Saturday, June 7, 2014

Blueberry Scones

Oh, how simple. 

Just blueberries in a basic scone base, supported by our good friends maple syrup, nutmeg, and vanilla. Cushioned in buttery, flaky dough, they burst and ooze purple juice in a hot oven.

I made these scones this morning, and we ate them an hour later. While I'm not as practiced at scone methodology and measurement as I am with cookies (I've got the formula down pat!), they're still pretty easy, and I'm gradually getting into it. 

To summarize, though, here's how scones go:
mix together dry ingredients
"cut in" cold butter, cubed (cut the stick in half lengthwise both ways, like you're julienning it, then cut cubes crosswise)
mix together wet ingredients
add to dry ingredients and hope that catastrophic happens while you try to mix as little as possible to avoid errant gluten developement but get everything evenly mixed
pat into a round of dough on a floured surface
cut with rounds, squares, a knife, whatever floats your summery sailboat
bake for 15-20 minutes, ish

Okay, that gluten part is perhaps a bit more dramatic then it really is...'cause I swear these are easy! In fact, I made pie crust for handpies with a friend a few weeks back, and was totally surprised at how easy it is to work in butter by hand, and mix a dough without "overmixing" – that feared, never-forgiven sin of pie crust and other buttery doughs. 

I've discovered you can knead the dough a bit by folding it and pressing down on itself is a really good way to simultaneously make lovely flakes of butter, keep the dough delicate and lightly mixed, and work in the last bits of flour which invariably hang out at the bottom of the bowl.

So, after that complicated diatribe on my fear of overmixing...the point is that yes, you can make scones by hand, in a mixing bowl, without a pastry cutter or food processor, and they will be tender and flakey and delicious! Rubbing butter between your fingertips is possibly the most therapeutic of kitchen activities (unless you're angry, in which case you might want to go with spatchcocking a chicken or kneading pizza dough by hand).

Without further ado...

Blueberry Scones
Yield: 15, 2 inch round scones


3 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup buttermilk (or 2 teaspons of lemon juice with enough milk to make 3/4 cup)

1 cup fresh blueberries

buttermilk or milk for brushing the tops of the scones before baking

granulated or sanding sugar for sprinkling on top before baking


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat and set aside.

2. In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, pinch of nutmeg, and salt.  Cut in butter (rubbing it into the mixture with your fingertips) until mixture resembles a coarse meal.  Some butter pieces will be the size of peas and some will be the size of oat flakes. In another bowl, combine egg, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and milk and beat lightly with a fork.  Add to flour mixture all at once, stirring enough to make a soft, shaggy mass of dough.  Fold in the blueberries.

3. Turn out onto a floured board and knead, folding and pressing, until the mixture comes together (some blueberries may burst, that's okay. If they make the dough wet, just add a bit more flour and keep folding them into the interior of the dough).  Roll or pat out into a 1-inch thickness.  Cut into 2-inch rounds using a round cutter or cut into 2×2-inch squares.  Reshape and roll dough to create more scones with excess scraps. 

4. Place on an ungreased baking sheet.  Brush lightly with buttermilk or milk and sprinkle with sugar.   Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown on top.  Eat and enjoy!

Note: I tried freezing a few unbaked scones, but haven't baked them yet. I'll let you know how they turned out when I do!

Recipe courtesy of Joy the Baker (

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