To many, scones fall under the breakfast category. They are then further categorized as either sweet or savory. These scones, while you could eat them for breakfast, are more of an afternoon-with-tea scone or a dessert scone. They are sweet, a little salty, and absolutely delicious right out of the oven. After all, they do have Heath tidbits, chopped pecans, and chocolate chips baked inside!
I made these scones yesterday in preparation of our house-hunting adventure. Looking for a new house is so stressful, but I had a lot of fun. (You know, a house is a big decision! You’ll be there for quite some time.) As a kid, my family would take numerous summer bike rides to a housing development a mile or so away from our home. We would spend time walking through the half-finished houses. My sisters and I would walk through the support beams, telling our parents we were walking through walls, and argue as to who had what bedroom. Haha, I feel silly thinking about that now. Anyway, these scones were for the car ride to the houses we saw. And to calm my nerves a bit.
To make good scones, you just need a little bit of practice and a bit of patience. Here are five tips I’ve learned along the way.
1. Have really cold butter. Cut up the butter in small pieces. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. This seems to help suspend the butter in the flour, which creates flaky scones.
2. Use a food processor. You can cut the cold butter with a pastry cutter or a knife, but I find dumping the dry ingredients in a food processor with the cubed butter works great. I use the “pulse” button and get it to smaller, pea-size pieces. This also helps with keeping the butter suspended in the flour, instead of it getting worked in. (Hence creating a tough scone.)
3. Use heavy cream and coarse (or sanding) sugar. This creates a nice caramelized top when you bake the scones.
4. Handle the dough as minimally as possible. If you work, or knead the dough, you will create tough, dry scones. No one likes barely-edible hockey pucks, so handle it as little as you can.
5. Dough freezes. This is perfect because you can bake a few scones at a time, if you like. This is such a brilliant concept and I wish I knew about this sooner! Using a biscuit cutter or knife, cut out circles or triangles of the dough and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for about 2 hours. Then wrap in plastic wrap before transferring to a freezer Ziploc bag. They will stay good for 3 months. To reheat, it’s best to place on a skillet and heat on medium-low heat. Use foil to cover the skillet and heat until they are thawed and warm. This is better than the microwave, as the microwave sometimes can make scones tough and/or chewy.
I hope these tips help you, especially if you’re new to making scones. And if you have any tips for scones, I’d love to hear from you. Just leave a little note in the comment section. Out of all the scone varieties I’ve made and shared, these are by far my absolute favorite. I brought one to work this morning for breakfast and happened to have it sitting on my desk. Many of my students came over and said, “What’s that? It looks so good!” I said, “It is, and it’s mine.” :) (I know, teachers are so mean!) Enjoy! xoxo
4 ½ c flour
2 T sugar
2 T baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 c buttermilk
1 package Heath tidbits
½ c chopped pecans (or other nut)
½ c chocolate chips
¼ c heavy cream
Sanding sugar, or coarse sugar
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Cut the butter into small cubes and place in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, place flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt in a large food processor. Pulse 5-6 times to fully incorporate and mix. After the 20-30 minutes, place the butter in the food processor and pulse until the butter is about the size of a large pea. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.
Add the Heath tidbits, pecans, and chips, and gently mix in with a wooden spoon. Make a well in the center of the bowl and pour in the buttermilk. Using your hands, mix the buttermilk into the dry mixture, gathering dough from the bottom of the bowl to the top. Once the mixture has just come together, transfer to a lightly-floured surface and press into a large, 1-inch circle. (If the dough appears too dry, add a little buttercream or heavy cream, about 2 T at a time.)
Using a biscuit cutter cut out circles and transfer to the cookie sheet. (You could also use a knife and cut out triangles.) Freeze the dough at least two hours, or overnight.
To bake, preheat the oven to 375. Brush the heavy cream on the top of each scone and sprinkle with the coarse sugar. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until the tops and edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Makes: 16-18 scones
TIP: If you don’t wish to bake the scones right away, place any unused frozen dough in plastic wrap and transfer to a freezer Ziploc bag. They will stay good for 3 months. To reheat, it’s best to place on a skillet and heat on medium-low heat. Use foil to cover the skillet and heat until they are thawed and warm. This is better than the microwave, as the microwave sometimes can make scones tough and/or chewy.
Recipe Source: adapted from Martha Stewart