A freshly baked scone is a beautiful thing. Give me a warm, soft, buttery scone for breakfast (or any time of day for that matter), and I’m a very happy woman. Add some softly whipped cream, butter with jam, or a lightly sweetened glaze – it’s no wonder that this humble little quick bread has become a teatime favorite, and one that my family adores!
It’s no secret that I love to bake, and scones have become staples in my culinary repertoire. I often make them in big batches – half to serve right away, leaving the other half to freeze for later. Frozen scones that are oven ready when I don’t have time to bake? Makes perfect sense!
Since I’ve come across fresh strawberries in abundance lately, I’ve been using them in everything from my hot pink strawberry ice cream, to homemade jams, sauces and yes, to strawberry scones. A scone is a great carrier of taste – you can use just about any combination of flavors if you let your imagination run wild. Use anything from fresh or dried fruit for sweet scones, to cheese and fine herbs in savory varieties.
Relatively simple to make, there are a few things to remember that will make your life a little bit easier when making these scones.
First, your butter must be VERY cold (I just about freeze my butter). I also chill my dough to make sure it’s super cold before baking.
Second, whether you’re using a food processor or making by hand, your butter should be in small pieces throughout your dough. This means that you should NOT fully combine the butter into the flour. Scone dough is very different from cake batter – the butter must be in small pieces so that your end result is a light flakey scone as opposed to a hard and dry one.
Third, make your scones with a quick hand and don’t over work your dough.
Last, but not least, make sure that your oven is hot before you put in your scones. A hot oven means an even and fast rise. The scones will spread out and flatten if your oven isn’t hot enough (look at the difference in the pictures below). Always remember, COLD scones go into a HOT oven.
Serve these on their own, with jam, or with softly whipped cream (recipe below). The choice is yours.
You can double this batch if you like. Because the strawberries contain moisture, the scones will not rise as much as one made with dried fruit. The dough can be frozen whole, or you can “flash freeze” the dough once you’ve shaped them into triangles or rounds. To do this, line a baking tray with parchment or greaseproof paper, shape them as desired, and let freeze, uncovered for several hours. Once the scones are very hard, transfer them into a freezer bag, and seal well. The scones will last for a month when frozen. There’s no need to thaw once you’re ready to bake them, just pop them in the oven in their frozen state (they will take a couple of extra minutes to cook through).
Strawberry Scones (makes between 8 large and 14 small scones)
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ to ¾ cup fresh strawberries – washed, dried and chopped
- 140 grams unsalted butter, cut into ¼ inch cubes and chilled
- Zest of half a lemon
- 1 egg (plus 1 additional egg for the egg wash – see instructions below)
- ¼ cup milk
- ¼ cup whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Sugar for dusting the top of the scones.
For the egg wash:
Mix together one egg with 1 teaspoon of water.
For the whipped cream: (optional)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream, very cold
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1/3 cup sugar in a bowl. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, mix the strawberries and 1 tablespoon of sugar together.
Put the flour mixture in a food processor fitted with a steel blade (you can also do this with an electric mixer or by hand). Pulse a couple of times to distribute the ingredients.
Add the butter to the flour, pulsing several times (as many as 40 times if your butter is super cold!). Remember not to run your food processor or mixer continuously at this point. You still need to see little lumps of butter in the mixture.
Combine the milk, cream, egg, lemon zest, and vanilla in a bowl and mix until all the ingredients have been incorporated well.
Dump the flour and butter mixture into a large bowl. Add the wet milk/egg mixture and the strawberries.
With your hands, combine all the ingredients together without over-mixing.
Put the dough onto a large, lightly floured surface and form into a rough shaped disk, measuring approximately 2 inches high.
At this point you have a few choices. You can:
- Cut rounds out of your dough using a fluted cookie cutter.
2. Divide your dough by shaping the scones into free form balls.
3. Divide your dough in half, and roughly shape into rounds and cut an “X” through the dough to make triangles.
The amount of scones your dough will yield depends on the shape you are making. This batch makes anywhere from 8 large to 14 small scones.
Place whatever shape you’ve made on a parchment lined baking tray, and freeze the mixture for AT LEAST 30 minutes or longer (I try to leave mine in for an hour, or I make them the night before I bake them, and keep them in the freezer). Your dough can be frozen for up to a month.
Preheat your oven to 200 C (400 F).
Take the scones out of the freezer and place on a baking tray (make sure that there is at least one inch between each scone).
With a pastry brush or with your finger, lightly brush the top of each scone with the egg wash. Sprinkle each with a bit of granulated sugar.
Bake the scones for 25 to 30 minutes until the scones have risen slightly and are a light golden brown. Remember cooking time will vary depending on the size of your scones. Start checking for doneness at the 20-minute mark.
For the whipped cream:
With an electric mixer, start whipping your cream. Add the sugar and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Serve alongside the scones OR cut each scone in half and top with the cream. Garnish with fresh berries if desired.
I hope you love this strawberry scone recipe as much as I do!