Spreading Scone Love

April 26, 2009


Scones.  They are almost everywhere coffee is sold (in Seattle, that is everywhere), and most of them are terrible.  It seems to me that each year, they get a little bigger and a little less flavorful.  At this point in history, they just taste like flour, sugar, and air.

This is the only scone I have ever made and, aside from a pumpkin one I remember seeing on Eggs on Sunday, the only one I will probably ever make.  Everyone who eats them loves them.  Our brunch guests each had several and my own four year old had two all to himself.  I think it’s because they are simple.  No 100 ingredients thrown in to mask the taste of nothing, just a few really good things.

I got this recipe from The Joy of Cooking.  It’s a book I turn to when I just want the essence of a dish.  Do you ever feel like no, I don’t want to make a pasta salad with heirloom beans and $75 balsamic vinegar, I just want to make a pasta salad?  The Joy of Cooking is your friend.  One day, long ago, I found myself wanting to make scones and all the recipes I was seeing had enough ingredients in them to make my mouth tired just thinking about eating them.  I turned to this book and it did not disappoint.


Classic Currant Scones
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking
Makes 8-12 scones

Do yourself a favor and double this recipe.  It takes no extra effort and they freeze beautifully.  I used square biscuit cutters for these but I have also used round and have formed the dough into a round and cut them into wedges as described below.  All wonderful!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup dried currants or raisins
1 large egg
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. grated orange zest (optional)
2-3  tsp. heavy cream or milk
Cinnamon and sugar

Position a rack in the middle of the oven.  Preheat to 425 degrees.  Have ready a large ungreased baking sheet. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Drop in the butter and cut it in with 2 knives or a pastry blender, tossing the pieces with the lour mixture to coat and separate them as you work, until the largest pieces are the size of peas and the rest resembles breadcrumbs.  Stir in the currants.

In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the egg, cream, and zest.  Add to the flour mixture.  Mix with a rubber spatula, wooden spoon, or fork just until the dry ingredients are moistened.  (DT: I usually find it necessary to add a little extra cream here, maybe 1-2 tbsp.)  Gather the dough into a ball and knead it gently against the sides and bottom of the  bowl 5-10 times, turning and pressing any loose pieces into the dough each time until they adhere and the bowl is fairly clean.  Transfer to a lightly floured surface and pat the dough into an 8-inch round about 3/4 inch thick.  Cut into 8 or 12 wedges and place at least 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheet.  Brush the tops with the cream or milk and sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon.

Bake until the tops are golden brown, 12-15 minutes.  Let cool on a rack or serve warm.


  1. I totally agree with you! I have my America’s Test Kitchen version of the Joy of Cooking…it’s the huge 3-ring binder one with how to make everything (that I got signed personally by C. Kimball at a book signing…neat guy!) I hate those huge scones you get at Starbucks or coffee houses that are bigger than your face and crumbly dry with no flavour ’cause they figure all that icing they’ve drizzled over it will more than compensate. I like traditional scones that are small, tender and simple (with craisins), but that’s all.

    Comment by cakebrain — April 27, 2009 @ 6:35 am

  2. Your scones look fantastic! I just made some as well, and I was thinking I end up trying just about every scone recipe I encounter. I like them all but have to keep trying new ones.

    Comment by lisaiscooking — April 27, 2009 @ 3:17 pm

  3. I’m always looking for a simple scone recipe! I’ll definitely have to try these, I wonder how it would turn out with some fruit pieces or jam swirls?

    Comment by Kirstin — April 27, 2009 @ 8:12 pm

  4. A lovely Scottish recipe Dana. You can never go wrong with a scone. Butter and strawberry jam or clotted cream and raspberry jam. Yum!

    Comment by holler — April 27, 2009 @ 11:00 pm

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