If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know why I made these scones four times before being willing to post them.
Not that I have anything against blobby, spreading scones (they were terribly delicious), because I don’t, but I wanted a foolproof and pretty recipe to give you, and it took a few tries to get the measurements just right.
Can we pause for a quick lecture about why a kitchen scale is so tremendously useful in the kitchen? It truly marks the line between experimental baking and no-fail recipes. I used to think only professional chefs, big baking nerds, or people with too much time on their hands had use for a kitchen scale.
Boy was I wrong.
Several years ago my frustration over inconsistent baking recipes mounted high enough that after screaming in my pillow too many times to count over failed cookies, a kitchen scale ended up in my kitchen, and it’s definitely one of my most prized kitchen tools. Inexpensive, useful and essential – if you don’t have a kitchen scale, get one! (This is the one I have and highly recommend it.)
I include weight measures for most of my baking recipes and rarely use a recipe online or in cookbooks that doesn’t include weights, because, call me crazy, I kind of like it when recipes turn out perfectly the first time, don’t you? If you are morally opposed to using a kitchen scale, please, please, please read this post on how to measure flour accurately.
Ok, phew! Rant over (for now).
Today’s scone recipe (that I should be talking about instead of lecturing about scales) is infinitely adaptable. If you don’t have cinnamon chips, use mini chocolate chips! Or play around with other flavors – maybe lemon or orange zest with an accompanying glaze?
The base buttermilk recipe is so fantastic, it deserves to be put to work. But I will say that the cinnamon version is absolutely magical. The little cinnamon morsels soften just a bit while baking, leaving behind pockets of sweet, cinnamon flavor with every bite. I love the mini cinnamon chips from King Arthur Flour but I think regular cinnamon chips from the grocery store baking aisle will work just fine, too, and probably leave you with even more cinnamony goodness.
I included a few step-by-step photos below the recipe; sometimes a quick visual helps, especially if you haven’t made or perfected the almighty scone method, which is similar to a biscuit with the cardinal rule: DON’T OVERWORK THE DOUGH! Sorry to shout, but in the interest of avoiding tough, dry scones, it seemed necessary.
Having made these scones about a bajillion times over the last month, I can honestly say as a very proud and vocal scone lover that these are some of the best scones I’ve ever had.
I’ll be using this base recipe for just about every scone event from here on out (and encouraging my family to strongly think about making these for Mother’s Day; although just between you and me, I’m not above making my own food on Mother’s Day as a means to a very happy end for everyone).
One Year Ago: Mexican Chopped Salad with Simple Honey Vinaigrette
Two Years Ago: Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars
Three Years Ago: Outrageous Eskimo Bars
I have subbed half of the all-purpose flour with white whole wheat flour with pretty good results. The scones are a bit more dense but still delicious. If doing so, it's important not to overflour (using a scale to weigh the flour can help as well as not packing the flour into the cup when measuring).
The base scone recipe is very lightly sweet (meaning, not very sweet at all) which is perfect when paired with the sweet cinnamon chips and the light sprinkling of sugar, but if you are tempted to change up the add-in(s) or omit the sugar on top, you might want to increase the sugar in the dough just a bit. Speaking of cinnamon chips, the variety I use are on the miniature spectrum (similar to a mini chocolate chip) which means they easily find their way into all the nooks and crannies of the scone dough. If you use the cinnamon chips from your every day grocery store (similar to regular-sized chocolate chips), you might want to increase the amount and add 1 1/2 cups since they won't distribute as evenly as the mini ones.
I almost always use a food processor to mix up scone or biscuit dough. It's an awesome tool to avoid overmixing the dough. If you don't have a food processor, cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry blender or two butter knives. If doing so, you'll want to get the butter/flour mixture incorporated together until the butter is in pea-sized or slightly smaller pieces before stirring in the buttermilk with a wooden spoon or large spatula. It's definitely doable to make these without a food processor so don't let that be a deal breaker.
- 3 1/2 cups (17.5 ounces) all-purpose flour (see note above about whole wheat flour)
- 1/3 cup (2.75 ounces) sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks, 6 ounces) cold butter, cut into tablespoon-sized chunks
- 1 cup cold buttermilk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup (5 ounces) cinnamon chips (see note above)
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- Granulated sugar for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a food processor (see note above if you don't have one), combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is cut into smaller pieces - don't overprocess here; the butter should be no smaller than pea-sized pieces.
- Add the buttermilk and vanilla and pulse a couple of times until the dough starts to come together; don’t overmix - it’s ok if there are dry, crumbly spots here and there. Remove the blade and add the chips, using your hands to knead them in a bit. Turn the dough out onto a surface dusted with 1-2 tablespoons flour and combine the dough and chips together with your hands, kneading briefly, just 2-3 times, until it comes together. Pat and lightly press the dough into a long rectangle, about 15X3-inches.
- Cut the length of dough into triangular wedges, about 12-14 and place on the baking sheet, about an inch apart. Brush the tops with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes until just lightly golden brown and no longer doughy in the center.
Recipe Source: adapted slightly from a recipe a faithful reader, Emily B, sent me by way of Taste of Home
Disclaimer: this post contains a few Amazon affiliate links.