Cream Scones are crumbly and crisp on the outside, tender and moist on the inside. These scones are a perfect little treat any time of day. With or without the clotted cream and jam, Cream Scones are both simple and decadent. And they can be ready in about an hour.
For some helpful tips before you begin, click here. (recommended)
Makes 12 scones.
- 3 cups (345 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (18 g) baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) fine salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick or 113 g) frozen butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes or grated
- 1 cup (240 ml) plus 2 tablespoons (30 ml) heavy cream
- optional – 4 teaspoons (17 g) Turbinado sugar (a.k.a. Sugar-in-the-Raw)
- optional – 1/2 cup mix-ins (like fresh blueberries, dried cranberries or mini-chocolate chips…. )
1. Prepare the baking sheets.
– Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Or grease a baking sheet, preferably light-colored.
2. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients.
– Pulse the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor a few times until well mixed.
– Add the frozen butter. Stir it up a bit so that the frozen butter pieces are coated with the flour.
– Pulse about 15 times or until the butter is well-cut and the flour assumes the texture of meal.
– Pour the flour mixture into a large bowl.
3. Stir in any mix-ins, if using. Then stir in the cream.
– If you are using any mix-ins, toss them into the flour mixture.
– Pour in 1 cup of the heavy cream into the flour mixture. (Set the remaining 2 tablespoons of cream aside.)
– Stir the cream into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon until moistened.
– Then use floured hands to lightly bring dough together.
4. Knead the dough just until it comes together, then pat into rounds.
– Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead as briefly as possible, bringing in the loose bits, pushing everything together, and folding the dough over just until it all comes together.
– The dough will start out a bit shaggy and may seem dry, but should come together after a few turns of bringing in the loose dough, pushing it all together, and folding over – maybe around 15 to 20 turns or so.
– Divide the dough in two and shape each into a smooth ball.
– Pat or gently roll each ball into a 3/4-inch thick round.
5. Rest and refrigerate the dough.
– Wrap the rounds with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and as long as overnight.
6. Preheat the oven.
– When ready to bake the scones, preheat the oven to 500°F (260°C).
– Place the oven racks in the middle position.
7. Cut out the scones.
– While the oven is preheating, cut each round into 6 wedges with a large floured non-serrated knife.
– For a drop scone, take each wedge and lightly roll it into a ball and then flatten into a 1-inch thick disc.
– Place the scones on the prepared baking sheet at least 1 1/2-inches apart.
8. Chill the scones while waiting for the oven to preheat.
– Let the scones rest in the refrigerator for a short time, about 5 minutes, or until the oven is done preheating, whichever is longest.
9. Glaze and sugar the unbaked scones.
– Using fingers, glaze the tops of the scones lightly with the remaining heavy cream, being careful not to let any excess cream run down the sides of the scones. (That will interfere with the rise.)
– Sprinkle with the Turbinado sugar, if using.
10. Turn the oven down to 425°F (218°C) and bake.
– Place the scones in the preheated oven and immediately turn the oven down to 425°F (218°C).
– Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and the edges are starting to look crisp.
– Do not overbake.
11. Serve warm.
– Move the scones to a cooling rack and serve. They are best when warm!
Storing and re-heating:
– Cream Scones are at their best the day they are made. Even better when they are still warm.
– They can be stored in an airtight container for a few days and then refrigerated for a couple more.
– To reheat them, place them in a 300°F (148°C) oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
ABOUT THIS RECIPE
If you have never had Cream Scones, they are something like American southern biscuits, a.k.a. baking powder biscuits, but a little sweeter, a little more crumbly. When you split open a Cream Scone, it should be tender and moist, but still have enough structure for jams, curds or clotted cream.
Is this an American scone or a British scone? A little of both, I think.
American scones are known for being rich in butter and sugar, a little heavier than British scones, and bigger. British scones are known for being lofty, light, and not very sweet at all because they are meant to be enjoyed with dollops of clotted cream and jam.
These Cream Scones are sweet and buttery. They have a crumbly and crisp exterior, but are also fluffy, soft and moist inside, especially when they are still warm. They certainly would be good with clotted cream and jam, but they don’t need it. Best of both worlds.
Here are 8 helpful tips:
1) Colder ingredients help make taller, more tender scones.
– Butter: I usually cut butter straight from the freezer into thin pats. Otherwise, I cut my refrigerated butter into cubes and then freeze them before I toss them into the flour mixture. Grating the frozen butter is also a very good option, but my hands tend to run warm.
– Heavy cream: Keep the cream in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.
2) Cream, eggs or buttermilk?
This recipe is for a cream scone. It relies on heavy cream for richness instead of eggs. I feel it makes a slightly fluffier, more tender scone. Scones made with eggs are a bit richer, a little more crumbly. And scones made with buttermilk are tender, soft, maybe even a little cake-like.
– To make scones using egg, just break 1 egg into a cup of heavy cream and combine. Use only 1 cup of this mixture (instead of the heavy cream) for the dough and use the rest for glazing the unbaked scones.
– To make the scones using buttermilk, just substitute the 1 cup of heavy cream with 1 cup buttermilk.
3) Mix-ins – the choice is yours.
If you are opting for mix-ins, use whatever you like. Just keep in mind, the heavier, chunkier or wetter the mix-ins, the less light and fluffy the scone will be….
– Dry mix-ins like raisins, dried cranberries, mini-chocolate chips, etc. work best because they are small and won’t weigh the scones down.
– If you want to mix in fruit like blueberries or raspberries, it best to use fresh fruit that isn’t dripping with juice, or frozen fruit that hasn’t been thawed. If the fruit is especially wet, try to blot off as much moisture as you can with a paper towel.
4) Handle the dough briefly and lightly for a tender scone.
Scones require a tender touch. It is important to handle the dough quickly and lightly. The less you handle the dough, the more tender your scones will be.
This dough may seem pretty crumbly and dry, but with a little patience, it will all come together. It may take a little practice, but aim for bringing your dough together in about 10 to 15 folds, no more than 20.
5) Misshapen scones:
For some of us, there will be misshapen scones. Accept it.
I have always let my scones be free to be who they want to be. I know the scones will get eaten no matter what because they are delicious regardless.
If you wish, drizzle a glaze on the baked scones. A good glaze can hide a multitude of imperfections.
6) Sprinkling sugar on the scones is optional.
– Turbinado sugar is also known as Sugar-in-the-Raw. It is a partially refined brown sugar that has larger crystals than regular sugar and gives the scones a nice crunch. Demerara sugar is similar. But good old granulated sugar will do just fine and will give a sugar-cookie-like element to the scones.
– Or make a glaze to drizzle on the baked scones: Stir together 2 cups powdered sugar with 2 to 4 tablespoons heavy cream and 2 tablespoons melted butter. For lemon glaze, use lemon juice instead of heavy cream.
– Or don’t sprinkle on anything at all. It’s delicious as is.
7) Do not overbake.
The given baking time in any recipe is just a reference. Ovens vary. Once you can smell the scones from the oven, it is a good idea to start looking in on them. When the scones are golden brown on top and starting to look crisp at the edges, they are done.
8) Scones freeze well, before or after baking.
– Freeze unbaked scones on a baking sheet for about an hour, until frozen solid. Then place in a freezer bag. Freeze up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and bake as usual. They can even be baked from frozen. Just thaw on the counter while the oven is pre-heating.
– Already baked scones can be frozen up to 3 months. Then thaw and re-heat in a 300°F (148°C) for 5 to 10 minutes.