Virtually everyone that knows me has eaten these scones. And reached for another. And asked for the recipe. This is may be the best recipe I have – cream scones that are moist, tender and are a breeze to make. Because the recipe uses cream and no butter, it’s nearly as easy as a mix. Just toss ingredients in a bowl and stir. A brief knead to mop up extra flour, and that’s it. You don’t even need to crack an egg (a real find for anyone with egg allergies).
This recipe originally came to me from my amazing friend Lisa (she of the banana bread and the chicken adobo). Years later I was excited to discover the source as The Breakfast Book, by the brilliant Marion Cunningham (no sillly, not Ritchie’s mom from “Happy Days” – she of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook). Unlike restaurant chefs, Marion Cunningham writes and tests for the home cook, and you can count on her recipes to be spot on perfect. So when I realized as I was going to post this recipe that my handwritten Lisa version calls for 1/4 cup more cream than Marion’s, I decided I’d better test out both. And Marion’s is in fact perfect. With the recipe I’d been using for years, I’d always add a generous amount of flour while kneading. But with Marion’s recipe I didn’t need to add any at all.
[Added December 22, 2011: I realized later that Marion’s recipe leaves little room for error. Since the average cook is more likely to have extra flour than extra cream on hand, I think it’s safer to start with Lisa’s recipe and add more flour as necessary.]
So here’s the recipe for melt-in-your-mouth dried fruit cream scones that may change your life.
Dry ingredients (note that I’m making a double recipe here).
Add dried fruit (I almost always use cranberries and golden raisins, but of course you could make this with nuts, chocolate chips, or any dried fruit you like).
Add cream (save the measuring cup for later).
Mix until dough gets too stiff to stir.
Use hands to bring dough together and knead to incorporate remaining flour (my camera got very sticky here). Add more flour, a bit at a time, until dough is soft, smooth and no longer sticky on the surface.
You can make the scones any way you like (eg roll it out and stamp out rounds with a biscuit cutter, or cut triangles). Marion’s recipe calls for a pressing the dough into a 10″ round and cutting it into 12 wedges. I prefer to make 24 smaller, fatter wedges.
Divide ball of dough in half and then half again. You will have four small rounds. Since I made a double recipe, the large round here is the size of the single recipe, and the four small rounds show what the large round looks like when divided.
On a lightly floured surface, press each round into a thick disc. I like to put down a sheet of waxed paper (much easier than making sure there are no stray crumbs on my counter).
Coax a few drops of cream out of the measuring cup on top of each disc (Marion’s recipe calls for melted butter, but this is my lazy variation).
Sprinkle with sugar (I like the raw kind for the crunch, but regular will do as well).
Cut each disc into six wedges. I use a pastry scraper (this is my 4 year old’s favorite part).
My lazy approach is to squeeze all 24 on one jelly roll pan. Baking purists wince away!
Crowded but perfectly happy.
Hot from the oven, these scones melt in your mouth. My teenage nephew once ate a dozen (maybe more!) in one sitting. In any case, it’s a good thing these are so easy to make fresh, because it’s not often we have any left by the end of the day.
Dried fruit cream scones
Adapted from The Breakfast Book by the great Marion Cunningham. The best scones you’ve ever had. Moist, tender and a breeze to make.
- 2 cups flour (270g/9.5 oz), plus additional flour for kneading
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons) baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries or other dried fruit (chopped if large)
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- Cream or melted butter for brushing on scones
- 2 tablespoons sugar (raw/coarse sugar gives a nice crunch if you have it)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Mix with a fork.
- Add cranberries and raisins. Mix.
- Pour in cream (but keep the measuring cup for later) and mix with fork until dough becomes thick and hard to stir.
- Using hand, knead the sticky dough in the bowl, turning and pressing the dough to incorporate the flour. Add more flour if you need it, a tablespoon at a time, until surface of dough is smooth, soft and no longer sticky.
- Split the ball in half to form two smaller balls. Then split each half again in two smaller balls. You will now have four small balls of dough.
- On a lightly floured surface, slightly flatten each ball into a thick disc about 5 inches in diameter.
- Pour a few drops of cream from the empty measuring cup on each disc and use fingers to spread cream evenly over the top. Sprinkle with sugar.
- Cut each disc evenly into six wedges. Place on ungreased baking sheet, leaving some room in between for scones to rise as they bake.
- Bake 15 minutes, or until scones are golden brown.
Makes 24 small scones.
- Substitute any dried fruit or nuts you like. Chop nuts and large fruit, eg dried apricots.
- I don’t recommend substituting fresh fruit for dried – I’ve tried making these with frozen blueberries, and oddly enough the water moisture of the fresh fruit dilutes the creamy moistness of this scone dough. The frozen blueberry scones were good, but the dried fruit scones are life changing.
- If you want to use a pint (2 cups) of cream, here are the other proportions: 2 2/3 cups flour, 4 teaspoons baking powder, 2/3 teaspoon salt, 1/3 cup sugar, 2/3 cup cranberries, 1/3 cup golden raisins, 2 cups heavy cream. Divide into six balls. Makes 36 small scones.
- If you want to use a quart (4 cups) of cream, here are the other proportions: 5 1/3 cups flour, 8 teaspoons baking powder, 1 1/3 teaspoons salt, 2/3 cup sugar, 1 1/3 cup cranberries, 2/3 cup golden raisins, 4 cups heavy cream. Divide into 12 balls. Makes 72 small scones.
Here’s the link to a printable version.