Strawberry Scones

The rains of spring have arrived with determination, filling the forecast with a week of gray, overcast skies. After a long winter of snow and cold weather, I forget how much I enjoy the sound of the rain drumming against the window panes and sloshing through the gutters. In the last evening downpour, I threw open the windows and turned on the fan, bringing the deep scent of earth into the apartment. I curled up in bed with a book, eventually lulled to sleep by the steady beat of raindrops overhead.

Rainy days are my excuse to set aside the busy schedule and curl up indoors instead. The pace of a slow day is rehabilitating in a dozen small, but significant ways. These heavy gray skies may soon feel monotonous, but for now I am reveling in these moments before the heat descends. 

Once the winter season of citrus passes, I am anxious for spring produce to arrive. It is still early in the season for fresh strawberries, at least in the Midwest, but my impatience cannot always be tamed. After sorting through the tubs at the market, I found dark red berries with a sweet scent. For now, these would do.

Overcast days feel like baking days to me. After slicing the strawberries, I gently mixed them into scone batter and baked them up for a taste of spring.

Because sliced strawberries hold moisture after baking, I recommend eating the scones the same day they are baked. If you do choose to store them overnight, cover the scones, but do not keep them under an airtight seal; this will prevent the scones from becoming soggy. As an alternative, a quick 5-8 minute reheat in a 350 degrees F oven will also bring the scones back to the right consistency.

Strawberry scones are a sweet recipe to use up the fresh, seasonal strawberry bounty. Sliced strawberries are mixed into a classic scone dough which is flavored with vanilla bean seeds. Once baked, the scones are topped with a vanilla bean glaze for extra sweetness. The scones hold moisture so they are best eaten the same day they are made. Serve for a special breakfast or enjoy as part of a morning snack.

One Year Ago: Chocolate Hazelnut Rolls
Two Years Ago: Blueberry Oat Bars & Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Three Years Ago: Chocolate Blackberry Cupcakes
Four Years Ago:  PB & J Muffins, Almond Butter Chocolate Cookies, Sunflower Seed Bread, Blackberry Fool, Lime Curd Tart, Honey Chocolate Chunk Cookies, & Strawberry Charlotte
Five Years Ago: S'mores Cupcakes, Mai Tai, Homemade Mascarpone, Ladyfingers, Tiramisu Cake, & Honey Wheat Cake
Six Years Ago: Lemon Thins, Vanilla Pear Muffins, Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies, & Chocolate Raspberry Pots de Creme

Strawberry Scones

Yields 8 scones

Strawberry Scones
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (28 grams) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (85 grams) cold butter, cubed
8 ounces (225 grams) fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 large egg
Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
1/3 cup (80 ml) heavy cream

Topping
Egg wash (1 egg + 1 tablespoon water, whisked)
Raw or turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

Vanilla Glaze (optional)
1/2 cup (62 grams) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter with pastry blender (or your hands) until mixture resembles coarse sand. Gently fold in sliced strawberries. 

In a small bowl, beat together egg, vanilla bean seeds, and heavy cream. Pour over the scone batter and lightly mix until the dough comes together. 

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, form a circle, and flatten it until it is about 1-inch thick. Using a sharp knife dipped in flour, cut 8 equal pie wedges. Transfer scones to a baking sheet using a flat spatula dipped in flour. Brush the tops of the scones with egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned.

For the glaze, stir together all ingredients in a small bowl. Using a spoon, drizzle glaze over cooled scones. Allow at least 15 minutes for the glaze to set before serving.

Scones are best if served on the same day. If storing, cover the scones, but do not keep under an airtight seal.

Maple Glazed Pumpkin Scones

I opened my first can of pumpkin earlier this week. This annual event may be arriving too late in the season for some (especially you, PSL lovers), but the pumpkin and spices are finally starting to feel right for me. After a rough start to the season, I am focused back on the present, living moment by moment in the ups and downs of daily life.

The weather has been unusually warm for this time of year, supporting short-sleeved shirts instead of winter jackets, and long walks on paved park paths instead of treks through ankle-deep snow drifts. While I would normally be snuggling up on the couch and settling in for the long, cold months, I have been out and about instead, enjoying the respite from winter and enjoying the extended autumn warmth. I may be late to the pumpkin party this year, but I believe it's better to show up late than to never arrive. 

During the holiday season, I like to keep a few scones in the freezer for unexpected moments—when a guest drops by without warning or an unforeseen event pops up on the calendar. The scones can be frozen once shaped and sugar sprinkled. When the unexpected moment arrives, remove the scones from the freezer and bake in a preheated oven. The frozen scones may take a minute or two longer in the oven to bake, but the finished pastries make the wait worthwhile.

