Sunday, June 16, 2013

Blueberry Scones

I didn't realize until James told me that I keep posting about variations of baked goods. So far it's been two kinds of one thing--first cheesecake and now scones (our joint post on pate choux doesn't count since we both wrote it, but it's another good example of two kinds of one baked good). This wasn't actually intentional but just a funny coincidence.

I found this recipe for blueberry scones when I was looking for scone recipes the first time. America's Test Kitchen recipes always seem great and I was excited about how these scones used fresh blueberries. I definitely wanted to try this recipe whenever I got the chance. I ended up getting organic blueberries on sale and immediately thought of using some for these scones.

It was a messy process making these scones with so much flour and dough around my hands that I couldn't take many pictures. I know I'll be making these scones again so when that time comes, I'll get James to help me take pictures each step and update this post. I ended up halving this recipe because I didn't have a big enough surface and used my cutting board to roll out the dough. This also helped me feel better that I wasn't using so much butter for 8 scones. Halving the recipe still made 8 scones but they were smaller and better for portion control.

Below is America's Test Kitchen's recipe for Blueberry Scones with the note from their website about the recipe at the beginning. I've made additional notes for anyone who also decides to halve this recipe (halved ingredients are italicized and in blue) as well as additional personal tips that I normally add in the recipes I post.

Notes from ATK's website: "It is important to work the dough as little as possible—work quickly and knead and fold the dough only the number of times called for. The butter should be frozen solid before grating. In hot or humid environments, chill the flour mixture and workbowls before use. While the recipe calls for 2 whole sticks of butter, only 10 tablespoons are actually used (see step 1). If fresh berries are unavailable, an equal amount of frozen berries (do not defrost) can be substituted. An equal amount of raspberries, blackberries, or strawberries can be used in place of the blueberries. Cut larger berries into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces before incorporating. Refrigerate or freeze leftover scones, wrapped in foil, in an airtight container. To serve, remove foil and place scones on a baking sheet in a 375-degree oven. Heat until warmed through and recrisped, 8 to 10 minutes if refrigerated, 16 to 20 minutes if frozen. See final step for information on making the scone dough in advance."


  • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen whole ( see note above) | 8 tbsp unsalted butter, frozen and grated, 1 tbsp melted for brushing scones. Only 5 tbsp are actually used (see note above)
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh, about 7 1/2 ounces, picked over (see note) | 3/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup whole milk | 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream | 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus additional all-purpose flour, for work surface (10 ounces) | 1 cup all purpose flour, plus additional flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon sugar, for sprinkling (3 1/2 ounces) | 1/4 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder | 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda | 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt | 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, grated | 1/2 tsp lemon zest (I omitted this because I didn't have a lemon and knew it wasn't absolutely necessary, but adding it helps enhance the flavor)


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Score and remove half of wrapper from each stick of frozen butter. Grate butter and place grated butter in freezer until needed. Melt 2 (or 1) tablespoons of remaining ungrated butter and set aside. Save remaining 6 tablespoons butter for another use. Place blueberries in freezer until needed. To take a page from Alton Brown, a good way to freeze blueberries is to first freeze them laid flat on a baking sheet and then transfer them in either a container or plastic bag. Make sure to dry the blueberries well after washing them before freezing.
  2. Whisk together milk and sour cream in medium bowl; refrigerate until needed. Whisk flour, 1/2 (or 1/4) cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest in medium bowl. Add frozen butter to flour mixture and toss with fingers until thoroughly coated.
  3. Add milk mixture to flour mixture; fold with spatula until just combined. With rubber spatula, transfer dough to liberally floured work surface. Dust surface of dough with flour; with floured hands, knead dough 6 to 8 times, until it just holds together in ragged ball, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking. It's fine to knead the dough more times if it hasn't fully formed. Stop once the dough comes together.
  4. Roll dough into approximate 12-inch square. Halving the recipe creates a smaller square of dough. I couldn't measure it but I would say it's roughly an 8-inch square. Fold dough into thirds like a business letter, using bench scraper or metal spatula to release dough if it sticks to countertop. Make sure to flour whichever tool you use to prevent dough from sticking to the scraper/spatula. Lift short ends of dough and fold into thirds again to form approximate 4-inch square. Again sizing is likely different for a smaller square. Transfer dough to plate lightly dusted with flour and chill in freezer 5 minutes.
  5. Transfer dough to floured work surface and roll into approximate 12-inch (or 8-inch) square again. Sprinkle blueberries evenly over surface of dough, then press down so they are slightly embedded in dough. Using bench scraper or thin metal spatula, loosen dough from work surface. Roll dough, pressing to form tight log. Lay seam-side down and press log into 12 by 4-inch rectangle. Halved recipe produces a smaller rectangle which turn into mini scones. Using sharp, floured knife, cut rectangle crosswise into 4 equal rectangles. Cut each rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet.
  6. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sugar. Bake until tops and bottoms are golden brown, 18 to 25 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool 10 minutes before serving.
  7. To Make Ahead: After placing the scones on the baking sheet, either refrigerate them overnight or freeze. When ready to bake, for refrigerated scones, heat oven to 425 degrees and follow directions in step 6. For frozen scones, heat oven to 375 degrees, follow directions in step 6, and extend cooking time to 25 to 30 minutes.
Messily bitten scone
The scones turned out amazingly flaky, reminiscent of puff pastry with the method used, and fluffy on in the inside. It was more enjoyable eaten hot even before they're fully cooled.

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