I’ve made a lot of scones in my day. When I worked as a baker, there was an elderly gentleman who insisted that I call him at home after the scones came out of the oven. Every time I’d call, he would come in and buy a few, sometimes even half a dozen! It was the only time we would see him smile, when he was eating hot scones. He was adamant about getting them fresh, because, the truth is, scones are really only good on the day they’re baked. They’re not terrible on day two, they just don’t have the same soft flakiness that they do in those first few hours out of the oven.
You don’t have to put any extra spices besides baking powder and salt in fruit scones, but for berry flavors, a little cinnamon and ginger is nice.
It’s good to mix sugar in with the strawberries, since it will sweeten potentially under ripe or out of season fruit, and it makes them nice and juicy. The macerated liquid will help the flour stick to the berries when you mix them into the dough.
The best trick I’ve learned when it comes to baking scones is to grate the butter into the dough. It’s important that the butter stays as cold as possible, and quickly grating it allows you to get it mixed in efficiently without melting it.
The people I worked with would always freak out when they peaked in the bowl. Their eyes would go wide, and they would ask, “Why are you putting all that cheese in the dough?”
After you mix the butter in with a pastry cutter, add the strawberries. If you can’t get fresh strawberries, frozen work just fine. Just defrost them a bit so they get a little watery. They will mix in better.
Once strawberries are mixed in, pour in the liquid, mix, and tumble the dough out onto a floured surface.
You knead it a few times. Really, just a FEW times, like two or three. You don’t want the heat of your hands to melt the butter before it gets in the hot oven. That’s what makes scones and other flaky baked goods so nice, cold fat baked at high temperatures. It’s more complicated than that, but just trust me! Minimal kneading.
When you knead it, try to pull the round sides inward and fold them on top of each other to encourage straight sides. A bench scraper is useful in squaring the sides.
Divided in half lengthwise, each half divided into equal thirds, each third cut diagonally. Twelve delicious strawberry scones!
Confession: I got overly confident cutting the top half and started by making the diagonal lines, instead of marking out the thirds. Bad idea. I ended up with 4 giant scones and one oddly-shapen misfit. Mark out your thirds first!
Brushing half & half and sprinkling sugar over the scones before baking ensures beauty queen scone results. Parchment paper would have been a lifesaver here, but I was out. (Thank goodness my husband washed the cookie sheets.)
Beauty Queen Scones!
- 5 cups all purpose flour
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar + ¼ cup
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ginger
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 cups half & half + 2 tbl
- ½ pound unsalted butter (2 sticks, cold)
- 1½ cups strawberries (fresh or frozen), quartered
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 425.
- Grease two rimmed baking sheets, or cover with parchment paper.
- Quarter strawberries and mix with 2 tbl sugar in a small bowl.
- Combine flour, ⅔ cup sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.
- Grate cold butter into the flour and stir to combine.
- Cut butter into flour with pastry cutter until dough resembles course crumbs.
- Add strawberries to flour mixture and combine.
- Make a well in the center of flour mixture and pour in half and half and vanilla.
- Mix until dough just comes together, being careful not to over mix.
- Tumble dough onto well floured surface and knead only a few times.
- Pull the rounded sides of dough in on themselves so the sides are straight.
- Pat the dough down to about ½" thickness.
- Push the sides of dough with a bench scraper to get straighter edges.
- Cut dough in half lengthwise, then each half into thirds, and each third diagonally.
- Using bench scraper, transfer individual scones to baking sheets.
- Brush with half and half and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes or until just browned.
- For very browned tops, you can put them under the broiler, on low, for 2 minutes.
- Cool for five minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Enjoy within two days.