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Best-Ever Scones

Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas; Styling: Buffy Hargett

Total time 33 mins
Yield Makes 8 servings
When reader Betty Joyce Mills from Birmingham shared her recipe for scones (she stirs a half cup of sweetened dried cranberries into the dough), we thought they were the best we had ever tasted. Never fearing too much of a good thing, we created eight sweet and savory variations.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup whipping cream, divided
  • Wax paper

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 450°. Stir together first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender until crumbly and mixture resembles small peas. Freeze 5 minutes. Add 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. cream, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.

  2. Turn dough out onto wax paper; gently press or pat dough into a 7-inch round (mixture will be crumbly). Cut round into 8 wedges. Place wedges 2 inches apart on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush tops of wedges with remaining 2 Tbsp. cream just until moistened.

  3. Bake at 450° for 13 to 15 minutes or until golden.

  4. Sweet Variations

  5. Chocolate-Cherry Scones: Stir in 1/4 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped, and 2 oz.coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate with the cream.

  6. Apricot-Ginger Scones: Stir in 1/2 cup finely chopped dried apricots and 2 Tbsp. finely chopped crystallized ginger with the cream. Drizzle with Vanilla Glaze after baking.

  7. Cranberry-Pistachio Scones: Stir in 1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries and 1/4 cup coarsely chopped roasted salted pistachios with the cream.

  8. Brown Sugar-Pecan Scones: Substitute brown sugar for granulated sugar. Stir in 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans with the cream.

  9. Savory Variations

  10. Bacon, Cheddar, and Chive Scones: Omit sugar. Stir in 3/4 cup (3-oz.) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup finely chopped cooked bacon, 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives, and 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper with the cream.

  11. Ham-and-Swiss Scones: Omit sugar. Stir in 3/4 cup (3 oz.) shredded Swiss cheese and 3/4 cup finely chopped baked ham with the cream. Serve warm with Mustard Butter: Stir together 1/2 cup softened butter, 1 Tbsp. spicy brown mustard, and 1 Tbsp. minced sweet onion.

  12. Pimiento Cheese Scones: Omit sugar. Stir in 3/4 cup (3-oz.) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese and 3 Tbsp. finely chopped pimiento with the cream.

  13. Rosemary, Pear, and Asiago Scones: Omit sugar. Stir in 3/4 cup finely chopped fresh pear, 1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese, and 1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary with the cream.

  14. Festive Touch

  15. Bite-Size Scones: Pat dough into 2 (4-inch) rounds. Cut rounds into 8 wedges. Bake as directed for 12 to 13 minutes.