The umami power of seared Ahi tuna, the swift spicy kick of lamb vindaloo, and the sweet Christmas-y smell of Russian tea cakes all conjure images of home, but it’s the taste and smell of freshly baked scones that reminds me of my mother.
While I’m still not sure where she found this recipe, the basic measurements and steps outlined below will reliably yield six soft and slightly crumbly scones. Like all great heirloom recipes, mom’s is simple and endlessly adaptable. The original calls for a tartly sweet mixture of dried cranberries and chocolate chips, but I have experimented with bacon, bourbon, dates, lemon juice, dried apricots, raisins, poppy seeds, herbs, nuts, and an array of fruit preserves. With the possible exception of the bourbon, they’re all worth trying.
Regardless of what you may choose to add, these are true scones; a far cry from the cakey abominations that can be purchased at your local Starbucks.
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 cup mix-ins (dried fruits, nuts, chocolate pieces etc.)
- 8 tbsp butter
- 1 egg
- 1/4-1/3 cup sour cream or half and half
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Pulse dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar) in a food processor.
- Add mix-ins (roughly 1 cup) and pulse again. While I recommend dried cranberries and chocolate chips for the full experience, I used dried apricots, walnuts, and thyme for this particular batch.
- Place cubed butter on top of dry ingredients and process in bursts until incorporated.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and “milk product”. There’s some flexibility here too. While the recipe tends to turn out best with sour cream or half-and-half, I’ve used yoghurt, buttermilk, and heavy cream to great effect.
- Add wet mixture and process in bursts. Don’t overmix! You’re looking for a crumbly mess, not a dough.
- Dump the mixture onto a baking sheet covered with a silpat (or parchment paper) and gently press into a 3/4″-1” thick disc.
- Cut into wedges with a damp knife or bench scraper.
- Bake for about 15 minutes.