- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup cold butter cubed
- 1 cup blueberries fresh preferred; frozen will yield messy/grey scones
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- Prep:Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet and sprinkle with flour.
- Mix dry ingredients:Combine flour, sugar, lemon zest, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl.
- Blend in butter:Add butter to the bowl with the flour and cut in with a pastry blender, a fork OR your clean fingers. You should end up with a bowl full of pea-sized crumbs.
- Add liquids:Add blueberries to the bowl with the crumb mixture. Whisk together buttermilk and vanilla and pour into the bowl, too. Stir with clean hands or a wooden spoon JUST until combined. Do not overwork! Do not burst the berries! A scraggly, messy dough makes the fluffiest, lightest scones.
- Shape:Turn out the dough on your prepared baking sheet. Gather it into a ball and slightly flatten it into a roughly 7 inch disk (this works best with slightly damp fingers). Cut into 8 wedges. Pull the wedges slightly apart, so they're about 2 inches away from each other.
- Finish and bake:Brush the scones with milk and sprinkle with both sugars. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to rest until cool enough to touch. They are best served warm – see notes for glaze.
The two most important things to get moist and tender scones:
a) measure your flour correctly (spoon it into the measuring cup and then level with the back of a knife) so you don’t end up with a dry dough and
b) be very gentle and careful with the dough – don’t overwork it once you add the liquid ingredients. Definitely no kneading, simply push it into a disc.
I know it’s VERY hard to resist the urge to knead, but you do really need to leave this dough in peace. The less you handle and prod it, the lighter and fluffier your scones will be!
To handle the scones:
- make sure to flour the baking sheet well, or the scones will stick
- use a very sharp dough scraper or knife to cut the scones, this will give the sharpest edges and the best rise
- be very gently when pulling the scones apart – it’s a little tricky, but they need to be handled carefully or they won’t bake nicely
The scones don’t really need a glaze, but it’s a nice touch if you want to go the extra mile.
I always just use 1/2 cup of icing sugar and stir in 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice until smooth. Drizzle over the warm scones shortly before serving.
Keep scones in an airtight container on the counter for up to 3 days.
They are, however, best eaten warm out of the oven.
You can, but they will still be better eaten warm right after baking.
To freeze, place scones in a container or bag suitable for freezing and label with the name and use-by date (freeze for up to 3 months).
Defrost on a rack on the counter. It helps their texture to warm them up in the microwave or toast them before serving.
The first time I ate a scone, I was thoroughly underwhelmed. Dry, hard and boring – definitely not what you want from a bakery goodie! But at some point I ate a good one, and then I decided I had to learn how to make them. I was so surprised to find out how easy scones are to make at home, and now they’re a regular for special brunches around here!