7:40 a.m. in the blue morning light, the first sound would be the beginnings of coffee. The fridge being pried open, the lid twisting off a jar, and the cascading clinks of the beans. The delayed aromatics follow as the beans are ground and shook out into the coffee pot. Five minutes later it’s done, and maybe seven minutes later after a couple gulps of caffeine, the house starts to wake up.
“Scones? Scones?” Today scones were requested for breakfast the second the coffee was made. I prefer to use a sweetened baking powder biscuit dough, flavored and studded for scones as opposed to a traditional scone recipe. Often times scones can be dense and door-stop like. With biscuit dough they’re flaky, moist, and soft.
They also have plenty of butter, and cream. I suppose the best things to come out of an oven do. The favorite scone flavor is currently dried cherry-cranberry touched with almond and vanilla extracts—but chocolate chips, currants, peanut butter, maple syrup, pecans, raisins, cinnamon, anything would really work.
Scones go great with coffee, too. It might even be possible to make them pre-caffeine, if you can wait half an hour….
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook (Baking Powder Biscuits)
Makes one dozen
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons baking powder
¼ cup white sugar, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) cold, unsalted butter cut into tablespoon pieces (12 tablespoons in one stick)
2 cups heavy whipping cream, plus more for brushing
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup dried cranberries
¼ cup white sanding or sparkling sugar for dusting
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, mix together until just combined the flour, baking powder, ¼ cup white sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is incorporated and small, pebble sized chunks still remain.
2. Pour in heavy whipping cream and the vanilla and almond extract. Add the dried cherries and cranberries. The 2 cup amount is an approximation—I love a high stud-to-dough ratio so generally I will just dump in cherries and cranberries until a nicely studded dough is reached. Mix with a spoon, but hands work better!, until just combined. Do not overwork the dough—it will be slightly sticky. At this point one could refrigerate it until ready to use, or just dump out onto a floured surface right away.
3. Shape the dough in a ½ inch thick sheet. Using a 2-3 inch circular dough or cookie cutter, or in my case a drinking tumbler, cut out scones. Place on an ungreased, unlined baking sheet. (There is plenty of fat and delicious butter in these already.) Brush tops of scones with a pastry brush dipped in heavy whipping cream. Sprinkle each scone with sanding sugar and then regular granulated sugar or cinnamon sugar.
4. Put on the middle rack of the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden. Rotate halfway through baking.