Who doesn’t love scones? They’re easy as anything to make, delicious and easy to customize, and the perfect food for nibbling on your way to work.
I have a whole bunch of recipes that I’ve developed around tea flavours, which you’ll see over the next little while, and these are the first.
The green ones are (unsurprisingly), matcha and white chocolate scones, with chunks of Valrhona Opalys (white) chocolate, and a healthy helping of matcha mixed in to the dough, and a matcha white chocolate drizzle on top.
Those brown speckled beauties are chai tea scones, with a, you guessed it, chai glaze (with maple).
Completely different flavours, both delicious.
The best part is that the base recipe, a modified version of Bon Appétit’s Best Cream Scones, is a perfect blank canvas. You can get a whole bunch of the base ingredients together, and in no time at all, make any number of different varieties.
It’s super straightforward and easy to customize, and if you use BA’s recipe directly, it requires no forethought. My version, which changes the technique, requires frozen butter. So either do what I do and always have a block of butter on standby in the freezer, or throw one in freezer the night before you plan on baking.’
The benefit of the frozen butter, which you’ll grate into the flour with a box grater (a trick that works equally well in pie dough!) is that you get good sized pieces of butter distributed really evenly, with just the right size and density to release the steam that makes these treats so flaky. Just check out those flaky layers!!!
Below the recipe I’ve added some suggestions for other add-ins!
50g granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
375g all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
113g (1 stick) frozen unsalted butter
1 large egg, beaten to blend
1¼ cups heavy cream, plus more for brushing
Sugar in the Raw (for sprinkling)
ADD-INS (pick one, or double/triple/quadruple the recipe and pick as many as you like)
- 1-3tbsp food-grade matcha (to taste)
- 2-4tbsp loose leaf chai tea (your favourite blend)
- Depending on your taste, you can also add dried ginger, allspice and/or clove, to taste. I used Davids Tea Kashmiri Chai.
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Whisk granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 3 cups flour in a large bowl to combine.
- If you’re adding matcha, sift the matcha into the dry mixture. If you’re adding chai tea, first grind it very finely in a coffee/spice grinder, magic bullet, mini prep, etc, then mix into the dry ingredients.
- Grate the frozen butter using the coarse holes on a box grater. It’s best to do this on a plate, and periodically transfer the grated butter to the bowl, tossing the butter into the flour to keep it from becoming a clump. Once all the butter grated and tossed into the flour, mix to ensure everything is evenly distributed.
- Make a well in the center; add egg and 1¼ cups cream and mix with a fork, incorporating dry ingredients a little at a time, until a shaggy dough forms (it’s okay if it looks a little dry; don’t overwork). When you can no longer mix with a fork, get your hands in there. Knead lightly to incorporate the dry bits. You may need to add up to 1/4 cup of additional cream, but remember that it is supposed to be a dry dough – you want it to just come together.
- Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a 1″-thick round. Cut into wedges (for bigger scones, as few as 6, for smaller scones, as many as 10) and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Brush dough with cream and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Bake scones until golden brown. It will take at least 25 minutes, and as much as 35 minutes. They will still look moist when they come out of the oven, but don’t worry! They’ll dry as they cool.
Other delicious scone add-ins
- 150g (or more to taste) roughly chopped dark chocolate (65% and up would be good). Blocks of chocolate, chopped in chunks, will always be better than chocolate chips, which are usually tasteless and don’t have a satisfying texture.
- 1tbsp of ground cinnamon, 1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg and 1 tsp allspice evenly distributed with the flour, and replace the sugar with light brown sugar, will give you scones that taste like cinnamon buns! Top with a simple caramel sauce.
- Replace 50g flour with an equal amount of quick oats, and distribute evenly in the flour. Add 100g (or more to taste) dark/bittersweet chocolate chips (the darker the better!) for an ‘oatmeal chocolate chip cookie’ scone.
- Add 1 tsp each of ground cinnamon and allspice with the flour. Small dice (pieces about the size of a thumbnail) two medium apples (granny smith works great with this). Toss with 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, and 1 tsp cornstarch. Add the apples after the butter, but before the liquid.
- Add dried, unsweetened cranberries, blueberries or cherries after the butter but before the liquid. Reduce 1 cup of Icewine by half (to 1/2 cup), allow to cool completely (you can put it in the fridge). Add 1/4 cup of the reduced icewine along with 1 cup (instead of 1 1/4 cups) cream. Reduce the reserved 1/4 cup reduced Icewine by half again and drizzle over the baked and cooled scones.