Written by Katherine Sasser.
Photos by Elizabeth McLaurin.
I have a love-hate relationship with scones. In the category of breakfast breads, they are at the top of my favorites list. In the category of baked goods that are guaranteed to be worth the hassle, they have spent a lot of time at the bottom of the favorites list.
I have collected scones recipes for years, hoping to find the magic formula for yielding a tall scone with craggy corners and a supple, soft interior. After years of searching and testing, I finally developed a perfect scone base recipe that can be customized with the add-ins of your choice (chocolate chips, dried fruit, blueberries, etc.) or left plain and used as a shortcakes.
The components of the recipe are quite straightforward. Cold butter is mixed with dry ingredients, and then wet ingredients are added. Roll them out, cut and bake.
The only speed bump worth mentioning is scone dough is messy. Most things worth having are messy along the way (children, marriage, friendships…and scones). But with a little flour on your hands and a touch of patience, you will be well-rewarded for your efforts. All good things are worth the mess.
Cold butter is essential when making scones, and you should see large chunks of it in your finished dough. These bits of butter create steam when they hit the oven, and that steam lifts the dough creating the flaky texture we all love.
As an added convenience, scone dough can be cut and stored unbaked in your freezer. When the need arises for perfect scones, bake them from frozen. No thawing required!
Cinnamon Chip Scones
yield: 12 scones
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, diced
4 extra-large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups cinnamon chips
Egg wash and turbinado sugar for baking
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Add the cold butter and mix at the lowest speed until the butter is the size of peas.
Crack the eggs into a 2-cup glass measuring cup and beat with a fork until combined. Add the cream to the eggs and stir to combine.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour in the egg and cream mixture into the flour and butter mixture. Mix just until blended. The dough will look lumpy. Add the cinnamon chips and briefly mix to stir them in.
Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and shape it into a very thick rectangle. You should be able to see chunks of butter in the dough, and your hands are going to get quite messy. Use flour to keep the dough from sticking to you and the board. Cut the rectangle into twelve squares. Place the scones on the prepared baking sheets.
Brush the tops of the scones with egg wash, sprinkle with turbinado sugar, and bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops are brown and the insides are fully baked.