Ever since these delectable pumpkin scones entered my life, I have become a scone-lover. Before that, I never made them. Ever. Because they seemed like too much work and the result was more than likely (in my mind) going to be dry and tough.
Oh, how wrong I was!
Scones are some of the easiest quick breads to throw together, especially if you keep one mantra running through your head: Don’t Overmix! Overmixing creates the tough, dry scones I referred to above. But mixed with a light, loving hand and scones are some of my new favorite treats and so very simple to prepare.
Nicole, a MKC (that’s Mel’s Kitchen Cafe for those confused) reader emailed me about this recipe she had tried from King Arthur Flour.
I love King Arthur Flour. I love strawberries. And I love scones.
So I made them. And oh my, heavenly combination of combinations!
These strawberry-studded scones with a light hint of cream and sweetness are absolutely wonderful and now are competing for a serious first-place ranking with the pumpkin scones. Delicately tender, they literally melt in your mouth, and while the scone dough itself is very low on sugar, the natural sweetness of the strawberries combined with the gentle drizzle of syrupy glaze make them…well…perfect.
I have visions of making them for our Easter morning breakfast because they just seem somehow Easter-morning appropriate.
When I first made them, they popped out of the oven in the early afternoon approximately 3 1/2 minutes before my five boys (four kids, one dad) came in from sledding in the bitter cold and we devoured them, all the while slurping this decadent tres leches hot cocoa.
I’m still dreaming about the “event.” I have a feeling, like Natalie suggested, that these scones can even transform a quick and dirty weeknight meal of scrambled eggs and smoothies into something utterly spectacular.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheet.
For the scones, in a blender or food processor, process the 1/2 cup diced strawberries with the sugar and half-and-half or cream until the mixture is smooth. Set it aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Using a pastry blender, forks or your fingertips, work in the butter to the dry ingredients until the mixture is unevenly crumbly with the largest crumbs about the size of a pea.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together the blended strawberry/cream mixture, the egg, the vanilla extract, and the orange extract, if using.
Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until the dough just barely starts to come together. Add the 2/3 cup diced strawberries, gently folding them in, using your hands, if necessary, to pull the dough together into a cohesive mass. Take care not to overmix – it will make the scones tough. It’s ok to have a shaggy mess of dough as long as it is holding together for the most part.
Lightly sprinkle your work surface/countertop with flour and divide the dough into two halves. Take one half and gently press the dough into a thick circle on the floured surface, about 6-7 inches in diameter. Use a sharp knife or bench scraper to separate the dough into six equal triangles. Place each scone on the prepared baking sheet(s), spacing them about 2 inches apart. Repeat with the remaining half of dough. Alternately, you can make smaller scones by dropping tablespoon-ful sizes of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets.
Make the glaze by stirring together the sugar, water, and vanilla in a small bowl until smooth. If the mixture seems too dry, add a teaspoon of water gradually at a time until the mixture reaches the consistency of a thick syrup. Drizzle some of the syrup over the top of each scone.
Bake the scones until they are just beginning to turn golden brown around the edges, 13-16 minutes. When properly baked, they should be moist (but not gummy) at the center.
Serve the scones warm or at room temperature. The scones can also be cooled completely and stored in an airtight container at room temperature. Just before serving, reheat very briefly in the microwave, or for 5 to 10 minutes, tented with aluminum foil, in a preheated 350°F oven.
Measure the flour with a light hand (see this post for additional reading on that principle) so that the dough still remains sticky and soft and not overfloured. Also, the orange extract is optional but adds a wonderful dimension to the flavor of the scones.
Recipe Source: adapted slightly from King Arthur Flour, based on a recommendation from Nicole (a MKC reader)
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