I suggest making a double batch: half to eat now and half to freeze for later. There is plenty of scone love to go around.

Maple Glazed Pumpkin Scones deliver classic autumn flavors in a warm, tender pastry for breakfast or an afternoon snack. The pumpkin scones are spiced and sweetened with brown sugar. Before baking, the scones are sprinkled with raw sugar to give the top of the scones a nice crunch. The maple glaze is optional, but it adds an extra level of sweetness and dimension of flavor which finishes off the scones just right.

One Year Ago: Caramel Apple Crumble Pie, & Rosemary Olive Bread
Two Years Ago: Maple Syrup Cake, & Pumpkin Pie (Dairy Free)
Three Years Ago: Butternut Squash Biscuits, Apple Crisp, & Pumpkin Spiced Doughnuts
Four Years Ago: Pumpkin Rolls, Butternut Squash Cake, Baked Apples, Filled Molasses Cookies, & Marbled Squash Bread
Five Years Ago: Grandma's Applesauce, Honey Cinnamon Chickpeas, Caramel Apple Tart, & Banana Espresso Muffins
Six Years Ago: Apple Chips, Fresh Ginger Pear Cake, Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal, & Raspberry Vanilla Bean Creme Brulée

Maple Glazed Pumpkin Scones

Yields 8 scones

Pumpkin Scone
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (50 grams) brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (113 grams) butter, cubed
1/2 cup (126 grams) canned pumpkin (or pumpkin purée)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy cream, plus extra for brushing
Raw sugar (turbinado or demerara sugar) for sprinkling, optional

Maple Glaze
1/2 cup (55 grams) powdered sugar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon milk

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, spices, and salt. Cut in butter with pastry blender (or your hands) until mixture resembles coarse sand. Set aside.

In a small bowl, beat together canned pumpkin, egg, vanilla, and heavy cream. Pour over the scone batter and lightly mix until the dough comes together. The dough will be relatively sticky.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Using floured hands, form the dough into a circle and flatten it until it is about 1-inch thick. Using a sharp knife dipped in flour, cut 8 equal pie wedges. Transfer scones to a baking sheet using a flat spatula dipped in flour. Place in freezer for 1/2 hour before baking.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

Brush top of scones with heavy cream and sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until lightly browned.

To make the glaze, stir together the powdered sugar, maple syrup, and milk. If too thick, add additional milk by the 1/2 teaspoon until the glaze drizzles in a continuous stream off the edge of a spoon. Drizzle glaze over cooled scones and allow glaze to set for 15 minutes before serving.

Blueberry Honey Scones

This past July, I boarded a plane and headed to Norwich, Vermont for a week long "bake-cation." The destination was the Baking Center located at King Arthur Flour's flagship campus. Along with a baker's store and bakery, the campus features a baking school, which teaches a range of bread and pastry courses at levels from beginner to professional. Since it has long been my dream to go to culinary school, I couldn't imagine a more indulgent way to spend a vacation. I signed up for two courses: Beauty and the Baguette and Pastry Principles & Practice.

The baguette course was the first on the list and took place during a single afternoon. Entering the classroom, I wasn't sure what to expect, but the whole experience left me pleasantly surprised. The class sizes were kept small and each student was supplied a fully equipped station. The instructor broke the lesson down into sections, demonstrating a few steps before giving us a chance to try it out on our own. What impressed me the most, however, were the dozens of baguettes prepared at various stages so that we would all be able to practice the shaping and slicing techniques until we had it mastered.

Though the class consisted of people who had never kneaded dough to people who bake bread several times a week, we all came away with perfect baguettes and the knowledge on how to make them at home. I learned more about crusty bread in those four short hours than I have in years of trial and error on my own. I mean, look at these beauties (made in my own oven, no less)!

The second course, Pastry Principles & Practice, was an in depth course, lasting four days and spanning everything from pie and puff pastry to tarts and eclairs. Even though I had my fair share of pastry knowledge going in, the course was taught in such a way that home bakers and professionals would all have new information to gain. I was familiar with most of the techniques, but the reasons why each step was necessary was fascinating for me. Even with something as basic as cake, I was shocked by how much I didn't know or hadn't considered. I came away with pages of notes, scribbled in the margins of the recipes, on techniques, flavor combinations, and the science of baking. 

Time passed quickly during the five-hour pastry classes. We moved between activities smoothly, never left waiting around for something to come out of the oven or the next dessert to be prepped. The instructors were professional and knew the answers to all of my curious questions. Besides baking (and eating), my favorite part of the Baking Center was never having to do dishes. As soon as something was dirty, an instructor whisked it away and moments later came back with it sparkling clean. If only I could get this kind of service at home...

