Several years ago I was sitting in a staff meeting when I was asked what I liked about spring. The question came up because we were headed from March into April. The windows were open and instead of getting down to business, everyone was enjoying the gentle breeze that made its way inside.
I smiled and didn’t hesitate. ‘Everything opens,’ I responded. ‘The windows in houses are raised and windows in cars are lowered. People leave their jackets at home and walk with a bounce they didn’t have before. Birds sing more freely, flowers bloom and trees raise newly green arms to the sky.’
Yes, I love spring. The glory of this season is that it can only truly be experienced if winter comes before it.
During winter, I will make scones, but when I eat them I bundle up, snuggle in and wrap my hands around a hot mug.
Today, the windows are open, the birds are serenading me and I’m enjoying my scone while basking in warm sunlight. Life is good.
This may have been the longest process for making scones that I’ve tried yet. In addition to having to refrigerate different components and wait for them to chill three times, I was also asked to flatten all of my little cubes of butter between my fingers, something which took a while and was a bit messy.
That being said, flattening the butter makes absolute sense and works. The scones were so flaky and light that one of them broke in half in the move from baking sheet to plate.
The other trick that I hadn’t tried before was shaping the scones in a 9-inch cake pan that had been lined with plastic wrap. All I did after refrigerating the pan was to carefully flip it over onto the baking sheet. I had a perfect, beautiful circle. My scones took the full 20 minutes to cook and came out a gorgeous golden color.
These are the best scones I have ever eaten. They are flaky, tender and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I don’t know that I ever need to try another recipe again. Even if I want to change things up with ginger, cinnamon or fruit, it’s a simple matter to add what’s needed to this base recipe. Fine Cooking did an absolutely brilliant job.
What I’d Do Different Next Time
- 1 cup plus 2 teaspoons chilled heavy cream
- 10-5/8 oz. (2-1/3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more as needed
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder (preferably aluminum-free)
- ⅜ teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
- 5 oz. (10 Tbs.) chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (such as Sugar in the Raw) or granulated sugar
- Chill a medium metal mixing bowl and the beaters of an electric hand mixer (or the bowl and whisk attachment of a stand mixer) in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.
- Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment.
- Beat 1 cup of the cream in the chilled bowl on medium-high speed just until soft peaks form, 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 minutes; refrigerate while you mix the other ingredients.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and toss with your fingers to coat. Press the butter between your fingers to form very thin flakes, tossing them back in the flour mixture between passes until all of the butter is pressed into dime-size flakes.
- Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the whipped cream and honey. Use a silicone spatula to fold the ingredients together until incorporated.
- Lightly knead the dough in the bowl just until it holds together. Turn it out onto a lightly floured counter. Gently knead it a few more times, then transfer it to a 9-inch cake pan lined with plastic wrap and pat it into a flat disk (or shape it by hand on a cutting board into a 9 x ¾-inch disk). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
- If the dough was shaped in a cake pan, invert it onto a cutting board. Remove the plastic.
- With a sharp knife, cut the dough into 8 even wedges. Arrange the wedges 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Brush the scones with the remaining 2 tsp. cream and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.
- Bake the scones until lightly browned on top, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Spread an unscented, lint-free linen or cotton towel on a large wire rack and put the baked scones on top. Fold the towel over loosely and allow the scones to cool until warm or at room temperature before serving.
Unfortunately, the family will start coming home in a couple of hours and I’ll be forced to share my scones with them. It’s ok though, I can always make another batch. Happy spring!