How to Make Our Best Basic Blueberry Scones
Scones are among the easiest pastries to be permanently turned off of, depending on your earliest encounters with them. If you’ve ever had a subpar scone, you know it—and if the first you’ve ever had is subpar, you may have very well written them off altogether, then and there, never to receive another chance. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying it happens. As a species, we seem to be inexplicably more forgiving towards mediocre muffins and lackluster doughnuts than we are hockey puck scones.
It’s sad, but as far as I can see it, there is a surefire solution at hand: Make incredible scones yourself, and show the naysayers—show them a new vision of sconery. If you’re up for this challenge, our best basic blueberry scone recipe is the only roadmap you need. See, the best part of this challenge is that, as it turns out… it’s not very challenging at all. As long as you have this recipe in hand (and you know, read it and do what it says), making round-of-applause-worthy scones is an easy project for baking novices and pros alike.
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Given that fresh blueberries are hitting a state of peak perfection in many parts of the country right about now, I can assure you, these classic blueberry scones will be warmly welcomed wherever you may feel inclined to share them. That said, also feel free to use this recipe as your foolproof, basic scone template—skip the blueberries and choose your own adventure if that’s what feels right.
Before you begin, there are a few points of the recipe I’d like to call out and emphasize in order to ensure every level of ultimate scone success because I, like most people, have been guilty of lightly scanning a recipe (more than thoroughly reading it) only to find that I glossed over an important detail when my finished dish comes out less than expected. So, especially for those about to enter their first forray into scone-making, here are a few tips to keep in mind. Scone appétit!
Get the Recipe: Basic Blueberry Scones
There is an actual point to freezing your fresh berries
I know, it seems a little silly—why not just buy frozen berries from the freezer section if the berries need to be iced? You could totally do that; in fact, if you’re making these scones during a season other than summer, I’d recommend it. However, if you’ve got access to ripe, peak-season blueberries, well, those taste divine… so you should use them. Freezing the berries simply helps to keep the butter in your dough as chilled as possible, which is important (especially after you’ve been hitting it with all kinds of friction to work it into your dry ingredients). That’s why the recipe also instructs that you pop the dough into the freezer for a few minutes before adding the cream; cold butter = delightful pastries.
So there’s that, and freezing the berries additionally makes it easier to work them into your scone dough without mashing them. Once frozen, the firm berries are less apt to burst and bleed, yielding juicy, indigo color streaks through your dough. It’s not a huge deal if that happens, of course; your scones will still be delicious. But popping your berries into the freezer once you have a mind to make scones will make for an all-around better experience.
You’re right, that is a lot of baking powder
No, it’s not a typo, you really do need one whole tablespoon (not a teaspoon, a tablespoon) of baking powder. That’s what gives these scones their volume.
Why am I putting instant mashed potato flakes in here?
I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep on saying it, dehydrated potato flakes are miraculous. But really, including them here just provides a little extra security that you’ll have a supremely tender scone. Plus, the flakes will help lock in moisture, extending your homemade scones’ shelf life by a couple days… not that these are likely to last that long. If you don’t have them on hand and don’t feel like picking a box up at the store (despite the many practical ways they can serve you), it’s fine. You can leave them out of the recipe, no problem. Just reduce the heavy cream added into the dough by 2 tablespoons.
Don’t hesitate to spice things up
Like I mentioned above, we wanted to keep this recipe simple so that it can serve as a basic, all-purpose template for making amazing scones, and that leaves you plenty of room to customize. Feel free to add chopped, toasted nuts, citrus zest, and/or your favorite spices, like cinnamon, to the dough. In testing the recipe, I particularly loved a touch of ground ginger and cardamom matched with the bright blueberries—a generous ¼ teaspoon of each will do the trick.
Remember, a scone’s texture is everything
A great scone is buttery and tender, but not cakey or overly sweet—dense for sure, but not dry. There are a number of ways you can make sure your scones hit the mark. For one, be sure to aerate your flour before spooning and leveling it in the measuring cup (this is a good rule of thumb for any baked good); simply whisk up the flour a bit in its container before you set in with a spoon. Next, and I cannot emphasize this enough, do not overwork the dough. Any urge you may encounter to knead this dough into something consistently smooth, for the love, please take a deep breath and suppress it. This brings us to…
The dough is supposed to be crumbly
I swear, you didn’t do anything wrong! If your dough is all in crumbles, that’s absolutely perfect. Just bring the dough together, pressing as needed, so that it sticks. Again, overworking your dough is working your way to birthing the anti-scone. And nobody wants that.
Sorry, but break out a ruler
I’m only saying that because 7- to 8- inches (i.e. the diameter of the dough round you’re supposed to press out) is smaller than your mind’s eye might thing. A quick measure will keep you from pressing the dough out too far and finding yourself with disappointingly flat scones.
The glaze is entirely optional
These buttery blueberry scones are delicious as-is, and serving them with a little softened butter or jam is a great call. But if you want something on the sweeter side, the simple citrus glaze included in the recipe is a great option. Just wait to drizzle it on until you’re about ready to serve the scones. If these sit overnight with citrus glaze on them, you’ll awake to soggier scones.