The British pastry known as scones may have a lesser reputation here in America than that of muffins and the like, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be made delicious. And when they are, I’d dare to say they surpass most other bread-y pastries lining bakery shelves here in the states. Their contrasting crisp exterior reveals a moist interior that will instantly erase any memory of dry, over-baked ones from bakeries. Making them is not particularly difficult: ingredients required include all of the pastry staples that are probably lining your shelves and whatever else you want to mix in. This is where the fun begins.
As long as you’ve mastered a basic recipe for the dough with a simple filling, which even for a novice baker will only take one or two attempts, you can mix in anything. Currants are an iconic British choice, both classic and stunningly delicious at once. A grating of orange zest delivers remarkable depth of flavor with its citrusy undertones and warming scent. Apples provide a certain moist sweetness and pecans or walnuts complement them perfectly. If you’re trying to win over someone who really just wants a blueberry muffin, well, use blueberries. They’ll explode as they bake, releasing a fruity flavor that they won’t in muffins. You can swap the white sugar for light or dark brown or even forgo all sugar for 1/2 cup maple syrup or 1/3 cup honey. And this is only a jumping off point: whether savory or sweet, the list of things that taste good in scones might just outweigh those that don’t.
Basic Scones Recipe Adapted from Bon Appetit
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) chilled unsalted butter
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup buttermilk, plus more for brushing
- Optional mix-ins: Dried fruit, blueberries, rasberries, apples, pecans, walnuts, orange/lemon zest, canned pumpkin puree, etc.