After all the trouble involved in getting a cup of blackberries, I wanted to bake the best scones ever. I was anxious to try a very popular scone recipe which has appeared on many popular food blogs. It sounded like it would be perfect. I don’t want to call anyone out, but the recipe is alleged to be from a famous bakery at Big Sur, CA. I have been to that bakery and it is excellent! All I can say is the scones were not what I was looking for. On the other hand, it was exactly what Michael was looking for. I won’t even tell you how many he ate. For me, the texture was wrong. I was looking for a dense, more biscuit-like scone.
I braved the donkey interference, the heat and the thorns to retrieve another cup of berries today so that I could try another recipe. This one was my tweak of a few recipes, my own included. The scones were very good, but still not exactly what I was looking for. I now see this scone density issue as a challenge I need to meet. I will forge ahead to perfect the scone batter but maybe try another fruit until next blackberry season. Maybe I’ll try peach scones. I can buy them at the local market and I won’t have to deal with donkeys.
Since we are about scones, I’ll share a few baking tips.
- All your ingredients should be very cold. The first scone recipe called for freezing the dry ingredients for 30 minutes before adding the butter.
- To keep the berries from staining your batter purple, sprinkle them with sugar and freeze them before using. Spread them out in a single layer and freeze for at least 30 minutes.
- Do not overmix the dough. Work fast before the butter softens.
- Place the cookie sheet with the unbaked scones in the freezer for about ten minutes before baking. I have found this keeps the juice in the berries from running out and burning.
The first scone recipe can be found by searching big sur scones online. Notice the purplish-blue tint of the scones? I don’t like that. I’ll give you a tip in recipe two how to avoid it.
The second scone, a compilation of recipes including my own is pictured here followed by the recipe. Note the absence of purple-blue tint.
- 2 cups flour
- ¼ cup granulated sugar (plus extra for sprinkling on berries)
- 1½ Tbsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp salt
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 TBS vanilla
- 1 cup fresh frozen blackberries
- Pour the beaten eggs and vanilla into the buttermilk and store in the refrigerator until ready to add to dry ingredients.
- Measure the flour, baking powder and salt into large wide bottom bowl. Place the bowl in the freezer for a few mints to chill. Add the lemon zest and ice cold butter. Use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour until the size of small peas. You should still see chunks of butter in the mix.
- Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in almost all the chilled liquids. Reserve a small amount in case the batter is too dry. Use a wooden spoon to mix the batter but do not over mix. The dough will be sticky.
- Generously flour your work surface. Turn half the batter out onto the floured surface. Shape with floured hands into a s inch round disk.
- Notice that you never added the berries to the batter? That is because adding them now will prevent the purple-blue tinted scones! Take the frozen berries from the freezer and place them on top of your dough round. Push some into the dough a bit. Make sure you have some berries at the edge of the dough so they can be seen after baking. That looks pretty, unlike purple-blue dough.
- At this point you can either shape the remainder of the dough into another disk and place on top or press gobs of it by hand onto the top of the berries. You want mostly dough on top.
- Using a pizza cutter or dough scraper but the disk into twelve wedges. Place the wedges on a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze for about ten minutes. meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the scones for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden brown. Let sit for five minutes after coming out of the oven then move with spatula to a drying rack.
- These can be served as-is or with your favorite glaze. A light lemon glaze would be delightful on these scones.