Photos by Constance Higley.
I never used to understand the obsession and appeal of scones. Not until I took a bite of a truly great one, that is.
Many scones are bland and dense. Why would I want to waste an indulgence on that?!
It wasn’t until I perfected my own recipe that I realized how delightful scones can be. They’re somehow sturdier and heartier than biscuits, but without being overly dry or crumbly.
What I love most about them (besides all. the. BUTTER.) is that they belong on pretty much any breakfast or brunch table. You can dress them up by adding nuts, citrus zest, or chocolate chips. Or simply serve them plain alongside some local jam or homemade flavored butter.
Any way you serve these, they’re bound to be perfect if you follow my tips below!
Perfect Scone Baking Tips
It must be COLD. The cold butter creates that beautiful tall flaky texture. I like to cube then freeze my butter before using it. I also always prefer to use unsalted butter for baking, you can find out why here: Salted vs. Unsalted Butter.
This is absolutely the preferred liquid for scones. It will result in tender taller biscuit because of how its acidity reacts with the baking powder. It also adds a lovely tang to create more depth of flavor. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can also use whole milk or make your own DIY buttermilk. The texture won’t quite be the same since milk simply isn’t as thick as buttermilk. For more substitutions, you can my BAKING SUBSTITUTIONS GUIDE HERE.
Whatever you do, do not overmix the dough or allow it to get too warm. Doing so will result in flatter, tougher, and less flaky scones. My absolute favorite tool for making biscuits or scone dough quickly and easily by hand (so I don’t have to lug out my food processor) is this OXO bladed pastry blender. LOVE.
Use a marble pastry board to help keep the dough cool. If at any point you notice the butter become greasy and melty, pop the dough into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes before proceeding.
The shaped unbaked scones can be covered and refrigerated overnight, or placed in an airtight container and frozen for up to 1 month. If baking from frozen, add about 2 minutes to the baking time.
By the way, I’ve put together a BEAUTIFUL Mother’s Day Brunch guide that includes these scones, but with several flavor variations plus recipes for different flavored butters. Download it by clicking the image below: