Freshly baked scones and hot tea or coffee are the best way to start Sunday mornings. My favorite thing about eating scones is that there is such a wide variety to choose from: fruity, sweet, nutty or a little of each! I would have to say my top choice is either blueberry or chocolate chip. This weekend, however, fresh blackberries were on sale at the market, so I decided to see how blackberry scones would taste! Now, blackberries are one of my favorite berries–I use to hike the back trails of my house when I was younger and pick buckets of them off of the abundant wild bushes that grew along the path, so I may be a little bias with the turnout of my scones.
When I took them out of the oven, they were golden on top and fluffy on the inside. I let them cool a little bit and then added just a touch of glaze. Now, the trick to a delicious scone is making sure that it is moist and flaky on the inside. The key to this is the temperature of the butter. It must be really cold and cut into the dry ingredients–if you use melted or softened butter, you won’t get the same pastry-like texture. When I make scones, I cut the butter into very tiny pieces (to where your dry ingredients start to look crumbly) using a fork and knife. It is much easier if you have a pastry cutter but I don’t have one so the good ol’ fork and knife with a little arm strength did the trick. Once the pieces of butter create a coarse texture in the dry ingredients, you can then add the wet ingredients and whatever berries or chocolate chips you decide to put into your scones. When the scones bake, those tiny pieces of butter that you cut up melt and form pockets between the dough. These pockets are what gives the pastries that flaky texture! And then voilà, the next thing you know they are coming out of the oven and you are taking your first bite!
Scones are very easy to make and are also a great alternative to those store-bought frozen pastries that you pop into the toaster oven. Each week can even consist of a different flavor–apricot, raspberry, pumpkin, cranberry, chocolate, almond–the sky’s the limit. Whatever flavor you decide to make, these scones are perfect for an afternoon catching up with friends, a morning treat during the hectic work week (easily made the night before), or even a midnight snack! They’re so fun, and they add the perfect touch to any weekend. Give it a try!
Here is the Recipe (adapted from the Food Network’s Tyler Florence):
[This recipe makes 8 scones.]
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into chunks
1 1/4 cup heavy cream (plus a little more for brushing)
1 cup blackberries (or you can substitute for chocolate chips, blueberries, etc.)
[If you’re using fresh berries, I would recommend putting them in the freezer a little bit before you start baking so they are easier to work with.]
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Mix all of the dry ingredients together. Using a fork and a knife (or two forks) cut the butter into the dry ingredients until your mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Then form a well in the center of your ingredients and add the heavy cream. Fold everything together and add the berries. You might want to use your hands (rub them in flour if it gets too sticky) so you can fold lightly; try not to press too hard on the berries. Once everything is incorporated, shape your dough into a circle that is about 1 1/4 inch thick (sometimes shaping it in a floured pie tin helps). Then cut the dough into quarters and cut each quarter in half (you should have 8 triangle wedges). Place each piece on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush some cream on top. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes (or until the top and edges start to look golden brown)!
For a very quick glaze, take 3/4 of a cup of confectioner’s sugar and keep adding 1 teaspoon of whole milk at a time until you achieve a thick icing-like consistency. (You can add more milk if the glaze is too thick for you but add it very slowly because it takes less milk than you think!) Spoon the glaze into one corner of a ziplock bag. Using scissors, cut the corner of the bag (only a very small part) and pipe the glaze onto the cooled scones. Enjoy!