Overall, I adored my time at King Arthur Flour's facilities and highly recommend their courses. Even as an experienced baker, I came away with a wealth of new knowledge and techniques to play around with at home. If you live in the Northeast, do consider taking a class at the Baking Center. They have many courses for holiday baking and bread making coming soon. 

Pastry Affair Resized for Blog-25.jpg

In partnership with King Arthur Flour, I will be bringing you a new recipe each month, for the next six months, filled with step-by-step instructions and photographs to help you grow as a baker. I am so excited to share the new techniques I learned with you! We will start with easier recipes, like scones and cakes, and tackle more difficult recipes as the months pass (like eclairs and crusty breads!).

By the end of our journey, you'll have a solid understanding of basic yeast breads and pastries. I hope you bake along with me! You can show off your baking creations by tagging them with #kingarthurflour. Roll up your sleeves and pull out the flour, because it's about to get delicious in here. 

Scones are versatile pastries that are easy to assemble with interchangeable ingredients to match the flavors of the season. Similar to pie crust and biscuits, the real secret to great scones is cold ingredients and limited handling. To start, whisk together the dry ingredients. Take butter—which must be cold—and cube it with a knife. Add the butter to the dry ingredients by rubbing it between your fingers until the dough resembles coarse sand. If you have a few larger pieces of butter (as shown above), that is actually a good thing! Alternatively, you can bring out a pastry blender for this step, but I don't recommend using a food processor or mixer because you lose control over the size of the butter pieces.

The cold butter layered in the flour is the trick to creating a flaky scone. When the butter melts in the oven, it will leave pockets between the flour, creating layers. If your butter softens or melts before baking, these layers will not form. If your kitchen is too warm, place the mixture in the refrigerator to cool down the butter before moving on.

For the next step, whisk together all the wet ingredients and, along with the blueberries, add it to the flour mixture. Using a bowl scraper, delicately fold the dough on itself just until it is evenly moistened. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. If you need to knead the dough to bring in any dry pieces, it is okay to do so, but knead only a few times to limit your handling.

Ideally, we want to avoid over mixing or overworking the dough. Mixing or kneading the dough encourages gluten to form. While gluten formation is wonderful for bread dough, it is the opposite of what we look for when creating light, flaky pastries. 

Using floured hands, bring the dough into a ball and flatten it into a disk with your palms until it is roughly 1-inch thick. Using a bench knife (or sharp kitchen knife), cut the dough into 6-8 pie shaped pieces. Be careful to only use a straight up and down motion when cutting the dough. Using a dull knife or moving the knife side-to-side will seal the edges of dough, which will prevent the scones from rising to full height in the oven. Brush the scones with heavy cream to encourage browning and set them into the oven to bake.

blueberryhoneyscones4.jpg

Blueberry Honey Scones are flaky, decadent morning pastries that are best served alongside a mug of coffee or tea. Fresh blueberries and honey are the star flavors in this scone, adding chords of sweet and tart to the overall character. Before serving, drizzle the scones with additional honey and serve with a side of creme fraiche. 

One Year Ago: Citrus Zucchini Muffins
Two Years Ago: Nordic Pancake Cake and Vanilla Ice Cream Cake
Three Years Ago: Cucumber Zucchini Slices, Banana Rum Bread, and Vanilla Cardamom Peach Pie
Four Years Ago: Chocolate Beet Cake, Sweet & Spicy Chili Chicken Wings, and Zucchini Bread
Five Years Ago: Espresso Chocolate Shortbread, Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins, and Chocolate Pear Cake

Blueberry Honey Scones

Yields 6-8 servings

2 cups (240 grams) King Arthur All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (113 grams) cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup (120 mL) heavy cream, plus extra for brushing
6 ounces (170 grams) fresh blueberries*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the cubed butter and rub the butter between your fingers until the dough resembles coarse sand with a few larger pieces remaining. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla, honey, and heavy cream. Pour over the scone batter, add the blueberries, and lightly mix until the dough comes together. The dough will be somewhat sticky.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. With floured hands, form the dough into a circle. If you need to fold the dough over to evenly distribute the moisture, you may do so, but no more than a few times. Flatten the dough until it is about 1-inch thick. Using a sharp knife, cut 6-8 equal pie wedges. Transfer scones to a baking sheet using a flat spatula and brush the tops of the scones with heavy cream. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Drizzle the scones with honey and serve with a side of creme fraiche. Tag your creations with #kingarthurflour to show off your baking!

*Frozen blueberries (not thawed) will also work, but the berries will dye the scone a bright blue. 

This post is sponsored through a partnership with King Arthur Flour. Travel, accommodations, and courses at the Baking Center were provided. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Photographs from the Baking Center are copyright © King Arthur Flour