Good scones. Bear in mind, though, that British cooks can make better scones than this WITHOUT any leavening and with no sugar. Scones are not the blobs of cheap bread dough shaped in a triangle and liberally dosed with sugar that Americans think they are (present recipe excluded, of course). And for those who complained about the crumbly dough, ummmmmm, crumbly dough makes crumbly scones. Crumbly scones are good...and authentic. Yikes.
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.
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- 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
- 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.
- Sweet Variations
- Chocolate-Cherry Scones: Stir in 1/4 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped, and 2 oz.coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate with the cream.
- 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.
- Cranberry-Pistachio Scones: Stir in 1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries and 1/4 cup coarsely chopped roasted salted pistachios with the cream.
- Brown Sugar-Pecan Scones: Substitute brown sugar for granulated sugar. Stir in 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans with the cream.
- Savory Variations
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Festive Touch
- Bite-Size Scones: Pat dough into 2 (4-inch) rounds. Cut rounds into 8 wedges. Bake as directed for 12 to 13 minutes.
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