Strawberries and Cream Scones

Strawberries and Cream Scones, to me, are synonymous with June.  There is nothing better than taking the kiddos strawberry picking and popping a few of those ruby red strawberry beauties, still warm from the sun, into your mouth.  These scones are delicious served with fresh strawberries and cream, but they are substantial enough to enjoy alone as well.  Why not pack a few and take a picnic outdoors?  The weather is fine, and the scones are even finer! 🙂

What are we waiting for?  Let’s do this!

Strawberries and Cream Scones

(Adapted from Southern Living Magazine)

Ingredients:

2 cups self rising flour

6 tbsp. cold butter

2 tbsp. white sugar

3/4-1 cup buttermilk

2 cups diced strawberries

Whipped Cream for garnishing

Coarse sanding sugar for dusting, optional

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Use a pastry cutter to cut cold butter into the self rising flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in sugar, then buttermilk.  Buttermilk brands vary in thickness so you may not need the full amount, or you may need a teeny bit more.  Mix the flour and buttermilk just enough to make a shaggy dough.  You can use a butter knife to “cut” through the dough, thereby mixing it without overworking the dough (which keeps the scones more tender).  Carefully pour shaggy dough onto a floured surface and knead 3-4 times, just until dough holds together.  Do not overwork.  Pat dough into a round about 1.5″ thick and use a biscuit cutter to cut about 6-7 circles.  Brush the tops of the scones with cream and sprinkle with the coarse sanding sugar, if desired.  Bake scones on a greased cookie sheet for 25-30 minutes until scone tops are golden brown.  Serve warm with strawberries and cream.  Seconds strongly encouraged. 😉

Strawberries and Cream Scones

Scones, at their heart, are kind of like the British cousin to the American biscuit.  Having tried some very fine Southern biscuits made in the USA, as well as some divine scones made in Britain, it seems to me that the main difference between the two is that biscuits tend to be super fluffy and soft inside, while scones are a bit more solid and substantial.  The basic reason for this texture difference is that scones have a higher fat content, which makes them a bit more solid and able to handle the dried fruit or other add-ins that scones often contain.  Lots of people who try to make Buttermilk Biscuits put too much butter or shortening in the recipe, and their biscuits turn out kind of heavy.  They think, “Fail!!”  I think, “SCONE!!!” 🙂

Strawberries and Cream Scones

With just a few tweaks, a classic American buttermilk biscuit can become a delicious, sweet strawberry scone.  To begin with, you want to use self rising flour.  White Lily flour is the very best, bar none, in my humble opinion, for any sort of quick bread.  The softer flour gives you unbelievably tender baked goods.  I believe that many “biscuit failures” come from using the wrong kind of flour, which honestly will give you a tough product even if you’re doing everything else right.  Try White Lily. I bet you’ll never use anything else to make biscuits or scones again.  Your grandma probably used White Lily and a cast iron skillet to make biscuits, and I never argue with grandmas.

Strawberries and Cream Scones

Another tool that you really need if you plan to make biscuits, scones, or any sort of quick bread with any regularity is a pastry blender.  A pastry blender is a $12-13 device that more than pays for itself when you can ditch the “cut in with 2 knives or a fork” method which, frankly, is a pain in the ‘ole Devonshire cream.  😉  I love the Perfect Pie Blender, because unlike traditional pastry cutters it has a flat cutting surface which really allows you to dig into the flour and chop that butter up into tiny pieces in no time. Skip all the “shredding cold butter on the side of a grater” nonsense.  Just 3 chops with the pastry blender and you get the same thing without trying to hold onto a greasy brick while keeping it perfectly cold and trying not to hyperventilate that there is heat coming from your hands no matter how many times you sing “Let it Go” from Frozen.  Done.

Strawberries and Cream Scones

Now let’s talk buttermilk.  Yes, you can use the old “add vinegar to milk” trick.  Will it do in a pinch?  Yes.  Will it be the same?  No.  If a recipe calls for decadent, super dark chocolate, and you substitute white chocolate, you might get something that tastes ok– but it won’t be the same.  All that to say . . . get the real stuff.  Go to your local Amish store and get the real, tangy, “so thick it’s unbelievable” buttermilk– the kind right from the farm with little flecks of golden butter in it.  Your scones will be out of this world, and then you’ll have enough left over the next day for dizzyingly delicious Fluffy Breakfast Pancakes.  You will probably start keeping buttermilk around.  And oddly enough it won’t ever go bad, because you’ll constantly be looking for ways to use it in recipes.  That classic, gorgeous tang and richness that real buttermilk lends to recipes just can’t be matched.

Strawberries and Cream Scones

Real buttermilk is MUCH thicker than regular milk– it’s almost like sour cream and milk mixed together.  There are “diet” buttermilk brands– SKIP ‘EM.  I think about diet buttermilk like I think about Diet Mountain Dew.  Why?  Use the real stuff or don’t bother.

All that to say . . . I have given a range of liquid in this recipe, because depending what sort of dairy you use (skim (“diet”) buttermilk (cringe), regular whole milk, genuine real buttermilk, or even heavy cream), the amount of liquid that you need for the dough will change.  Add the liquid slowly and “cut through” the mixture with a butter knife, without stirring.  This will allow the ingredients to mix without overworking the dough (which toughens your baked goods).  When you use real buttermilk you will need a little more liquid, while with skim products you will need less, since they are largely water.  You want your dough to be “shaggy”– kind of lumpy and moist with no dry spots, but not wet.  At that point carefully dump the dough out onto a floured surface and gently knead it a few times with lightly floured hands, just until it sticks together.

Strawberries and Cream Scones

Pat out a circle 1.5 inches or so tall and cut out your biscuit rounds with a floured biscuit cutter.  If I’m in a hurry I just use a pizza cutter to slice my dough into rough squares.  It’s not so much the shape that matters as the taste. 🙂  Brush the tops of the finished scones with some heavy cream if you have it (regular milk or buttermilk will work fine too) and dust with coarse sanding sugar.  The sugar adds a nice, glittery texture to the top.  And who doesn’t like to eat something that sparkles at you?  I mean, come on.

Bake the scones on a greased baking sheet at 425 for 25-30 minutes, or until they are nice and golden brown.

At that point I highly recommend that you cut open a soft, buttery scone warm from the oven.  Smear it with whipped cream and fresh, ruby red strawberries.  Pour yourself a nice cup of tea and pinch a bit off the edge– preferably one of the glittery, crunchy top edges with that fabulous sanding sugar on there.  Marvelous, isn’t it?

PS. calories don’t count when you made it, so I think you should definitely have another one.

You did it. And I’m just so proud of you.

 

 


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