adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine)

Ingredients:
2 cups (10 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
3 Tbsp sugar (more for sprinkling)
1/2 tsp salt
5 Tbsp (2.5oz) cold, unsalted butter
1/2 cup dried currants *
1 cup heavy cream (more for brushing)

*Currants can be replaced with raisins although I’m not so keen on raisins. A variation that I like is to add 1 Tbsp grated orange zest and 1/2 cup dried cranberries instead of currants.

Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C).

Place flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl and mix. Cut in butter until it resembles coarse meal.

(At this point, you can freeze the mixture in a container for later.)

Add currants. Mix. Stir in heavy cream until it comes together in a shaggy ball. It will still have lots of loose, sandy pieces. If you think it's too loose and sandy, you can add a little bit more cream to bind it a bit more -- it shouldn't affect the outcome if a bit more cream is added. *Note: I find that pouring the cream in slowly and mixing it little by little is more efficient than dumping the cream in all at once.

Place batter on a floured surface and roughly work it into a ball.



Press the ball down into a rectangular shape.



Fold the dough like you're folding a business envelope (in thirds, first right fold to center, then left fold to center). Notice that it is still quite shaggy and loose. That's ok.

Press the dough down again into rectangular shape in a vertical position. Do the business envelope fold again, this time top third to center then bottom third to center. The dough will still be a little sandy and loose--don't worry about it...the less you work it, the flakier it will be.



Now, press the dough down into a circle. Cut it into 8 large or 16 small triangles.



Separate the individual scones and place them on a baking tray that is lined with parchment paper. Brush the top of the scones with cream and then sprinkle each one with a little sugar.



Bake for 12-15 mins until golden brown on top.



I challenge you to eat no more than one at a time. Once you pop one of these babies in your mouth, it will be hard to resist taking another!

Cheers, Annie

More baked goods: Amish Friendship Bread, Marble Cream Cheese Cake, Roti Boy Butter Buns, Third Aunt's Butter Cake

More food porn

42 Comments:

Jude said...

I can already tell how delicious those are based on the texture in the pictures.. Can't go wrong with Cooks Illustrated recipes and techniques.

crunchbot said...

can't wait to make these!

Annie & Nate said...

@Jude: thanks! CI is one of our favorite resources.

@crunchbot: do let us know how it turns out for you!

Zesty Cook said...

Hey Annie...
Love your recipe. I cannot wait to try this scones. I am huge sucker for baked anything. I can't wait to let you know how I got along following your guidance. Keep up the good work... Love your site.

Nate-n-Annie said...

@ZestyCook - thanks and good luck. Let us know how it comes out!

Jeanine said...

These scones look absolutely AMAZING! Wow!

Nate-n-Annie said...

@Jeanine - thanks, coming from you that means a lot.

Anonymous said...

I tried the recipe today with the currants. It was absolutely delicious. I made a little honey cinnamon butter on top...hmmmmm hmmmm. Lisa

Nate-n-Annie said...

@Lisa - good on ya!

Pearlsofeast said...

Wonderful Blog u have, I browsed few recipes and I simply loved each of them. I have bookmarked this scone recipe and loved the way u have shown them step by step.
Thanks and keep in touch.

Nate-n-Annie said...

@Pearlsofeast - welcome to our blog, and thanks for the kind words!

Darren said...

These look amazing. I will have to make these next time I host a brunch party!

Nate-n-Annie said...

@Darren - thanks. Your guests will thank you as well!

Nicole said...

Your scones sound very similar to mine! Even the way you mold the dough and cut it. Cool.

Anonymous said...

Dear Annie,

I tried this recipe this morning, we love it. Thanks for posting it.
ineke

Nate-n-Annie said...

@Ineke - that's what we like to hear -- people trying out our recipes and loving them. It keeps us going.

Queenie said...

I made these tonight.. and they were awesome! Thanks for sharing.

Nate-n-Annie said...

@Queenie - woo hoo! you're welcome, and thanks for reporting back with your results.

Brenda - Aesthetic Dalliances said...

Yum yum - now that I live in the UK I am OBSESSED with scones and these look great.

Will be trying out a bacon-cheddar scone recipe soon myself. If you're up for some savory deliciousness, stay tuned!

Anonymous said...

Not only a great recipe, but the photos are a big help for beginning bakers!

Mrs Erg├╝l said...

Thanks for sharing this recipe! Since I'm still on the lookout for the RIGHT scone recipe, I simply have to give this a try! I will let you know how it goes!

Alli said...

i just made these for a bridal shower and they were absolutely fantastic!

Nate-n-Annie said...

@Alli - yay! thanks for the report back.

bima as herself said...

this is my "go to" recipe, thanks for posting!

Nate-n-Annie said...

@bima - wonderful! Glad to hear it.

Anonymous said...

hi ms.annie, i'm april a housewife and a mother..i found out scones are tasty and wonnderful for teas, thanks to my husband being british who introduced it to me.
just wanna ask, what do u call that mat u used as ur working surface?and where can i buy one?i live in Philippines but my husband is based in the UK.
if u can tell me, it will be appreciated so much.
thank u

Nate-n-Annie said...

@April - hi, and thanks for your comment! The mat we are using is called a Silpat. It is a silicone-embedded fiberglass mat made in France. They come in various sizes. I'm sure your husband can find them in baking / cooking supply stores.

Elissa said...

I made these scones using coconut cream, shredded coconut, and dried blueberries. While I didn't use your method of folding the dough, the scones still came out wonderfully. Thanks for the recipe!

http://17andbaking.wordpress.com/2009/06/06/blueberry-coconut-cream-scones/

Nate said...

You're welcome, and thanks for the great feedback. Coconut cream instead of regular is a wonderful idea.

Queenie said...

I made these tonight.. and they were awesome! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Great recipe! My family just loves them. Thank you.

Killer said...

Got up this morning and made these scones for my wife. She liked them so much that I got dragged back into bed! For obvious reasons I liked them as well! Annie you are a genius.

Nate-n-Annie said...

@Killer - ahahaha - thanks, that made our day!

Rich said...

Hey Nat and Annie,

I made these tonight using the grated frozen butter and ziplok back method. Added the cream. Sprinkled top of dough heavy with cinnamon. Cut them round and used the bottom of a ladle to make a well in each one. When they came out of the oven I spooned butter fried apple and caramel sauce over each with a scoop of triple vanilla gelato. Was outstanding. Thanks for the push to make them. Ginsey wants to call them autumn apple shortcakes.

MCRC

Deeba @Passionate About Baking said...

Truly tempting. No egg? Yes, I love them!! Am bookmarking them to make soon!!

Nate-n-Annie said...

@Rich - you are too awesome! I'm honored you'd use our recipe.

@Deeba - let us know how they turn out for you!

WenG said...

I love your blog. This recipe is perfect!

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU, thank you! These are the scones I remember . . . you have restored my faith in Brit cuisine!

Nate @ House of Annie said...

@WenG - thanks for your kind words!

@Anonymous - wow, what a compliment! :-)

Queenie said...

I made these tonight.. and they were awesome! Thanks for sharing.

Nate @ House of Annie said...

@Queenie - you're welcome! Glad you liked it.

Hasmin Cannon said...

I'm sooo glad to have found your blog! When I saw this recipe, I had to make it right away. (thank goodness I had the basic ingredients) I didn't have currants, but I did have frozen blueberries, and I also made another batch with chocolate chips...both turned out great and yummy! thank you for sharing. :)