Anyway, onto more important things. There's been a bit of a turning point in my life recently. I've had a revelation regarding scones. See, before I made these scones for my sister's surprise garden party, I hadn't really been interested in scones. From the pictures I'd seen, they just looked like dry, boring biscuits. Sometimes they almost appeared to have a biscotti-like texture -- and I'm not a biscotti fan. Why bake all the moisture out of something? Some of you are scone enthusiasts, and you're feeling smug right now, because you know exactly what I discovered when I took my first bite of a Buttermilk Cranberry Lemon Scone: SCONES ROCK.
How have I missed out on these for so long?! Blog after blog tried to tell me that scones were actually amazing, but I didn't believe them! Turns out, scones are not dry -- they're fluffy and soft. Scones are not boring -- they're flaky and heavenly. Scones are not flavorless -- they're bright and buttery! It's like someone crossed a feather-light biscuit with a freakin' pie crust, and set it on a plate in front of me with some clotted cream! I know I'm using too many exclamation points! I just can't! help! it! SCONES!
Let me make this clear. (You're probably thinking, "The 85th exclamation point clarified enough, thanks," but humor me.) I had buttery, homemade croissants on my plate next to a Buttermilk Cranberry Scone. Those croissants are one of the best things I've ever tasted, but . . . I had a hard time deciding if I preferred them . . . or the scone.
The subtle lemon with that buttery, flaky scone texture made each piping hot biscuit a ball of sunshine. Cranberries provided a slightly tart complement, and a nice variation in texture. I tore into a hot scone, slathered it with mascarpone cheese, and devoured. Eat them with butter, orange marmalade, strawberry jam, or nothing at all. Especially if you've been skeptical about scones, you just have to give it a shot!
You can make these scones ahead of time, shape them, and freeze them for quick breakfasts throughout the week. They bake straight from the freezer and are lovely every time. Once I tasted one, I regretted not doubling the recipe, so keep that in mind!
How about you? Are you a smug scone lover that knew all along how amazing they are? Or have you been reluctant to try scones as well?
Buttermilk Cranberry Scones
Recipe by: Adapted slightly from Pinch My Salt Yields: 8 scones
Ingredients: 2 cups all purpose flour 1/4 cup granulated sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks 1/2 cup buttermilk 1 large egg 1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries 2 teaspoons lemon extract heavy cream (optional, for brushing tops of scones)
Lemon Glaze Ingredients: (optional) 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar 2 teaspoons lemon juice
Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 2. In a medium bowl, whisk or sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt. Add butter chunks and toss lightly with flour; place bowl in fridge. 3. In a small bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk, and lemon extract; place bowl in fridge. 4. Get organized: measure out the cranberries; set aside. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat; set aside. Lightly dust a counter top with flour. Pour a little bit of heavy cream in a bowl and have a pastry brush handy. 5. Remove bowls of flour and buttermilk from fridge. Cut butter into flour with a pastry blender or rub together with your fingertips until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add cranberries and stir to combine. 6. Add buttermilk mixture all at once to flour mixture and stir until the mixture clumps together. Dump mixture out onto floured counter top and, with floured hands, gather into a ball and knead once or twice to combine everything. Pat into a circle about 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 8 slices, like a pie, or cut with biscuit or cookie cutters into whatever shape you prefer. Put scones on lined baking sheet and brush lightly with heavy cream (optional). NOTE: At this point, you can refrigerate the scones for up to a week before baking as directed straight from the fridge. Alternatively, you can freeze the scones on a lined baking sheet until solid and then transfer them to a ziplock bag to store in freezer. Do not thaw, but bake as directed straight from the freezer. 7. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 13-15 minutes until lightly browned. Remove to cooling rack. 8. Once scones are mostly cool, mix ingredients for the glaze. Adjust proportions of sugar and lemon juice for thickness and taste, and then drizzle lightly over each scone.
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