Lord knows we love a biscuit. Fluffy, warm, dripping in butter and slathered in jam or glistening with honey, the very thought jump starts the appetite and sets the mouth to water. And yet, as good as that is – and really, it’s nearly unbeatable goodness – there are times when the human spirit, driven by a blend of hunger and ambition, urges us to go above and beyond the expected, to gild the lily and say damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.
It is on those days when desire and determination meet that we make scones.
The scone, a biscuit-like favorite of our cousins across the pond, is no less subject to disputes of origin and authenticity than any other good food of ancient lineage. So whether you ascribe the origin of the name, scone itself to the Dutch schoonbrood or get your Scots’ pride on and claim the name for the Stone of Destiny (where the kings of Scotland were crowned), we’ll gladly listen to your argument if you don’t mind if we eat while you jabber.
The scone at heart is very similar to the biscuit: its origin, humble and its purpose, nourishing. They are made of similar ingredients and can produce equal euphoria in many eaters. Yet, as any true scone lover will tell you, the similarity ends there. Scones are not light and fluffy, they don’t have buttermilk, and they just don’t match red eye gravy.
Instead a scone is dense with a fine crumb; it sometimes includes egg in the recipe, and, so is, generally speaking, a richer bite. That’s part of what makes it special. The heavy cream doesn’t hurt either.
If you haven’t had one – or perhaps your mother needs treating – we have a solution for you. After all, it’s a weekend worthy of treats, and this is a pretty fine way to treat the lovely woman who helped you learn to wash your hands after you went to the garden.
This weekend, we’ll be serving sweet cream scones that we’ll top with Zavell’s farm strawberries, Moore’s Acre honey and some crème fraiche.
Sound rich? Well, yes it is, but it’s also delicious and has the added advantage of being dressed up by good stuff from our neighbors – sweet strawberries from Blaine and delicious honey made in Washburn. Scones are always better with friends.
Once you try this, you’ll probably want it in your repertoire alongside your best biscuit recipe. So make sure you tune in to WBIR on Saturday – Mahasti will be making scones on Weekend Today, so you can get the recipe and see it come to life at the same time.
Sweet Cream Scones with Honeyed Strawberries and Whipped Cream
For the scone:
2.5 cups all purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
¼ tsp salt
4 Tbs chilled unsalted butter
1 ¼ cup heavy cream
1 Tbl vanilla
Place flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the bowl. With a pastry cutter or rubbing with your fingertips, work the butter into the flour until butter is in pea size pieces. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and stir with a wooden spoon until all the flour has been moistened. Turn the dough around a couple of time in the bowl, and then transfer to a floured cutting board. Bring the dough together to form a ball, then flatten slightly and place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes uncovered. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, roll it out to ½ inch thickness, then fold it over itself, and place back in the refrigerator uncovered for 10 minutes longer. Remove once again, and roll out to ½ inch thickness. Cut the dough out with a 2.5 inch biscuit cutter, and place rounds on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet back in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees while the scones are chilling. Place chilled scones in preheated oven and bake for 13- 15 minutes until tops are light brown.
Allow the scones to cool to room temperature.
For the Honeyed Strawberries:
1 quart strawberries, rinsed, capped and sliced
3/4 cup honey
Place sliced strawberries in a small bowl, toss with honey and allow to sit until juices from the strawberries have been released.
For the whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
1/8 cup plus 1Tbl Confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Place heavy cream in the bowl of stand mixer with the whisk attachment and beat with confectioner’s sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form
To assemble scones:
Place one scone on a small plate
Top with ½ cup sliced strawberries and some of the juice
Top the strawberries with ¼ cup of whipped cream
Serves 8 – 10