How to Make Unforgettable Scones

Today's question: Any tips for making scones?

It had a crusty cinnamon sugar topping and the texture inside was so light it dissolved in my mouth. Fresh cinnamon wafted to my nose. Its delicate form felt out-of-the-oven warm, which reminded me how freshly homemade it was. Feelings of comfort took over.

This is a scone I will never forget.

While on an escapade with a friend in Northern Minnesota, caffeine deprivation brought us to the first coffee shop we saw early one morning. Little did we know that this pit stop would forever be branded in our taste buds nor that we would be perpetually seeking that perfect scone we tasted that day. It had the flawless combination of being soft and chewy inside, but also held that tender crispiness that was just enough so that it didn't come off as being too dry. For me, this is the type of scone I seek.

Find out how Amy Morris re-created that scone after the jump.

With these thoughts in mind, I ventured to recreate this ideal scone. I tried a couple different recipes with varying ingredients. One recipe I ran into called for olive oil. Thinking to myself that this might be the key ingredient I'd been missing, I eagerly gave it a try.

Well, it wasn't quite what I was looking for. I could taste the olive oil in the scone and that wasn't something I was fond of.

In the end, it came down to two ingredients: heavy cream or buttermilk.

Which makes a better scone? The tasting was tough, for the difference was subtle. The buttermilk left the scone moister inside, while the heavy cream gave it a bit more dryness. I preferred the heavy cream, but all in all, both were good.

While making your scones, there are some key pointers to keep in mind to get the best results. A couple of tips are reminiscent of making pie dough: Chill your butter. Before you add your wet ingredient, you want your scone batter to be crumbly with the butter in small pieces mixed in with the flour. It helps if your butter is cold.

Also, do not over mix your batter. Once it has all come together you are done with this step. When you put it out on a work surface to shape you will have the chance to gently mix it some more.

You want your oven hot. Baking your scones at a higher temperature will quicken the baking process that will leave your scones soft inside and crispy on the outside. Trust me, they will not burn, but smell delicious!

Cinnamon Sugar Scones
2 cups AP flour
3 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
1 ¼ cup heavy cream

Cinnamon Sugar Topping

¼ cup sugar
1 + ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

Egg Wash

1 egg beaten

Preheat your oven to 450°F. Adjust your oven rack to the middle position. Mix together all of your dry ingredients. Add the butter by cutting it in with a pastry blender, or you can use a food processor and pulse it a few times till it is crumbly. Add the heavy cream and mix it lightly with a spatula till it has all come together. Transfer the batter to a lightly floured surface. Gently knead your batter till it forms a smooth looking ball, but it will still be sticky. This will only take a few seconds. Leaving it cylindrical, flatten it out till the desired thickness, about ½ - 1 inch thick. Cut triangle wedges and place on ungreased baking sheets. Glaze with a layer of egg wash. Chill in the fridge for 15 minutes. Glaze again with another layer of egg wash and top with cinnamon sugar. Bake for about 12-15 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before eating.

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Amy Morris