How do you cozy up a dark and dreary winter day? Since the ice storm rolled through, we have had rain, fog and gloomy days...dark even earlier than than on a sunny day. We like to light lots of candles (mostly the no-flame, no little burned fingers kind), turn on cheery music and on the weekends, I like to bake!
Early this week, I was craving something sweet but not too sweet. Something that would taste great with a warm cup of tea. Scones sounded perfect and this was one of the best scone recipes I've tried. Other recipes I've made have added butter and egg in the dough. This recipe gets enough added fat from using cream rather than milk or buttermilk to moisten the dough.
First published in Bon Appetit in 1996, these scones are flaky and tender with a luscious lemony flavor from grated lemon zest - not only in the dough but also mixed with sugar and sprinkled on top before baking.
They are indeed perfect with a cup of tea - especially my favorite green tea with lemon.
I added chopped dried apricots and dried cherries as I had them on hand. Since my dried cherries were not brand new and soft, I plumped them in a splash of Kirsch liqueur before baking. I think dried blueberries would be delicious in this recipe too!
So bring on the baking and bring on the light - we need it!
Cream Scones with Lemon
Makes 12 Scones
Note: I like to use organic lemons when I need lemon zest to avoid any pesticide residue.
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dried cherries (plumped in enough Kirsch to cover)
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
2 teaspoons or so of grated lemon peel, divided (from 2 large, organic lemons)
1 cup heavy whipping cream (8 oz container)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
If your dried cherries are no longer soft, plump them in a small cup with enough Kirsch liqueur (Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Amaretto will also work) to cover. Place another cup on top of cherries submerge them. Allow to 'plump' for about 15 minutes or so and then drain. Squeeze dry with paper toweling.
Mix flour, the 1/4 cup of sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Stir in apricots, cherries and 1 teaspoon lemon zest. Add whipping cream and stir just until dough forms. If necessary, add another tablespoon or so of milk if your dough is still too dry but don't get the dough too wet. Kneed dough gently on a lightly floured surface, just until dough holds together. Form the dough into a 10-inch circle, 1/2 inch-thick or so. Cut into 12 wedges with a clean knife dipped in cold water.
Transfer wedges onto a large baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon lemon peel in small bowl. Brush scones with melted butter and sprinkle with the sugar mixture.
Bake scones in the preheated oven until light golden brown, about 15-25 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool slightly. Serve scones warm or at room temperature. May be made a day ahead and wrapped in foil.
Adapted from Bon Appetit, 1996