As of today, there are 3 things I would like to do in my life.
1. Win the lottery or find some other way to have unlimited cash flow so we can travel around wherever we want, see our favorite bands play all over the world, and document every single day.
2. Open up a bakery / coffee shop / music store / book store that has local music, legendary cookies, and 6+ kinds of ice cold milk. Skim, 1%, 2%, whole, chocolate, strawberry… you name it, we’ll have it.
3. Live in a place where European breakfasts and snacks are the norm. Croissant and coffee? Yes, please. Scone and tea for an afternoon snack? Every day? I’m there.
My first experience with scones wasn’t the best. I don’t even remember where I had my first one – I just remember thinking “what’s the big deal? It’s just a dry biscuit with chocolate chips”.
Thankfully, I’ve had better scones since that first one. And, I’ve finally figured out how to make them just as good at home.
The secret to making scones – and biscuits, for that matter – is to not overmix / overknead the dough.
I know you want to, but don’t. Just don’t do it. It’s not the same as making bread.
Making scones isn’t the recipe to make when you’re wanting to let out some frustration while you’re baking. That’s what beating egg whites is for or letting bread dough rise so you can punch it down a few times. We all do it.
But not scones. Promise?
Scones are sensitive. They need to be handled gently. As soon as you start mixing in the egg and buttermilk, time is ticking. You don’t want to be mixing for more than a minute or two.
Get the dough so most of it is just holding together and then stop. I know you’ll want to keep mixing, but this is it – it’ll look like a mess. It’s not going to look like cake batter.
But here’s the secret. You’re going to dump out that shaggy, sticky mess onto a floured board or counter, gently knead it a few times, and your dough will be perfect. Easy to pat or roll out, easy to cut, easy to work with.
And then comes the best part: the baking.
Those buttery pockets in the dough will expand and melt, leaving you with crumbly, tender scones that kind of seem like sweet versions of biscuits in a different shape.
This – this – is what you want.
Orange Ginger Scones
Makes: 8 scones
- 1.5 cups flour
- 3/4 cup quick cooking oats
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp fresh orange zest
- 1 and 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 Tbsp sugar
- 6 Tbsp butter, chilled and diced
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 cup fat free buttermilk, plus 2 Tbsp for brushing
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 Tbsp orange juice
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, orange zest, ginger, salt, and 3 Tbsp of sugar.
- Cut the butter into the dough (with pastry blender, forks, or hands) until mixture feels like (and looks like) cornmeal.
- Beat the egg in a small dish and stir into the 1/2 cup of buttermilk.
- Pour in the egg and buttermilk and mix, just until dough comes together.
- Dump the dough out onto a floured pastry cloth or counter. The dough should be a little shaggy and sticky. Knead a few times to get a light flour coating so it doesn’t stick to your hands.
- Pat the dough, gently, into a round, and slice into 8 wedges.
- Brush the top of each scone with a little buttermilk and sprinkle with the remaining sugar.
- Bake 15-18 minutes until golden.
- Once the scones have cooled, mix the powdered sugar with the orange juice until you have a thick glaze that falls into ribbons off a spoon. Drizzle the cooled scones with the glaze. Let it set before serving.